Sunday, August 28, 2016

Carlyle Group May Shutter Remaining Hedge Funds

FT reported:

Carlyle is weighing whether to withdraw from its hedge fund activities, as the private equity group struggles with its offerings and as one of its remaining vehicles has shrunk by almost 90 per cent in two years. 

One of the hedge funds majority owned by Carlyle, Emerging Sovereign Group, told investors this month that Carlyle was selling its stake back to ESG’s partners. Assets in another Carlyle hedge fund, Claren Road, have fallen to less than $1bn, from $8.5bn two years ago.

Another Carlyle hedge fund, Vermillion, was reconfigured last year. It has been renamed Carlyle Commodity Management and lumped into the group’s other commodities business. In February, Carlyle shut its fund of funds business, Diversified Global Asset Management, and three months later the head of the Global Market Strategies unit, Mitch Petrick, stepped down to start his own investment management company.
Two Carlyle funds failed in 2008, just months before the financial crisis. Affiliate Carlyle Capital Corporation declared bankruptcy (March 2008) and Carlyle announced it would liquidate Blue Wave Partners (July 2008). 

Carlyle current hedge funds exit may be because the PEU doesn't want to throw good money after bad.  Is it capital preservation time?

Do Management Fees Open Door for PEU Liability?

Despite hold harmless agreements on paper and corporate shells set up to insulate liability, it is logical that a private equity underwriter (PEU) could be held accountable for management decisions it makes on behalf of its affiliate.  PEUs generally charge their company millions in annual management fees.  Take casino giant Caesar's, owned by PEUs Apollo Global and TPG. 

An acquired company pays its private equity owners an annual sum for ongoing management and advisory services. You might have heard about these recently in the context of troubled casino company Caesar’s Entertainment CZR , which each year pays nearly $30 million to its private equity owners — Apollo Global Management APO and TPG Capital — despite annual losses north of $1.4 billion (Caesar’s could have killed the arrangement during last year’s IPO, but it would have been forced to pay $195 million the privilege).
That's on top of the transaction fee charged by PEUs when they consummate the deal.

When they took Harrah’s (now Caesar's) private, TPG and Apollo collected a $200 million “transaction fee” for the deal, split evenly between the two companies.
Caesar bondholders sued the operating company and just received the right to sue the next shell up, Caesar's Entertainment Corp..   Courts have not granted the right to sue Apollo Global or TPG directly.

Caesar's organizational structure is shown in their annual 10-K filing.  The list of Caesar's subsidiaries is five and a half pages long.

Here's what the 10-K said about the bankruptcy:

As a result of CEOC’s highly-leveraged capital structure and the general decline in its gaming results since 2007, on January 15, 2015, CEOC and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries (collectively, the “Debtors”) voluntarily filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the Bankruptcy Court. Because CEOC is under the control of the Bankruptcy Court, CEC deconsolidated this subsidiary effective January 15, 2015 
And who set up CEOC's highly leveraged capital structure?   That would be Apollo Global and TPG. 

CEOC bondholder's are one step closer to Caesar's sponsors given their right to sue Caesar's Entertainment. I'd love to see the day when PEU sponsors have to defend their actions in court for their decimation and looting.  Maybe one day they'll have to pay.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Public Gets It on EpiPen Price Gouging

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said in her CNBC interview on her company's EpiPen price increases:

"I understand better than anyone that facts are inconvenient to headlines."  
That's pathological level spin and complete horse hockey.  Bresch completely ducked the greed that underlies the story.

As for facts here are a few.  NBC News reported one mother's experience with EpiPen pricing:

In 2008, Bush said the price was $145.99. In 2010, it was $220.99, then jumped to $649.99. This year her pre-insurance costs were $1,118.08.
The fact is EpiPen's price rose by several orders of magnitude, as did her CEO pay.  NBC News reported:

Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase, according to data provided by Connecture.
Here's the concession President Obama, White House Health reformer Nancy-Ann DeParle and Senator Max Baucus wrung from big pharma in 2009:

The pharmaceutical industry maintained that proper use of medicines can be one of the most effective ways to achieve better health outcomes and reduce costs.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said in a statement Monday that non-adherence to prescribed medicines has been estimated to cost $100 billion to $300 billion annually, including costs from avoidable hospitalizations and nursing home admissions.

Addressing this issue is part of a quality-focused way to lower healthcare cost growth, the trade group said.

"The coalition also recognizes the importance of encouraging medical innovation as a key element in both improving patient health and reducing the growth of overall health costs," PhRMA president and CEO Billy Tauzin, said in a statement.
The Obama team dangled a $2,500 annual savings in health care costs in 2009.  It didn't happen.

