Skip to comments.Mitt Romney and the Hypocrisy of Bain Capital
Posted on 01/11/2012 10:21:31 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Mitt Romney was NOT primarily a venture capitalist. A venture capitalist invests in early-stage businesses with the hope that they grow and prosper. These early-stage businesses are often risky investments. Though most ultimately fail, some succeed spectacularly making the risks worthwhile. Apple Computer and Google are two such examples. This is what Mitt Romney means when he says some investments succeed and some fail.
By contrast, Mitt Romney was primarily what is affectionately known as a vulture investor. Bain Capital invested in failing companies with the intention of either restructuring their business or stripping the business and selling its assets. This business model often adversely affects a company's employees. To be fair, if the company had gone bankrupt on its own, that would have adversely affected the company's employees too. The question Republican primary voters need to ask themselves is not whether Mitt Romney did anything illegal or immoral. In a climate of near 10% unemployment, do Republicans want a vulture investor to be the face of their party?
The two core arguments for Mitt Romney's candidacy are (1) that he knows how to create jobs and (2) that he stands a better chance of defeating Barack Obama than his competitors. Is it true that a slash and burn vulture investor is the best advocate for job creation? If you were a factory worker in Ohio or Pennsylvania or the upper Midwest and Mitt Romney killed your job because there was a more efficient use of the capital employed in your factory, are you really going to listen to what Mitt Romney has to say even if you believe in hard work and free market capitalism?
No one is suggesting that Mitt Romney was evil or immoral or corrupt or criminal.
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...
“No one is suggesting that Mitt Romney was evil or immoral or corrupt or criminal. “
Let me be an exception to that rule.
This was posted by cincinatus’wife earlier today.
It has 71 comments on it.
Mitt Romney and the Hypocrisy of Bain Capital
Goldenberg’s first paragraph explains it all. Limbaugh just played an audio clip where Romney ( who refused to call Obama a “Socialist” during one of the “debates” ) equated what he did at Baines with what Obama did with GM...
This brief article reads like a DNC press release. The word “vulture capital” is the left’s term. Bain Capital is an important part of private enterprise. Criticize Romney for his voting record but do not destroy the public’s perception of private enterprise in the process. Romney is the likely nominee so these kinds of attacks are really helful to the left by trashing both Romeny and free enterprise.
So are you part of the Occupy crowd? If you believe in the Free Market your going down the wrong road. This company did a service for other companies. Some companies made it some didn’t!
Forget it Professor, the statist flu has hit FR in epic proportions and any defense of capitalism labels you a “Romneybot”.
Romney comes across as sleazy. Good points made. I certainly don’t want Bain capital to become the face of Capitalism or our party, especially in the current environment.
Eguating Bain to capitalism, like equating a shady bounty hunter to law enforcement.
I could not agree with you more! I don't understand the thinking here. A company's demise is eminent. Everyone will be terminated. The company will move out of it's facilities leaving either a landlord or the bank holding vacant space. Someone comes in and structures the company at it's expense. They terminate nonproductive employees, eliminate benefits, downsize some of the operations and eliminate unprofitable ones. Exactly what is wrong with that?
The hypocrisy is that conservatives are becoming socialists to promote or banish a candidate. As a business person I am dumb founded! I was hoping that a venture capitalist would come and restructure DC, but the way some folks look at it we would just keep all the deadwood.
BTW, there is a difference between a bailout and a restructuring. One is done with taxpayer's money and the other is done with private capital.
Rush Wind Bag Limbaugh is never going to admit he’s wrong about anything. He went off half cocked on Newt yesterday without bothering to listen to the argument as put forth in this posted article. I’m hoping that Rush corrected his disdain for Newt’s attack on Romney, but on the other side the rest of the field is asking Romney to come forth also.
For example, where is the guy’s tax returns? Might be interesting to see how much he donates to charities and what kind...his deductions etc.
It might be a real eye opener.
I guess "vulture" is the new "racist".
Vultures serve a very good & necessary purpose.
There's plenty of legitimate reasons to critique Romney.
It is leftist perversion to manufacture illegitimate ones.
I disagree. Bain Capital is free market capitalism. Show me where it isn’t.
The world is upside down when conservatives are describing the reallocation of free market resources as vulture capitalism.
Everybody knows there is a purpose for vulture capitalism...but it can get out of hand, as it did in the 1980s, when these firms were buying up companies that were not actually dying and were stripping their assets (such as their pension funds, thus leaving the employees with no pension) and then dumping the carcasses. That’s precisely the stuff that gave “Wall Street” a bad name and has given the anti-capitalist forces a narrative, even though firms like this represent only a small portion of the financial industry, and those who commit abuses are a smaller percentage still.
Also, Romney should explain why it is up to the government to guarantee the losses of firms like this. Bain was “bailed out” on at least one large bad investment they made and Romney benefitted by several million dollars.
Criticising crony capitalism and even rapacious vulture capitalism is not criticizing capitalism. But you entirely miss the point of the criticisms of Romney: it’s simply that he was never honest about what he or his firm did, and has tried to give the impression that his background is something entirely different (more like that of his father, George Romney, once head of GM).
Bain Capital had both a venture capital affiliate (Bain Capital Ventures) and a private equity division. The private equity division was the majority of Bain’s business.
VC invests in companies in the early stages, while the are private, with the expectation they will either go public or be sold. PE invests in companies (public or private) usually with the intention of completely taking over the company and (in the case of a public company) taking it private. Often the company is then restructured for eventual return to public ownership, is sold to another company, or a combination of both.
Both VC and PE play important roles in building and maintaining companies. It is certainly possible for a PE company to buy a failing company with the intention of liquidating it for a profit. In most of these cases, such a company is facing Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy anyway. It would be very rare for a PE firm to be able to buy healthy company and liquidate it for a profit.
Another thing PE firms occasionally do is Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE). Think of this as a half-way version of a PE firm buying a company completely completely and taking it private.
“This was posted by cincinatuswife earlier today.”
That’s all right. It bears repeating.
The company I work for used to be owned by Bain Capital. Our parent corporation sold us to Bain in the mid-1990’s. There were some layoffs, but nothing drastic. And I got the impression that we were a farm team for up-and-coming CEO’s. But during Bain’s ownership, we merged with another company in our industry and made a major acquisition, which became the core of our business and allowed us to become a world leader in our industry. We had better on-site executive leadership after Bain set us free but, overall, I don’t see Bain’s owning us as a bad thing.
I’m claiming that this was true in every case, but it was true in ours.
Yikes! Wake up America.
this issue of Bain is revealing just how little difference there is between an awful lot of Republicans and the Dems. Depressing, and showing up right here on “Free” Republic all too often. I guess since Paul is for the free market, and Romney participated in it, it must be a bad thing. Is that about where we are now?
“This business model often adversely affects a company’s employees.”
What is the alternative “business model” please?
This won’t give the MSM any ammunition it doesn’t already have on Romney. Hmm, it seems to be popular here at FR today to defend Mitt and if you don’t agree you’re a *bot. Something smells about this uproar over criticism of Romney. If he can’t take the hits and defend himself let him fall to the wayside.
There is a reason why eco-fascists don’t use carrion fowl as the face of their appeals, but instead chose the sort of animals that people find appealing, cute baby animals, sleek gazelles, lions in poses of noble bearing.
Like it or not, especially in electoral politics, the face of capitalism needs to be its appealing face — successful small businesses built by people who believed in a dream, technological innovators, venture capitalists who backed such folks. There is nothing immoral about corporate raiding and asset stripping, so long as they are not done in such a way as to harm others investors’ legitimate claims on the equity in the corporation taken over or dissolved. (Much though I love free market capitalism, I have nothing but contempt for professional managers who act out of their own interests, rather than as fiduciaries for the shareholders.)
Just as any actual ecologist (as distinct from “environmentalist”) will tell you, without carrion fowl (and molds and wood-boring insects) the natural world would be a wasteland of dead carcasses (and plants), so as a business professor you are aware that without the analog “vulture capitalists”, Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” would not work efficiently. Nonetheless, to defend capitalism, putting the clean-up crew front-and-center is a bad idea in part for the same aesthetic reason that the Sierra Club’s calendars don’t feature full-grown vultures feeding on their covers, in part because the dissolution of inefficient enterprises is actually just a necessary evil not a positive good, and in part because it feeds into the left’s delusion that all capitalism, even the capitalism of Apple and Google, is the work of “vultures”.
Nice to see the truth is coming out about Willard. Is it too late?
Vultures are an essential part of the environment, but I wouldn’t want one for a pet.
From Forbes today:
I can give you several gritty reasons why former Bain private equity czar Mitt Romney is not the person to become President of the U.S. in November.
First, is just one tale of a Bain deal under Romney. Bain invested just $30 million to take over a company. It then arranged for this company to pay Bain and its investors a special dividend of $180 million or six times the amount of equity capital Bain invested to take control. This technique of forcing your prey to pay back your original investment or more, as in this case, is to ensure that the Private Equity Firm is assured of a profit. It is an exploitative way to strip the company of its spare cash and is indefensible corporate rape.
Know that Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has sworn in every annual shareholder letter that he will never, ever buy a division or a company from the private equity jugglers who buy and then sell on the company they have leveraged up with professional managers in it just for the soils of the deal and certainly not the family or long term management devoted to the companys historic role. Think the farce of RJR Nabisco or EMI or Texas Utilities.
