Jan 11, 2012 23:31 UTC

Double-dipping Twinkies tarnish bankruptcy process

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By Agnes T. Crane

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Wednesday marked a day of mourning for American junk food aficionados – and not for the first time. Hostess Brands, maker of the cream-filled bright yellow Twinkie snack, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just three years after emerging from the court’s protection. That’s not just a kick in the gullet for Ripplewood Holdings, the private equity owner that sank $40 million into the baker last year. The company’s failure leaves a greasy stain on the American bankruptcy process itself.

COMMENT

Chapter 11 is for creditors. It’s intended to be used when continuing the company will return more to existing creditors than an immediate liquidation (think 20 cents on the dollar instead of 5 cents on the dollar). It is not supposed to ensure the long-term viability of a company. It merely gives creditors a chance to come together a say, “after discounting the 20 cents/dollar forecasted return by the risk that the reorganized company will fail again, the expected return is still higher than the liquidation value of the company, so keep the company in business.”

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Jan 10, 2012 22:28 UTC

Private equity skewered by Romney-bound arrows

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Private equity is caught in the crossfire. Rivals for the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency are leading a full-blown assault on front-runner Mitt Romney’s track record at Bain Capital. The attacks won’t stop Romney, but the collateral damage could hurt the buyout industry.

Dec 23, 2011 16:51 UTC

LBO debt gluttons have now gorged on equity too

By Jeffrey Goldfarb

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Leveraged buyout kings renowned for their debt gluttony have now gorged on equity, too. They’re sitting on nearly $400 billion of cash committed by investors, according to Preqin, or more than $1 trillion of purchasing power. A big slug of it belongs to mega-buyout funds that are already at or approaching their use-by date.

Dec 2, 2011 15:48 UTC

Loan hangover will cast pall over European buyouts

By Quentin Webb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Once again, banks in Europe have been left standing when the music stopped. In an echo of 2008, lenders backing private equity deals have found themselves with a big backlog of unsold loans. That bodes ill for future buyouts.

Nov 1, 2011 14:28 UTC
Edward Hadas

Capitalism takes three big hits in one day

By Edward Hadas
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

It may just be an unhappy coincidence. Still, there was a common theme to three pieces of bad news from different parts of the financial world on Tuesday. Monuments of financial folly are falling apart and the debris is hazardous.

COMMENT

World finance run amuck. Too many big shot geniuses using complex mathematical strategies to get rich quick with little in the way of international regulation.

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Oct 24, 2011 19:52 UTC

Apax misses with HIT disposal

By Quentin Webb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Mattel’s $680 million purchase of HIT Entertainment, the company behind kids’ characters Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, brings a sorry tale of private equity ownership to a close. But uniting Bob with Barbie does not necessarily mean they’ll live happily ever after.

Oct 3, 2011 18:07 UTC

U.S. government has chance to borrow very long

By Agnes T. Crane
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Orson Welles once hawked Californian wine using the tagline: “Paul Masson will sell no wine before its time.” The same could be said about the U.S. Treasury and 50 or 100-year bonds. Maybe it’s finally the right moment to actually sell some.