The average general deductible for workers with single coverage totaled $1,077 this year (2015), compared to only $303 in 2006. That deductible has climbed nearly seven times faster than wages, on average, over the past five years. 

CNBC's Brian Sullivan asked Mylan's CEO why are people paying more for pharmaceuticals and insurance is covering less.  Simple:  It was the design of PPACA, widely known as Obamacare, where employers and Uncle Sam would shift the growing burden of health care costs to the individual. Seven years ago I wrote the 30,000 foot view of PPACA showed:

People having to buy insurance, which over time will shift greater and greater responsibility to the individual.
 It's come to pass.  I offered in early 2014:

(Employers) continue their longstanding practice of shifting responsibility and costs to employees.  For the individual rising deductibles and co-pays are a larger hurdle for using healthcare services.
CNBC's Sullivan reference people going bankrupt under healthcare and prescription drug costs, a predictable occurrence under health reform.

It;s not optics the public is livid about, it's experience.  The average worker's pay hasn't gone up enough to keep up with the additional healthcare cost burden under PPACA.  Greed was the implied foundation for PPACA and EpiPen is a window into that world.
In 2015, Mylan's profits from the sale of EpiPens rose to $1.2 billion.
As for CEO Health Bresch's shifting Mylan's "headquarters" overseas for tax reasons and lying about an MBA that she didn't finish, those are things Americans have come to expect from the executive suite and board room.  We've learned the last fifteen years:

1   Image is everything.  
2.  There are few limits on strategies that boost CEO incentive pay at the expense of workers or consumers.
3.  CEOs have adopted the language of politics to avoid responsibility and divert people from the question/issue at hand.
For Heather Bresch it doesn't hurt that her father is former Governor of West Virginia and a current U.S. Senator.  I wonder if one of his people coached her prior to her CNBC interview.  It was D.C. level slop.

Update:  ZeroHedge noted the Government-Corporate Monstrosity's tentacles in the EpiPen fiasco.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

PEUs Lever at Multiple Levels

NakedCapitalism reported:

Subscription line financing makes it possible for general partners to borrow at the fund level on a routine basis, as opposed to its previous status as an unusual event. The bank provides a credit line with that borrowing secured not by the assets of any portfolio companies, but by the unused capital commitments of the limited partners. In other words, while these borrowings were expected to be rare and repaid by other means, from the lender’s perspective, legally they are advances against the limited partners’ capital commitments. 

Some managers use lines of credit instead of calling investor capital, thereby easing limited partners’ capital call burden
Having to borrow at the fund level is odd, especially with all the dry powder supposedly at private equity's disposal.  It makes me wonder if their fundraising commitments are as solid as presented.

If capital commitments are suspect fund level borrowing adds several stories to the PEU house of cards.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Political Hacks Turn Management Gurus

Washington's Blog reported:

"our society is a layer-cake of pathologies, our economy little more than institutionalized racketeering and our politics a corrupt auction-house of pay-for-play, influence-peddling, money-grubbing and brazen pandering for votes."- Charles Hugh Smith
This statement confirmed my unease over the marriage of corporations and politics, such that the pursuit of power and greed consistently trump decency, fairness and justice.  

CEOs once studied under renowned management theorists.  Dr. W. Edwards Deming's "There is no knowledge without theory", has been jettisoned for management pragmatism.  It happens that excessively enriching executives for the work employees perform is pragmatic.  

CEOs now study under a Clinton hack who failed to operate the family charity in an upright and ethical manner.   Teneo helps CEOs get richer and more powerful for a $250,000 monthly retainer.  Teneo Capital and Teneo Ventures act like private equity underwriters (PEU).  

Teneo Capital is an independent investment bank providing strategic and financial advice on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, capital raising, valuation and capital markets transactions. 

Teneo Ventures partners with companies run by visionary but pragmatic CEOs, focused on solving large, real-world problems. In addition to providing financial capital, we leverage capabilities across our platform to offer operational capital, relational capital, and intellectual capital.
Teneo Founder Douglas Band was described by a Clinton White House colleague as "a gatekeeper who charged tolls."  Teneo combines the financialization of everything with gross politics. 

Management, like politics, focuses on self image and personal enrichment.  Substance and truth take a back seat to hollow narratives corporate chiefs and officials foist on their workers and the public.  There is no depth, only shiny shallow surfaces that enable people at the top to see their best reflection.  Woe to anyone who asks for real relationship or mutuality in today's mirror, mirror on the wall world.