I can assure you no private equity CEO has ever made money for his public shareholders. I have the tawdry lesson of Blackstone in mind. Issued to the public at $31 a share, it bumped up to $35 a share when Private Equity was all the rage and young dudes were all hot and bothered in 2007 to get in and get rich quick. Remember that; quick. But, from the fantasy times of 2007 BK shares were roiled all the way down to $5.00 a share in 2009 a sweet paper loss of 85%, and are still 50% below their original offering price at $15, well below supposed book value. KKR and Carlyle are drolling at the expectation liquidate insider and founder positions and the public be damned.
You make a good point about Romney defending himself. Newt’s attacks are a small preview of the left’s vicious campaign. Still, I find it disgusting that Gingrich stoops to this level. I also think that his criticisms will legitimize the left’s attacks. I think it is terrible politics to eat our own. I will support the Republican nominee. I will not engage in any leftist attacks on our candidates.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement that Bain Capital “invested in many businesses” and “while not every business was successful, the firm had an excellent overall track record and created jobs with well-known companies like Staples, Dominos, and Sports Authority.”
I will support the Republican nominee. ( i did not vote for Rommney in the Fl primary)
Thank you for such a clear explanation.
I have been trying to get thses points across with my posts, but you are doing a much better job. Even friends who are strong in their following of politics are having a hard time understanding the difference.
Thank you again.
I find it frightening that the Romney attack machine is so big. Who considers that? Newt comes out publicly and criticizes while Romney and his cohorts do their dirty campaign tricks in the dark. It’s askew.
“Mitt Romney was primarily what is affectionately known as a vulture investor.”
Has anyone noted that Vultures feed on the ALREADY DEAD, and dying?
This morning on Good Morning America, Mitt Romney said what he did at Bain Capitol WAS NO DIFFERENT THAN WHAT OBAMA DID FOR GM.”””
The other GOP candidates need to turn this statement into an ad against Romney!!!
How much money did the GM/Chrysler takeover cost America?
Ask the stockholders how much money THEY lost!!
Ask the suppliers who had monies owed on Accounts Payable how much money thei lost!!!
Ask how many small suppliers went out of business over these amounts never being paid!!
Ask yourself how the Union—which owns the majority of the current issuance of GM stock can possibly negoiate with THEMSELVES over any union contract?????!!!!! That is a complete joke.
Seems we are told in dribs & drabs over time that much of that ‘stimulus’ money will never be paid back to the USA taxpayers.
RE: Mitt Romney said what he did at Bain Capitol WAS NO DIFFERENT THAN WHAT OBAMA DID FOR GM.
1) Did the companies he restructured screw the bond holders and debt holder?
2) Did the companies he restructured give significant equity to unions?
Hey, I made an analogy. Bounty Hunters are a part of our Law Enforcement system, but they are not the whole system.
Bain is a part of our capital system, but they are not the whole system. I never said Bain wasn’t a type of capitalism.
created jobs with well-known companies like Staples, Dominos, and Sports Authority.””””
Thses examples are from the very early days of Bain when they were indeed a Venture Capital company.
Then they changed their format & became Vulture Corporate Raiders.
I believe in the first entity.
I hate the 2nd entity.
How many of these companies would be in existance if the Death Tax were abolished?
According to something Rush said late in today's show, Newt is now backing away from and even apologizing for his attacks on Romney and Bain Capital.
Whatever Newt is now saying will probably be in news stories this afternoon.
RE: Whatever Newt is now saying will probably be in news stories this afternoon.
The Obama campaign will USE Newt’s ad and replay it if Romney becomes the GOP nominee. You can count on it.
I am not for Mittens for president. I am against bashing Bain Capital! That to me is anti American! I am a free market guy! i don’t care who was CEO of Bain. I am not going to bash a company because of their leader except maybe Jeffery Immelt who is anti American!
"2) Did the companies he restructured give significant equity to unions?"
You will have to ask him. He is the one who made the comparison between what he did and what Obama did.
Good point. The term vulture is used because of the nice wood play - vulture, venture. However, jackal capitalism would be more accurate.
WOULD “Undertaker” be more acceptable?
From Forbes, hmmmm, Forbes is very credible. If Forbes goes after Romney on this Romney is in trouble. hmmm
IPOs That Give Little Guys a Shot at Venture Returns Offerings Give Small Investors a Way to Buy into Lee, Bain Deals
Boston Globe - Boston, Mass.
Author: Bailey, Steve; Syre, Steven
Date: Mar 4, 1998
Start Page: D.1
Text Word Count: 857
Abstract (Document Summary)
The Thomas H. Lee Co., Boston's biggest buyout firm, says it has had an annual compound return, before fees, of 101 percent over its history. Its crosstown rival, Bain Capital Inc., says its compound annual return is somewhere north of 100 percent — and when annual returns get that enormous, says Bain chief executive Mitt Romney, why do you need to say more?
There is one way to buy into the Lee and Bain deals: the initial public offerings that both firms regularly kick out.
The answer, we found, is that while the later public investors did nowhere near as well as the earlier, private investors, they have fared extraordinarily well compared with the stock market at large. One point worth noting: Lee's IPOs have fared well, Bain’s deals even better.
CHALLENGERS TAKE ON ENTRENCHED INCUMBENTS \ ROMNEY PUTS HEAT ON
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA) - Sunday, October 16, 1994
Author: Brian S. McNiff; Telegram & Gazette Boston Bureau
He tells potential constituents that he wants to bring his business background to government. But he finds the practices of some of the businesses he's invested in under fire from the Kennedy campaign - an attack that some surveys show has blunted his momentum.
Workers on strike against an Indiana factory owned by Bain Capital Inc., the firm where Romney is a managing partner, came to Massachusetts to demonstrate and make TV spots for Kennedy. The unionized workers protested the fact that when Bain took over Ampad, a stationery company, employees were let go and some were then offered their jobs back at lower wages with reduced benefits.
Romney insists that Bain is not a union-buster and professes ignorance of the issues the strike involves, while expressing the hope that it can be resolved.
He says his company has invested in firms that have created more than 10,000 jobs. Sometimes the number he cites is as high as 17,000.
Romney backers, foes spar over plant closing
Boston Herald (MA) - Tuesday, February 21, 1995
Author: TOM MASHBERG
If payback is sweet, then Mitt Romney enjoyed his with extra icing last week when the 250 Indiana unionists who helped scuttle his Senate bid finally saw their own jobs go under.
The firings, which were expected, prompted irate cross fire from laborites and Romney -ites - a sign of the sourness sure to linger on both sides if Romney stays in the political arena.
“It's too bad these 250 workers were manipulated by the Kennedy campaign and the union bosses and now have been abandoned by both,” said Charlie Manning, Romney ‘s ex-campaign spokesman. “ Mitt ‘s a job-creator. That’ll be his legacy.”
Joseph C. Faherty, head of the state's AFL-CIO, feels otherwise, indicating that the political payback could keep going around, and coming around.
” Romney has exacted the final retribution against Ampad workers,” he said. “Should he decide to seek office in the future, we will be there to expose his record for the sham it is.”
Ampad still dogs Mitt Romney
January 6, 2012
From “The Making of Mitt Romney,”
Boston Globe, June 26, 2007
In 1992, Bain Capital acquired American Pad & Paper, or Ampad, from Mead Corp., embarking on a ‘’roll-up strategy’’ in which a firm buys up similar companies in the same industry in order to expand revenues and cut costs.
Through Ampad, Bain bought several other office supply makers, borrowing heavily each time. By 1999, Ampad’s debt reached nearly $400 million, up from $11 million in 1993, according to government filings.
Sales grew, too - for a while. But by the late 1990s, foreign competition and increased buying power by superstores like Bain-funded Staples sliced Ampad’s revenues.
The result: Ampad couldn't pay its debts and plunged into bankruptcy. Workers lost jobs and stockholders were left with worthless shares.
Bain Capital, however, made money - and lots of it. The firm put just $5 million into the deal, but realized big returns in short order. In 1995, several months after shuttering a plant in Indiana and firing roughly 200 workers, Bain Capital borrowed more money to have Ampad buy yet another company, and pay Bain and its investors more than $60 million - in addition to fees for arranging the deal.
Bain Capital took millions more out of Ampad by charging it $2 million a year in management fees, plus additional fees for each Ampad acquisition. In 1995 alone, Ampad paid Bain at least $7 million. The next year, when Ampad began selling shares on public stock exchanges, Bain Capital grabbed another $2 million fee for arranging the initial public offering - on top of the $45 million to $50 million Bain reaped by selling some of its shares.
Bain Capital didn't escape Ampad’s eventual bankruptcy unscathed. It held about one-third of Ampad’s shares, which became worthless. But while as many as 185 workers near Buffalo lost jobs in a 1999 plant closing, Bain Capital and its investors ultimately made more than $100 million on the deal.
Learned a couple of things.
1. Bain owns Huntsman's fathers company...strange bedfellows. Clear Channel—Rush Hannity is also owned by Bain (think we knew that)
2. There are two companies at the same address. Mitt has been head of both. Is this cricket?
Finally got to hear FOX Sunday program. Anti-Mitt made the same point that bothered me this AM. 1999 given by company but paper work is different date, make one question why the discrepancy.
What is he hiding by not disclosing his financial records? Does he still own stock? Still making$$? What is he hiding and why?
Even Chocola, the pro-Romney person said they had some problems with Willard, but Chris didn't ask what.
Newt came out this afternoon that he was disclosing his financial record and ask Willard to do the same. Sarah was adamant that he open his records.
You can bet the BO has the goods on him...Coffee cup indeed.......Wake up America!