Named after the mythical three-headed dog that guards the gates of hell, Cerberus Capital Management has been a driving force in private equity. One of its most notable moves was its 2007 purchase of 80% of Chrysler from Daimler (a stake that has since been eradicated). Cerberus was also the lead investor of a group that acquired 51% of GMAC (now Ally Financial), the financing arm of General Motors. Additionally, it owns bus maker Blue Bird and gun maker Freedom Group. Although the firm made headlines with its automotive investments, its current portfolio includes supermarkets (Albertsons), building materials ( BlueLinx), resorts ( Silverleaf Resorts), health care facilities ( Steward Health Care), and more.
Cerberus has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. It has international offices in Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK, and Taiwan.
The private equity giant invests in real estate through Cerberus Real Estate Capital Management, and engages in commercial lending through Cerberus Business Finance and Ableco Finance to private equity sponsors and corporations.
With more than $25 billion under management, Cerberus often invests for the long term. In 2014, the firm acquired a portfolio of loans owed by debtors in Northern Ireland from The National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) that are secured by assets in Ireland, Britain, and other locations in Europe. The deal strengthens Cerberus's foothold in Europe.
The private equity firm is also known for doubling -- even trippling -- down. After acquiring more than 650 supermarkets for $1.1 billion in 2006 from what was one of the nation's largest grocery operators, Albertsons, Cerberus and its partner Kimco Realty in 2013 went back for more. The two purchased an additional 877 stores, including some Albertsons stores, from SUPERVALU, its counterpart in the 2006 deal under whose ownership the remainder of the Albertsons stores struggled. The Cerberus-led group, which had considerably more success with the stores it bought, paid $100 million in equity and assumed $3.2 billion of debt to acquire more Albertsons stores and four other regional chains. It also took a minority stake in SUPERVALU. Delving deeper into the supermarket arena, Cerberus-controlled Albertsons has now agreed to acquire the Safeway grocery chain in a deal that would create a network of more than 2,400 stores.
Recent divestments include the sale of transit bus maker North American Bus Industries to New Flyer for $80 million in June 2013.
Cerberus made its first major foray into the health care field in 2010 with the acquisition of Caritas Christi (now Steward Health Care System), one of New England's largest hospital operators. Cerberus plans to invest $400 million in the hospital chain (in addition to assuming some $495 million in debt). The company also transformed the nonprofit hospital to a for-profit organization. The deal was announced shortly after major health care legislation was signed into law potentially opening up health care to millions. Caritas Christi, which operates lower-cost hospitals in Massachusetts, is prime to stand out in a market dominated by higher-cost providers.