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Source: Giphy

Abraaj Capital is one of private equity's most active and influential investors in emerging markets like the Middle East, with $13.6 billion in capital under management and a portfolio of more than 200 companies. It also appears to be falling apart.

Why it matters: Private equity firms promise to help grow businesses via operational expertise. But if a firm doesn't even have its own house in order, how can it credibly make its case to prospective portfolio companies?

Here's the chronological rundown, all from the past two months:

  • Several LPs in a $1 billion Abraaj healthcare fund — including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — felt some called capital had been misappropriated and hired a forensic accountant.
  • Abraaj itself hired KMPG to investigate, and claimed the auditing firm found no evidence of wrongdoing.
  • Abraaj founder and CEO Arif Naqvi said he would separate the firm's fund management business from its holding company (i.e., balance sheet), and step down from the former. No explanation for why he would resign if Abraaj had been absolved of wrongdoing.
  • Abraaj named three managing partners who would remain with the firm in full-time capacities and as members of the global investment committee. At least one had already resigned at the time of that statement, while another is said to be leaving. Also out is the firm's CFO.
  • The "team page" on Abraaj's website has been empty for weeks.
  • Abraaj suspended fundraising for a its latest flagship fund, which already had closed on $3 billion of its $6 billion target. Those early commitments won't be called.
  • The firm canceled its annual Abraaj Week event.
  • Yesterday came reports that Abraaj may seek buyers for all or part of its fund business.
  • A source says that Abraaj continues to work on a reorganization, and that it expects to make final decisions about next steps within the next month.

Bottom line: Limited partners rarely raise a stink over accounting issues but, if they do, it reflects that the general partner's problems likely go a lot deeper than calculations.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.

White House aims to protect workers from extreme heat

Two pear pickers in Hood River, Ore. on Aug. 13. Photo: Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a slew of actions Monday, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to protect American workers from extreme heat.

Driving the news: The U.S. just had its hottest summer on record, with triple-digit-temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions.