Sign reads: "War On Greed - starring Henry Kravis and his homes" Photo: Brave New Films, on flickr

Sign reads: "War On Greed - starring Henry Kravis and his homes" Photo: Brave New Films, on flickr

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If you read me often enough, you have probably noticed that I tend to check various news and opinion sites throughout the TradMed each morning, after I’ve spent a few minutes reviewing emails and jobs sites. Most of the time, I just shake my head at the various levels of stupidity I find, not being able to quite give it the full YOU HAVE GOT TO BE F*CKING KIDDING ME! treatment so richly deserved. Then there are days like today where teh stoopid is so truly dumbfounding.

Today, we have Henry Kravis, co-founder of private equity firm KKR, sending up a fine whine to Bloomberg on how tighter credit rules are forcing the private equity firms to kick in more of their own money and making buy-outs more expensive. Sayeth Mr Kravis:

“As the debt markets tighten and the cost of capital goes up, something has got to give,” Kravis said yesterday at the Bloomberg Dealmakers Summit in New York. “You just have to pay more.” 

Kravis, 67, said the cost of capital for a leveraged buyout has risen more than 2 percentage points since the firm agreed to buy Pfizer Inc.’s Capsugel unit in April, forcing buyers to put up more cash for deals and borrow less. Uncertainty in the equity markets also is making it more difficult to reap profits through initial public offerings or sales of companies owned by private-equity funds, he said.

…snip…

Buyout firms typically use loans secured on the targets they acquire to finance more than half of the purchase price and cash from their own funds for the rest. The firms seek to improve performance at the companies they acquire or expand them before selling them within about five years.

KKR, which Kravis created in 1976 with George Roberts and Jerome Kohlberg, is expanding into hedge funds, real estate and underwriting to reduce reliance on buyouts after the firm gained a listing on the New York Stock Exchange last year. KKR this year hired a group of former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) traders led by Bob Howard to start KKR’s first hedge fund.

Wow. Just. Wow.

Mr. Kravis joins JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon as a poster child for those who have no clue about life amongst the peons. Now Dimon has set the whiners’ bar high with his whines about how banksters get no love and how it’s just so mean as to be anti-American to require banks to increase their capital but I think Kravis has nudged Lloyd Blankfein out of second place.

Private Equity firms use small per cents of their own funds and large debt in leveraged buy-outs. There seem to be as many articles saying LBOs are bad as there are good. I’m sure it is no surprise that I lean towards the LBO = bad perspective. While there may be some benefits in efficiencies, there are far too many examples of lost jobs, high interest payments on those loans, and destroyed pensions. The pattern seems to be Private Equity firm creates huge debt to take over Business. Business then has to service the resulting debt before investing in R&D, employees, pensions, whatever. In order to streamline costs, Private Equity firm is within a couple of years “forced” to declare bankruptcy, turning their pension obligations over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. At the end of approximately five years, the private equity firm files for an “Initial Public Offering” for all or part of the firm they had taken private five years before. IN the intervening years, they have cut employees, destroyed the pension, used company assets to pay off the debt (which never seems to be in their names, but only in the name of the company they used the debt to acquire) and walk away with more millions to off set the devastation they leave in their wake.

Congratulations Henry Kravis, your whine even managed to top that of folks CNN found who complained that they were more like Joe Schmuck than Warren Buffett and shouldn’t have to pay a “Millionaire’s Tax”:

Only 24% of millionaires said higher taxes on higher incomes is the fairest way to go, according to recent survey from Spectrem Group, a research firm specializing in finances of affluent Americans. The biggest chunk of millionaires, 44%, think a flat rate tax across all income brackets is the fairest system. 

…snip…

One millionaire CNNMoney reader said that for the past five years, his tax rate (including state income taxes) has ranged from 40% to 55% — which he thinks is more than enough money to be forking over to Uncle Sam.

Uh, Earth to CNN Money reader – taxes going to the state are not going to Uncle Sam. You might also check with the folks making $30K or $40K per year and find out how much they are paying in taxes and fees at all levels.

DoG, but these WATBs do tend to irritate, don’t they?

And because I can:

Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor