Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Second PEU Puff Piece from the Majors

NYT's Dealbook defended private equity via a piece on Paul Levy, a "low key" private equity underwriter (PEU).  This followed WaPo's interview with University of Chicago Professor Steve Kaplan.  Both men catered to The Carlyle Group and co-founder David Rubenstein.

Neither article mentioned "leveraged recapitalizations,"  i.e. "debt for dividend" bleeding, where PEU's recover most of their initial investment prior to any IPO or sale.

The majors omitted PEU's complete reliance on tax minimization.  This occurs via:

1) Dramatically increased interest expense - PEU's would much rather pay interest than taxes.
2) Off-shoring to low tax portions of the world - take Carlyle's DBD Cayman
3) Preferred carried interest taxation - for those receiving investment profits
4) Virtual nonprofit status - Carlyle's effective tax rate is 1%.

Both articles cited private equity as pension savers, completely ignoring how Carlyle dumped pensions for two recent acquisitions, RAC and Brintons.

PEU practices are based on greed, which results in dubious ethical practices.  It's nice when a PEU and its joint venture partners can pony up $70 million to "settle" a "pay to play", i.e. bribery investigation. 

Why would NYT and WaPo omit the PEU nature of private equity? Take it as a clue to their sponsors.