The marriage of business and politics has not improved the lives of workers the last two decades.  It has however produced a new class of ex-politician business consultants whose practice involves the continued exercise of greed and power.  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Clinton Circle: Sophisticated Influence Peddling

It used to be people left public service for private enrichment.  Under the Clinton circle that no longer needed to happen.  Take Huma Abedin.  Vanity Fair reported:

One of Clinton’s most trusted aides is Huma Abedin, vice-chairwoman of the current campaign, who began her work with the Clintons in 1996 as an intern. Abedin is as secretive as Clinton herself, if not more so, and she is the primary gatekeeper. She often forwards press coverage and other messages, highlighting once again the mediating membrane that exists between Hillary and ordinary reality. Abedin is one of the State Department employees who had a e-mail account, and in 2012, after she stepped down as deputy chief of staff, she was granted “special government employee” status, which allowed her to continue at the State Department while working as a consultant for the Clinton Foundation and Teneo (a firm co-founded by Douglas Band, a former Clinton aide).
Politico noted how Abedin navigated her state department role:

When Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain wanted face time with Hillary Clinton in the first months of her time at the State Department, top aide Huma Abedin worked as a go-between for the Clinton Foundation and the secretary of state to facilitate the appointment, working official channels while coordinating with top Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band.
Judicial Watch added:

Included among the Abedin-Band emails is an exchange revealing that when Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain requested a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, he was forced to go through the Clinton Foundation for an appointment. Abedin advised Band that when she went through “normal channels” at State, Clinton declined to meet. After Band intervened, however, the meeting was set up within forty-eight hours.
That's the same Doug Band who blurred the lines between the Clinton Foundation and Teneo, the consulting firm he founded.  NYT reported in 2013

None have drawn more scrutiny in Clinton circles than Teneo, a firm co-founded in 2009 by Mr. Band, described by some as a kind of surrogate son to Mr. Clinton. Aspiring to merge corporate consulting, public relations and merchant banking in a single business, Mr. Band poached executives from Wall Street, recruited other Clinton aides to join as employees or advisers and set up shop in a Midtown office formerly belonging to one of the country’s top hedge funds.

By 2011, the firm had added a third partner, Declan Kelly, a former State Department envoy for Mrs. Clinton. And Mr. Clinton had signed up as a paid adviser to the firm.

Teneo worked on retainer, charging monthly fees as high as $250,000, according to current and former clients. The firm recruited clients who were also Clinton Foundation donors, while Mr. Band and Mr. Kelly encouraged others to become new foundation donors. Its marketing materials highlighted Mr. Band’s relationship with Mr. Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative, where Mr. Band sat on the board of directors through 2011 and remains an adviser. Some Clinton aides and foundation employees began to wonder where the foundation ended and Teneo began.
It's a big money wash, sloshing back and forth for Clinton insiders. Abedin and Band exemplify the low ethical standards in the Clinton camp.  They also symbolize those who've been enriched in outsize ways, while most suffer from stagnant wages and dwindling retirement/healthcare benefits.  

Teneo caters to the corporate CEOs who've capped wages and shifted benefit responsibility to workers and retirees.

Just like the political world, everything boils down to image management.  Those who uphold the myths receive a king's ransom while truth tellers are eviscerated. It's necessary to keep one's good name.

Update 11-5-16:  Clinton's inner circle mining of cash from inside and outside government is the topic of at least one Wikileaks e-mail.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

GM's Akerson: Clinton Campaign Ignition

Carlyle Group Vice Chairman and former General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson wrote recently:

When I worked at General Motors, our global operations comprised more than 100 plants and roughly a quarter-million employees. Supply-chain management and the orchestration of commodities, parts and components around the globe required a multinational, interdisciplinary effort. In every chief executive job I have had, my team and I spent countless hours analyzing global trends, listening to experts, learning from others and making informed, reasoned decisions. 
From this description one could deduce Akerson knew about GM's ignition switch problems.  He's been silent on the matter and no Congressional hearing on the matter required he reveal his knowledge or actions.

A new investigation is opened into front crashes of Cobalts and Pontiac G5s where airbags did not deploy. Ignition switches are removed from cars in salvage yards and tested. 

Engineers notice all the crashes in which the ignition was switched out of "Run" only happened in cars from the 2007 model year and earlier. 

GM investigators notice that ignition switches in cars built in later years are less prone to moving out of position than ignitions in earlier models. GM hires outside engineers to conduct a thorough assessment of ignition switches from cars made before and after 2007. They conclude that changes were made to the ignition switch sometime after the cars first went into production. A GM committee is asked to consider a recall of Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 cars from the 2007 model year and earlier.
We don't know if Akerson ignored the ignitions switch problem going on during CEO-ship or subordinates were pressured not to bring bad news to the top. 

