Monday, October 5, 2009

PE in the crosshairs

Clearly, the NYT has decided that driving while texting and private equity are ripe targets.

Although I found the reporting a little one-sided on the private equity story, they did manage to find one of the more awkward series of deals (mattresses).  Of course, the story does not present the basic underlying principle of whom the funds work for and why (their investors and to maximize their returns, respectively) to balance the story and its presentation of the workers and bondholders' situations.  It's not clear that the results would have been different in the hands of any other owners (i.e., regardless of the identity of the owner (except, perhaps for an ESOP or the government), the same thing could very well have happened).

I think the more interesting story (especially if the NYT really wanted to undercut the basic principle part I note above) is that there were a series of fund-to-fund sales with overlapping investor bases.  It would make the story far more forceful (if complicated) and allow the finger to be pointed solely at the sponsors (if unfairly).

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