California teachers still own Bushmaster rifle maker

Mar 28, 2014

FORTUNE -- It has been more than 15 months since private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management pledged to sell Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster rifle that was used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

The promise came after pressure from the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), a public schoolteachers pension fund that was invested with the relevant Cerberus fund.

By late last year, however, it had become apparent that Cerberus could not find a taker for the company. Too controversial, too big, too integrated. Then Reuters reported on  Dec. 12 that Cerberus had turned to the debt markets for at least $175 million  that it would use to basically buy out limited partners that no longer wanted exposure to Freedom Group. Kind of an in-house direct secondary.

As of this writing, however, Fortune has learned that the ownership of Freedom Group remains exactly the same. Moreover, Cerberus investors have not yet received information from the firm about how they could be bought out (something that CalSTRS, for example, still desires).

A source close to the situation says that the process has moved slowly because it is so complicated to structure the relevant investment vehicles, and because Cerberus needed to be sure it could raise enough money to satisfy all anticipated LP demand (remember: If it offers to buy out CalSTRS at a certain price, it needs to offer the same deal to all other LPs). The firm is now expected to send specific details of its offer to LPs within the next several weeks.

Cerberus declined to comment.

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