Sign up for email alerts, from breaking news to weekly commentary:
Notice to Wall Street: Buy Me!
Today, I am notifying the honchos of Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, and other big-time private equity funds that my little company, Saddle Burr Productions, can be had. For a price.
I publish this notice in response to a recent news item revealing that these funds have a perplexing problem: they have too much money on hand. In all, they're holding a trillion dollars that superrich speculators have entrusted to them. Private equity funds are corporate predators that borrow from the rich, then buy-out targeted corporations, dismantle them, and sell off the parts for a fat profit.
However, in these iffy economic times, these flush funds have hesitated to do big takeovers, so they're sitting on all that cash (which they refer to as "dry powder"). Under the rules of this high stakes casino game, however, firms have to spend their borrowed money by a set time – or give it back. And the clock is ticking.
So, using Wall Street's macho lingo, the big players have announced that they're ready to go "elephant hunting" and are prepared to fire big bucks to bag some companies. To which I say: fire away at Saddle Burr Productions!
Okay, my company is hardly an elephant. But maybe it could be what the equity hucksters refer to as a "hot potato." That's when one firm grabs a company just to sell it to another firm, which might pass it off to yet another. They are expected to spend more than $22 billion this year selling hot potatoes to each other – in part, just to move cash out the door so they don't have to give it back.
Believe it or not, this is what passes for good business sense in the truly screwy world of private equity. It's just churning money, producing absolutely nothing – except, of course, huge fees for the churners. Think what good that $22 billion could do if it were put into the real economy. But if churning is their game – hey, put me in the mix. A billion dollars sounds about right.
"More Money Than They Know What To Do With," The New York Times, October 2, 2012.