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Robert Smith at a Morehouse College gala. Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Vista Equity continues to work toward getting its house in order, following last Thursday's stunning admissions of personal tax fraud by founder and CEO Robert Smith.

Why it matters: Smith has settled with the Justice Department and the IRS, but the story isn't over yet.

Three updates:

  1. There has not yet been any resolution to the conflict between Smith and firm president Brian Sheth.
  2. Vista recently removed Sheth from the board of Datto, a data protection software company that last night raised nearly $600 million in its IPO (at an initial market cap of $4.25 billion). Multiple sources say Sheth is credited with selling the original buyout to Datto founder and former CEO Austin McChord, after the pair connected at a Morgan Stanley tech event. He had been listed on Datto's original IPO paperwork, filed on Sept. 29.
  3. Vista isn't sitting on its hands while all of this plays out. Axios has learned that the firm quietly agreed to buy a 50% stake in SmartBear, a Somerville, Mass.-based software development and testing company, for around $1.7 billion from Francisco Partners (which retains the other half).

The bottom line: The tension isn't just between two top execs at one of private equity's largest firms. It's also between the appearance of stability and the reality of volatility.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Nov 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

Robert Smith's image rehab

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Robert Smith on Wednesday made his first public appearance since copping to tax fraud, and agreeing to pay $140 million in back taxes and penalties, appearing on a "Race and Corporate America" panel at the New York Times DealBook Summit.

Why it matters: Smith didn't just get a pass, he got image rehab from his fellow panelists.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Experts predict major boom for North American sports stadiums

Rendering of the $375 million Moody Center on the UT-Austin campus. Photo courtesy of Moody Center

Stadium and arena construction in North America will total a relatively tame $5.8 billion this year, a 12% decrease from 2021.

The big picture: What the industry lacks in construction it expects to make up for in design, with experts predicting a sports venue boom over the next half-decade, SBJ reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

The latest: “I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence. But we’ve been warning about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken to that publicly," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.