Scaramucci drama has no bearing on pending SkyBridge sale, says Chinese buyer HNA

Skybridge sale is under scrutiny from US regulators, raising prospect that it may have been factor in Scaramucci’s abrupt dismissal from White House

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 10:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 August, 2017, 10:50pm

Anthony Scaramucci’s swift exit as US President Donald Trump’s communications director on Monday has no bearing on the pending sale of the firm he founded, SkyBridge Capital, parties involved in the deal said.

“The transaction remains on track and is expected to close by the end of the summer,” said Robert Rendine, a spokesman for HNA Capital US, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group.

HNA, along with holding company Ron Transatlantic EG, in January announced an agreement to purchase a majority stake in SkyBridge, the New York-based hedge fund investment firm.

The sale came as Scaramucci planned to join the Trump administration, although it took months for a role to materialise and was not the one he initially anticipated.

Fallout from Scaramucci’s abrupt dismissal on Monday has focussed on a crude tirade against White House colleagues in an interview with the New Yorker.

But the Skybridge sale may also have given Kelly and Trump pause. US officials are examining HNA’s proposed purchase of SkyBridge, which Scaramucci had ironically hoped would free him of potential conflicts of interest before an official appointment.

The sale – believed to be worth US$250million – is being held back pending a reported review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the agency charged with evaluating the impact on America’s national security of the sales of US businesses.

A representative for Ron was not immediately available, but a person familiar with the company, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the transaction was on track.

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Woomi Yun, a spokeswoman for SkyBridge, also said the deal was proceeding as planned and was expected to close by the end of the summer. She declined to comment on Scaramucci’s exit from the White House and whether he would return to the firm.

Scaramucci did not respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.

Trump fired Scaramucci on Monday just over a week after naming him to the job. The move followed an obscene tirade by the Wall Street financier and the appointment of retired Marine Corps General John Kelly as White House chief of staff, sources familiar with the decision said, in the latest staff upheaval to hit the Republican president’s six-month-old administration.

The sale of SkyBridge is under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS. A spokesman for the Treasury Department, which chairs CFIUS, did not respond to an email request for comment.

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HNA has been on a multibillion-dollar international acquisition spree, scooping up stakes in companies including Deutsche Bank, Old Mutual Asset Management and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

HNA’s chief executive officer, Adam Tan, recently pushed back against media reports that the aviation-to-financial services conglomerate faces mounting pressure from its bankers and regulators, even as the pace of its acquisitions slows.

Additional reporting by The Guardian and Bloomberg