Saturday, May 31, 2014

Count the Caymans: Part Deux


PEUReport readers may recall a past challenge of counting the Cayman Island subsidiaries of The Carlyle Group, a private equity underwriter (PEU) with $199 billion in assets under management. 

This challenge becomes more meaningful knowing U.S. parent corporations made $51 billion in Cayman profits, while the Caymans had a mere $3 billion in gross domestic product. 

This year's subsidiary list is included in Carlyle's 10-k filing with the SEC.  One could count Carlyle's subs in each of the dozen tax haven countries.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

PEU Billionaire Khosla Shafts Public in Multiple Ways


SFGate reported billionaire Vinod Khosla claims he owns what was a public road and beach, as well as the tides:

“Martin’s beach is private property, including the sandy beach and the submerged tidelands seaward of the mean high tide,”  argued lobbyists hired by Khosla in a letter to state lawmakers. “There are no existing ‘public’ lands to which access is needed.”

Private equity underwriters are happy to make money off the public.  Khosla affiliate Gevo Energy happily sold the Air Force jet fuel for $59 a gallon.  After enriching himself from citizen taxpayers, some of which live in California, Khosla asserted it's all his.

“It’s preposterous,”  said Joe Cotchett, the lead attorney for Surfrider, which is awaiting a decision on a lawsuit claiming that Khosla needed a California Coastal Commission permit before he could close the road or make other improvements.

Gary Redenbacher, who argued the case before Judge Buchwald, said even under Mexican law beaches were public property below the highest tide line.

“The beach itself has always been public,” he wrote in an e-mail.  ”Therefore, the claim by the lobbyists that it is a private beach has zero credibility in the law whether part of a Mexican Land Grant or not.”

“This,” Redenbacher said, ” is a blatant attempt by Khosla to abscond with public property.”

It won't be the first time a private equity underwriter (PEU) absconded with public property.  It's integral to the PEU model.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Carlyle's Love-Hate Relationship with Municipalities

The Carlyle Group is a tale of two city relationships.  Suburban Atlanta is the best of PEU times, while Missoula, Montana is the worst.  Cobb County, Georgia will put nearly $400 million toward the Atlanta Braves' new baseball stadium.

The proposed new stadium will cost $622 million, with $392 million coming from the public. That includes $368 million in bonds, $14 million in transportation sales tax and $10 million in cash from businesses in the Cumberland Community Improvement District.
The Carlyle Group leverages public money as well as anyone.  In this case Carlyle is leveraging location for a real estate deal.

Atlanta real estate company Atlantic Realty Partners recently paid $7.6 million for 8 acres next to the planned ballfield and mixed-use project, according to Cobb County records.

Atlantic Realty will develop more than 600 apartments. The first phase — a 5-story project with 320 units — would break ground this July and could wrap up by late 2015.

Atlantic Realty Partners formed a joint venture with Carlyle Group of Washington D.C. on the first phase.

Contrast this with Carlyle's convoluted position on its ownership of Missoula's Mountain Water.

The Carlyle Group claims it does not own Missoula’s water system and therefore cannot be named as a defendant in the city’s condemnation lawsuit, according to court documents filed by Carlyle’s lawyers on Tuesday.

The global investment firm is asking Missoula County District Judge Karen Townsend to dismiss it from the case, leaving Mountain Water Co. as the sole defendant in the city’s bid to force a sale of the utility under eminent domain laws.

Carlyle’s claim that it doesn’t own the water system seemingly contradicts that it would have to approve any sale of Mountain Water, as well as a 2013 letter from Carlyle Infrastructure managing director Robert Dove to Missoula Mayor John Engen indicating a willingness to listen to offers to buy Mountain Water. In the letter, Dove stated that “Carlyle Infrastructure is honored to be the ultimate owner of Mountain Water.” Carlyle ultimately rejected two city offers to buy Mountain Water in the past.

Carlyle’s argument to the court is based on the fact that Missoula’s water system falls under a tangled web of corporate ownership. Mountain Water owns and operates the water system, and is itself owned by California-based Park Water Co. Park Water and two California water utilities are owned by Western Water Holdings, and Carlyle Infrastructure Partners LP is the managing member of Western Water Holdings. Carlyle Infrastructure is a division of the global firm The Carlyle Group, which invests in public and private infrastructure projects and businesses.

In short, the essence of Carlyle’s argument is that although it owns the companies that own Mountain Water, it does not own the water system. And that means the city of Missoula has the right to sue only the direct owner of the water system, Mountain Water.

This isn't the first time Carlyle lawyers have offered absurd legal defenses.  They did so with LifeCare Hospitals after 25 patients died in their long term acute care unit in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.  Carlyle's crack legal team defended SemGroup's implosion with a puffery defense to angry investors.  This brings back memories of Carlyle's turning away from Carlyle Capital Corporations' reeking carcass. 

The only consistent principal is Carlyle will do what's best for itself, frequently at the public's expense.

Monday, May 26, 2014

PEUxclusive to Become PEUbiquity


Reuters reported:

Private equity funds are also eyeing the retail space. David Rubenstein, co-founder of industry giant The Carlyle Group, said that there will be a time for private clients to enter his types of funds, adding "that will be an enormous growth opportunity for people like us."

If private equity underwriters (PEU's) can cheat sophisticated investors, like public pensions and sovereign wealth funds, think of what they can do to the small investor. 

The enormous growth opportunity is for PEU founders to cash in on the wallets of little people.  Chasing return will end badly for many, just as it did nearly six years ago.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Small PEU Investors Are the Final Mark?


Dean LeBaron on private equity:

Finally you get very concerned about bubbles.  In the United States private equity, which has been so popular for fifteen years, has now been made available for small investors.  Woe the tide, beware small investors.  You are about to go in to be fleeced.
He also said he's "trying to learn why flash trading is not front running and dark pools are not a criminal repository for past bad trades."  I suspect LeBaron understands how unethical behavior is redefined as OK over time so the politically powerful can profit.

PEU's dangling 30% annual returns is enough to bewitch the staunchest small investor desperate for yield. 

I can hear PT Barnum or Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein calling out to the crowd:  "Small Investors!  Step this way for the Great PEU Co-founder Egress."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rubenstein Cites Rights at GMU Graduation

Carlye Group co-founder and private equity underwriter (PEU) David Rubenstein offered these wise words to George Mason University graduates:

George Mason resisted pressure from other founding members of the United States and did not sign the Constitution until it was amended to include a Bill of Rights, which made the document much more powerful, Rubenstein said.

How may GMU grads know the rights of Carlyle Group's NASDAQ unitholders?  They have no right to select Carlyle's Board of Directors nor do they have any say on pay.   George Mason was against the wealthy and powerful running over the common man's rights.  

In the process of becoming a billionaire many people felt run over by Carlyle's preference for interest expense over payroll and benefits.  More than a handful of employees lost their pension due to Rubenstein.  How many people lost their job to fund a special dividend to their billionaire PEU owners?  

Leadership is as leadership does.  Policy making billionaires are not what George Mason had in mind, yet that's just what the university had for Graduation 2014.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

PEU Rubenstein "Froth Returns"


The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Mr Rubenstein, who was speaking at the SALT hedge fund conference in Las Vegas, said private equity firms were paying 2007 prices but were using more debt.

"In 2007 the average EBITDA multiple was 9.7x Now its 9.7x again but the average leverage 5.3 times, now which is higher than 2007."

Going back to 2007 on PEU deals is not making the world better.  Also, PEU's are using debt for more than acquisitions.   The debt for dividend play remains strong.  Leon Black's Apollo plans to pull $175 million from Hostess.


This may be the "sweetest dividend bite in the history of ever."  Employees sacrifice, billionaires benefit.  It's the PEU way.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Hunter Biden & The Carlyle Group: Ukrainian Gasbags

Business Insider reported:

Hunter Biden, the youngest son of Vice President Joe Biden, has been appointed to the board of directors of Ukraine's largest private-gas producer. The company, Burisma Holdings, announced Biden's appointment on its website Tuesday.
Ex-lobbyist Hunter Biden has had many jobs, including a PEU position with Rosemont Capital's Real Estate arm.

Western energy companies want to turn Ukraine's energy business their way and Hunter Biden is in a unique position to facilitate such.

The Carlyle Group had the chops to get ethanol mandates dropped.  This came from another Pennsylvania Biden connection, Philadelphia Energy Systems.

Carlyle's European energy chief is extremely bullish and I can see why.  The EU could be one gigantic money funnel for Carlyle

Ukraine’s prime minister and European Union officials on Tuesday closed deals for a total of 1.3 billion euros ($1.78 billion) in EU assistance that Kiev could use to pay its energy bills, combat corruption and reform its institutions.

Carlyle just added a new member to its International Energy Partners team, one with UK oil and gas experience.  That's months after creating "a major new midstream energy business in North-West Europe."

CIEP is a key component of Carlyle’s global energy platform ($28 billion in AUM), which includes a strategic partnership with NGP Energy Capital Management (E&P investing in North America); Energy Mezzanine financing; energy infrastructure & power generation (Cogentrix); commodities (Vermillion); and the firm’s buyout capabilities in transactions such as Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Kinder Morgan.

CIEP would love to sell energy products to Ukraine and eventually own energy properties in a stable Ukraine.  Watch how Uncle Sam and the EU facilitate such a move.

Hunter Biden's appointment comes as the U.S. and much of the West has sought to help Ukraine wean off its dependence on Russia for oil and gas supplies. Last month during a trip to Kiev, the vice president pledged U.S. assistance in Ukraine's pursuit of energy independence from Russia. Ukraine and the West believe energy independence would serve as a major leverage point for Ukraine in its standoff with Russia.

The White House insults citizens who know opening up markets for American branded global corporations is the aim, not a strategic byproduct. It should be no surprise that PEU Biden and Carlyle stand to profit handsomely.  Their brazenness is shameless.

Update 5-14-14:  The U.S. taxpayer backstopped another $1 billion in loans to Ukraine.  Gazprom, Biden, Carlyle....

Update 6-22-14:  Carlyle's Claren Road hedge fund invested in Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, which has a huge LNG plant planned for Lousiana..

Update 10-17-14:  Hunter Biden tested positive for cocaine.  While crack cocaine users fill America's jail cells Hunter's punishment was discharge from his part time job with the Navy Reserves.

Update 11-30-14:  VP Joe Biden shared a Thanksgiving meal with Carlyle's Rubenstein. I'll venture Ukrainian gas was the subject of after dinner conversation.

Update 8-28-15:  Hunter Biden blames Russian agents for setting up a fake Ashley Madison account in his name.  How the Russians did this from Biden's office at Georgetown University is unclear.  Biden's people have no comment.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monticello's Birds of a PEU Feather

The Daily Journal reported:

The Carlyle Group co-founder and co-CEO David M. Rubenstein will be the featured speaker at Monticello's annual Fourth of July naturalization ceremony.

More than 3,000 people have been sworn in as American citizens since Monticello's Independence Day tradition began in 1963.

The annual celebration at Thomas Jefferson's home also commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Few people know Thomas Jefferson conducted a leveraged loan using slaves as collateral.  Rubenstein perpetrated the Great Eskimo Tax Scam, making millions selling Alaskan Native tax losses.  That provided seed money for The Carlyle Group, a private equity underwriter (PEU).

Both men started as young idealists who wanted to help others.  Later each wanted to make money off others.  Thomas Jefferson, pioneering PEU.

Update 11-7-15:  UVA continues in the tradition of Jefferson-Rubenstein.

Carlyle CFO Returns to NASDAQ

WSJ reported:

Carlyle Group LP on Monday said it had appointed Curtis L. Buser to take over as the firm's financial chief on an interim basis following the departure of Adena T. Friedman, who left to become co-president of NASDAQ Group OMX Inc.

Mr. Buser, 50 years old, will continue acting as Carlyle's chief accounting officer, a position he has held since September 2004. Before that, he worked as an audit partner with Ernst & Young LLP, Carlyle said. Ms. Friedman, 44, meanwhile, resigned Friday to leave for Nasdaq after a three-year tenure as Carlyle's CFO. 

She is slated to start at Nasdaq on June 12 and is considered the "leading candidate" to ultimately succeed Robert Greifeld as chief executive of the exchange company.

Friedman served three years time under Carlyle's co-founding triumvirate and was instrumental in taking The Carlyle Group public.  Carlyle unit holders may wonder about Friedman's surprise leaving, but co-CEO David Rubenstein said in a statement:

“We are sad to see Adena go but understand this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her to serve as their president and to be the leading candidate to some day run Nasdaq OMX.” 

Carlyle lost their first woman on the PEU's management committee.  I'd love to hear her "once in lifetime" experience working with policy making billionaires.

There's employment retention and the Freudian version.  I'd wager Carlyle's co-founders have issues with both. 

Update 5-15-14:  Another high level Carlyle exec left after serving a three year sentence.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Carlyle to Earn Triple from Nine Months of Beats?


Seeking Alpha ran the rumor of Apple's purchase of Beats for $3.2 billion, a mere nine months after The Carlyle Group invested $500 million in the firm, then valued at $1 billion.  The PEU boys brag of adding value.  What did Carlyle do to triple the firm in three short quarters?  Did they distributed brightly colored headphones at the annual investor meeting (not the unit-holder version)?

Update 5-28-14:  Bloomberg made the Beats' rumor official.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Just Us" from the Blues


The Blue Team dealt the public a trifecta of disturbing legal stories.  The first was a shot across the bow of private equity underwriters (PEU's) at their Compliance soiree in New York.  Despite securing information on widespread fee abuses, a SEC representative made sweet talk to the big money boys.  This could be the latest round of egregious actions swept under the rug by the political team in power.

Recall corporate chiefs backdating stock options on a widespread basis?  Some 30% of options were backdated.  This compares to 50% of PEU's doing untoward things with investor money and calling them "fees."  I smell a build to 2016 election year tough talk, after which seemingly magical settlements are reached with PEU founders, letting them escape with kajillions.

Next up in Blue "Just Us" comes the case of New York Fed whistleblower, fired for raising concerns about Goldman Sachs.  Legal liars did their usual word bending and twisting.  I'm not sure the contortions were necessary given the judge's husband, a partner at the law firm Davis Polk, "was representing Goldman in an Advisory capacity." Add that the judge once worked for Davis Polk and the Senator who nominated the judge for the federal bench also worked at Davis Polk.

This judge spurned efforts by the fired whistleblower to understand the nature of her husband's relationship and did not recuse herself from the case due to apparent or perceived conflicts.

The last involved the Treasury, FBI and Justice Department effectively looking the other way over abuses that led up to the financial crisis.

So far, I’ve heard almost nothing about the ethics and professional responsibility of lawyers in what many Americans consider to be a complete breakdown in effective white-collar law enforcement against the most powerful in the wake of a devastating financial crisis.

President Obama said they wouldn't go there and his team hasn't.  This should set him and other Blue leaders up for high paying PEU advisory slots post "public service."

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Carlyle Group Nears $200 Billion AUM


The Carlyle Group needs a mere $1.1 billion more in assets under management to reach $200 billion.  This development comes as private equity underwriters come under pressure for illegal or unethical fees.  Even the industry trade group, which I refer to as PECKER, declined to comment.  PECKER stands for Private Equity Capital Knowledge Executed Responsibly.  It's easier to remember and pronounce than PEGCC.  PEGCC's Ken Spain has multiple fires to put out at the moment.  Good thing he has that lobbying Flak Jacket.  Surely he can defend the indefensible.

If not Ken Spain, then who?  How about Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, newly appointed chair of the Library of Congress advisory council.  He has repeatedly defended the indefensible

Monday, May 5, 2014

Politicians' Airplane Love


Washington state gave Boeing $8.7 billion in tax breaks with no employment assurances.  The Seattle Times reported on the bill when it passed:

Boeing was forgiven more than $500 million per year in taxes over the span of 16 years.  
The deal is a record.  It's the "largest state-tax subsidy granted to a private company in American history."  Boeing has five PEU representatives on its board of directors.  They're quite skilled in milking governments of subsidies.

“When companies play states against each other like this, they can extract enormous public goods. There is a cost to that. At some point there’s going to have to be some pushback on this practice. By someone. Somewhere.”

This harkens back to the days when Vought Aircraft Industries, a Carlyle Group affiliate, had Texas and South Carolina competing for 787 Dreamliner production.  Texas Governor Rick Perry gave Vought $35 million for 3,000 new jobs.  South Carolina countered with $65 million.  Vought took Texas' $35 million then cut 35 jobs.  Texas gave Vought $1 million per job lost.

Governor Rick Perry rewrote the agreement prior to Carlyle's selling Vought to Triumph Group.  Carlyle's billionaire co-founders gave not one penny of the proceeds to Texas taxpayers.  What looked ill advised and extravagant back then is chicken feed to today's corporacrats.

Push back?  The Government-Corporate Monstrosity, Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex, is on $ trillions in steroids.  Purchased politicians deliver for their sponsors.  They're pushovers. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

New Treasury Chief from JPMorgan-BearStearns


The Bond Buyer reported:

A new office at the U.S. Treasury Department will focus on state and local finance issues, including distressed municipalities and their management of pension and other unfunded liabilities.

Current JPMorgan managing director Kent Hiteshew will be the first to helm the Office of State and Local Finance when he takes it over in mid-May. He will report to Treasury Assistant Secretary for Financial Markets Matthew Rutherford, according to a story first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by The Bond Buyer.

Hiteshew currently oversees public finance for the Northeast region and the housing finance group at JPMorgan, where he has been since 2008. Before that he worked at the now-defunct Bear, Stearns & Co. for 18 years, and earlier at Morgan Stanley Inc. and the former Drexel Burnham Lambert.
Don't forget JPMorgan and Bear Stearns paired up to repeatedly gouge Jefferson County, Alabama on municipal financing.  Bloomberg reported:

JPMorgan, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. charged Jefferson County about $50 million above prevailing prices for 11 of the interest-rate swaps the county bought between 2001 and 2004. None of the fees were disclosed to the commissioners, records show. 

Does it make you feel better someone from JPMorgan and Bear Stearns will be in Washington to help distressed municipalities?   

Muniland reported (Reuters):

Municipal bond issuance continues to shrink, but bank borrowing by municipalities is rising. I’ve suggested that the U.S. is creating the same problem that China is now trying to climb out of. Municipal issuers are taking loans that the public does not know about. Of course, I don’t expect Congress to do anything proactively about this issue. For anyone to pay attention, the undisclosed bank loans of a state or a city will have to blow up.

GASB has ensured  government balance sheets will blow up in the coming year.  When full pension liabilities hit, as required, cities and states will overnight look like a Texas bank in the midst of the oil bust.

Wall Street investment houses and private equity underwriters (PEU's) have billions on the sidelines for public infrastructure.  They need a disequilibrium event which the accounting profession kindly supplied.  Municipal revenue streams, water, sewer, toll roads, parking, airports, etc. will likely be fire sold to fund monstrous pension deficits.  Think Chicago parking or Illinois toll roads.

Treasury has a Wall Street insider in place to  ensure things happen to the big money boys' advantage.  It's the American branded Government-Corporate Monstrosity, Eisenhower's Military-Industrial Complex on trillions in federal steroids.  A state and local finance crisis is coming.

Also, PEU's stand to benefit from public pensions needing to have higher returns.  I expect they'll be able to buy state/municipal cash cows on the cheap and garner a larger chunk of public pension money for investment purposes.  PEU's win, which is no surprise given politicians Red and Blue love PEU. 

Arctic's PEUture


The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Hugh Short wants you to invest in an emerging economy with few people, fewer buildings, and which is melting at the fastest pace in millennia.

He's talking about the Arctic, which Scott Minerd, the chief investment officer of Guggenheim Partners LLC, calls "not just the best opportunity of our generation, but of the last 12,000 years." Short, a native ofAlaska, said Pt Capital LLC, which he co-founded last year, is the first and only US private-equity firm dedicated to investing in the Arctic.

Short, 41, is attempting to raise $US250 million for the firm's first fund by year-end. 
Guggenheim Partners may join Short's PEU:

"Unlike most of the planet, the Arctic still contains uncharted mysteries,"  Minerd, whose firm is considering investing with Pt Capital, said in an e-mailed response to questions. "With a great deal of the development still in the planning stages, few investors are fully aware of just how great the opportunities are."
One heavy hitter has long preached the Arctic opportunity, Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein.  Rubenstein regularly speaks to Alaskans about investment opportunities.  It doesn't hurt that his wife owns Alaska's biggest newspaper

Bloomberg, the originator of the Herald piece, did it's best to offer a Carlyle dodge with this quote:

"It is such a frontier place," Marcel van Poecke, managing director of Carlyle International Energy Partners, said in an interview at a conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, on April 2. "That is for the big oil companies."
The Carlyle Group is already in Alaska and wants to do more.  A co-founder's spouse is in a unique position to influence public opinion on Carlyle's behalf.  That's what Bloomberg missed in order to get their next Rubenstein interview.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

PPACA Predictions On Target to Date


PPACA turned out as predicted thus far.   Naked Capitalism confirmed points I made long ago with their piece "Medical Homelessness" for the newly insured.

More than 3 million Californians are newly insured. At the same time, a third of our primary care doctors are set to retire

In 2009 I shared my concern regarding doctor supply and the Obama administration's woeful strategies to add primary care physicians.  Texas, with the highest rate of uninsureds in the U.S., did its part to ensure physician access remained a problem.  Continuing with Naked Capitalism:

Well, of course they’re going to retire. ObamaCare’s ACOs are just HMOs all over again. And who wants to go in debt for an M.D. to end up as an employee in a hospital, with some administrative drone making all the medical decisions? I don’t think so.

Also in 2009 I wrote "Capitation and managed care return as global payments and accountable care organizations."

It (capitation and managed care) produced widespread physician resentment and a public outcry about perceived perverse incentives. Politicians promise better measures, but the result will be the same. Doctors and hospitals will focus on maximizing payment, not quality.

Recall how incentive pay imploded Wall Street. They packaged investment junk for the public. Goldman Sachs bet against the products held by their customers. It made them billions. Goldman is as unpopular as managed care at the moment.

Don't forget the decade of widespread stock option backdating by corporate executives. Stock options were the "most pure form" of incentive compensation. Yet, nearly 30% lied, cheated or stole.

Incentives distort, a clear theme in high quality care communities. Doctors are paid a fair salary and supported in a laser like focus on quality.

Global Payment and Accountable Care Organizations are repackaging, simple bait and switch. You can buy it. I'm not.

Add that this repackaging was designed by Nancy-Ann DeParle, a PEU with CCMP Capital Partners before PPACA and a PEU with Consonance Capital after PPACA.  Despite shedding all "conflicting assets" DeParle received at least one private equity payout from a health care company while employed at the White House.

Now for my major point that PPACA was intended to accelerate the shift in responsibility for health care coverage from employers to workers and a tapped out Uncle Sam.  The Fiscal Times reported:

More and more companies are considering dumping employer-sponsored coverage and shifting their workers to private policies sold on the law’s insurance exchanges.

The move is tempting for businesses, as it could result in huge savings —likely totaling hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. Meanwhile, the cost could come at a price to the federal government in the former of more insurance subsidies, or to employees who may have to directly shoulder more of the burden of their health care coverage.

Lastly in 2009 I predicted PPACA would set the stage for employers to shed that pesky health insurance benefit.  In 2010 I concluded "a seismic shift is underway, transferring responsibility to individuals and a tapped out Uncle Sam."

Two groups, corporate chiefs and their purchased politicians, need hundreds of billions in savings to fund executive incentive pay increases, a portion of which can be donated to "trusted politicians."  This is how democracy ignores the will of the people to benefit the few, which I believe was the purpose of PPACA, as designed and implemented.

It wouldn't be truly American if PPACA did not advance the for-profit health care component.  PEU's like disequilibrium, thus they see healthcare as a place to make big money.

Update 11-16-14:  CNBC reported on employees taking on the greater burden I predicted.   "The employees could see up to a $6,150 reduction in their health-care benefits and little or no increase in their pay," the report said. We shall what comes true.

Update 5-5-15:  MarketWatch reported many corporations have jettisoned their retiree healthcare benefit due to PPACA's incentives.