When corporate actions kill people CEO's become instantly ignorant.  Praise they are happy to take but blame must be delegated.

Last June, GM CEO Mary Barra fired 15 employees deemed responsible for not tackling the problem vigorously enough.
Mary Barra did not identify the role Mr. Akerson played in not tackling the problem vigorously enough.

Carlyle Group Vice Chairman Akerson endorsed Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in his letter.  Carlyle made big money from President Bill Clinton's two terms in office.  President Obama dined with Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein numerous times.

Remember politicians Red and Blue love PEU.  When future business is at stake top executives are artful, eloquent and charming.  That evaporates when their company kills people.

WilmerHale Central to BP's Deepwater Horizon Success

The movie Deepwater Horizon will hit theaters September 30th.  It stars Mark Wahlberg and carries the following tag line "When faced with our darkest hour hope is not a tactic."  That's why BP hired DC powerhouse law firm WilmerHale after the company's 2010 explosion that killed scores of workers.  WilmerHale's Jamie Gorelick led the charge.

President Obama charged Interior Department chief Ken Salazar to conduct a through review of the incident.  Salazar bailed on that charge, deferring to a mix of other study commissions.  Salazar left public service in June 2013 to join WilmerHale.

Ken Salazar has a new job, assembling the White House team for Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.  That will be the team that responds to the next disaster.  Ken should have many people to consider if he's at former President Bill Clinton's birthday bash on Martha's Vineyard.

Oddly, the people of Louisiana are the perpetually ignored.  First, Bush strummed while Hurricane Katrina turned New Orleans into a cesspool.  The Obama team was somehow slower than Bush and FEMA poser Michael Brown.  Now flooded Louisianan's have to wait for Bill's birthday soiree to finish so Obama can commiserate with them.  

Update 7-14-23:  WilmerHale is defending JP Morgan for supplying money to child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. 

Update 11-12-23:  WilmerHale's settlement for JP Morgan for enabling Jeffrey Epstein's child sex trafficking prevents state Attorney Generals from bringing action against parties to the settlement.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Axalta: Carlyle's 2nd Biggest Cash In Ever

Bloomberg reported:

When Carlyle Group LP orchestrated a $4.9 billion buyout of DuPont Co.’s auto-paint business in 2013, competitors said the private equity firm overpaid. Three years later, Carlyle has reaped its second-biggest profit ever on the deal.

The asset manager sold on Tuesday its remaining stake in Axalta Coating Systems Ltd., previously known as DuPont Performance Coatings. The $1.35 billion that Washington-based Carlyle plowed into the deal grew to $5.8 billion, according to regulatory filings, through a series of stock sales starting last year.
Axalta CEO Charlie Shaver refocused the company’s auto-refinishing unit to win business from growing multi-shop operators, rather than individual car shops.
Carlyle happened to own a growing multi-shop operator, Service King.   When Carlyle purchased Service King it operated 47 auto body repair centers.  In 2014 when it did a deal with Blackstone Service King had 177 auto body shops.  Carlyle steered all of Service King's business to Axalta during their ownership of both companies.  A OneCarlyle case study stated:

  • Entered into an enterprise-wide supply partnership with Axalta Coating Systems (a Carlyle Partners V portfolio company), a global provider of liquid and powder coatings in the automotive industry
The Carlyle Group purchased a UK based auto repair chain, Nationwide Accident Repair Services (NARS), in early 2015. The NARS network now stands at 124 sites following its most recent acquisition.

Carlyle may be skilled in reading which industries are ready to turn around, but I believe they steer business between affiliates to accelerate changes.

Carlyle got in and out of Landmark Aviation several times.  The PEU is in a position to steer affiliate private jet needs to Landmark during periods of Carlyle ownership and guide it elsewhere later should it suit.  Carlyle's most recent Landmark sale garnered over $2 billion.

Bloomberg missed Carlyle's first roundtrip on Landmark Aviation when it sold the company to Dubai Aerospace for $1.8 billion.  Carlyle had the connections to keep the deal on the down low between the Dubai Ports brouhaha and the NASDAQ-Bourse fiasco.

On the second Landmark sale Carlyle used someone with connections.  Ironically it's an attorney who likes to race cars.  I wonder if he got any free Axalta paint from the deal.

Update 8-16-16:  Carlyle announced a deal to buy mobile security company, NetMotion, which targets large enterprise customers.  Carlyle owns more than a handful of those.

Friday, August 12, 2016

PPACA Shortfall in Number of People Covered

Medicare's Chief Actuary predicted an additional 27.7 million people would have health insurance coverage in 2016 under PPACA, now widely referred to as Obamacare.  As of March 31 the number with coverage stood at 11.1 million, 16.6 million people less than projected.  That's 60% short of its target in PPACA's third year of exchange operation.

Advertising, or the lack thereof, is not the cause of people passing on coverage.  The United States' healthcare system is byzantine in its complexity and bizarrely expensive.  PPACA does nothing to address these faults.

It does shift the burden of coverage from employers to a tapped out Uncle Sam and the individual.  Notice the projected decline in workplace coverage for 1.5 million people.  It will be interesting to see the Census Bureau's projections on employer coverage in September.

Update 8-15-16:  Health exchange insurance policies are going up 24% for 2017.   Given its shortfall in coverage and failure to reign in healthcare costs PPACA is terminal. 

Update 9-25-19:  Employers shifted costs to employees via higher deductibles and increased co-pays.   PPACA has not helped make healthcare more affordable.  It has made a lot of money for the PEU boys. 

Update 4-3-22:   The average health insurance premium more than tripled for a family plan since PPACA passed in 2010.  Cost curve bent but in the wrong direction.  Concave went convex.  

Saturday, August 6, 2016

PPACA Creators Truly Shameless

Two founders of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Nancy Ann Deparle and Neera Tanden, served on healthcare panel at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.  Between them sat a major PPACA influencer ex-Senator Tom Daschle, now a non-lobbying lobbyist with Alston and Bird and private equity underwriter (PEU).

Nancy Ann reminisced about how everyone came together to "bend the cost curve."  She did not address their abject failure the last few years as health care costs exploded.  The panel talked about the current concern of affordability but acted like cost drivers had nothing to do with PPACA.  One of the six major areas in the bill included:

Provisions aimed in part at changing the trend in health spending growth
Here's the government's prediction for overall healthcare spending:

"... we estimate that overall national health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion (0.9 percent) during calendar years 2010-2019."
Failure to act on drivers of hypersonic healthcare cost increases means greed remains in charge.  Incentives and competition for a bigger piece of the pie clearly have not worked.  The groups that "gave so the public could save" included health insurers, big pharma, hospitals and healthcare providers.

Hospital giant HCA's stock went from $21 a share in 2012 to $75 on Friday.  KKR and Bain Capital's ownership of HCA from 2006 to 2011 added $15 billion in healthcare costs due to higher interest expense, the imposition of annual management fees and PEU owners borrowing to pay themselves over $4 billion in dividends.

Aetna went from $36 per share in 2012 to nearly $120 a share on Friday.  Oddly, Tom Daschle's former law firm added an Aetna attorney earlier this year to bolster their health regulatory practice.

Tom Daschle joined Baker Donelson in 2014, forming a public policy consulting arm called The Daschle Group.  Public Policy groups are as hard to keep up with as private equity underwriters.

The Fiscal Times recently featured Tom Daschle in a story on Accumen, a lab consulting firm helping hospitals cut lab costs,  Accumen is an affiliate of Accretive LLC, a private equity underwriter.  The story revealed Daschle to be a public policy advisor and lobbyist for Accumen. 

Lobbyists and PEUs are part of the big money cycle that makes our country not work for the average person.  PPACA is clearly part of that greed cycle.  The DNC panel and Daschle story reveal how PPACA's creators and profiteers are truly shameless.  In many cases they are one and the same.

Update 3-15-18:   Skyhigh healthcare costs differentiate the U.S. from the rest of the globe.  PPACA's cost curve bent in the wrong direction, acceleration.

Update 9-4-19:   Tanden is deep in the Democratic Presidential nomination, taking the side of Blue Corporacrats.

Update 9-25-19:  Employers shifted costs to employees via higher deductibles and increased co-pays.   PPACA has not helped make healthcare more affordable.  It has made a lot of money for the PEU boys. 

Update 2-19-21:  Nancy Ann Deparle had a banner payday after Consonance Capital sold Enclara Healthcare to Humana in 2020.  Enclara is "one of the nation's largest hospice and benefit management providers."  Yet, Humana intends to spin off Kindred Hospice as it prefers a partnership model for end of life care.

Friday, August 5, 2016

PPACA Doc is PEU with Venrock

WSJ ran an opinion piece from Dr. Kocher who helped create PPACA, widely known as Obamacare.  He stated:

In my White House days, we believed it would take three to five years for physicians to use electronic health records effectively. We were wrong about that too. At every opportunity, organized medicine has asked to delay and lower thresholds for tracking and reporting basic quality measures; yet they have no reason to delay.

In the ACOs run by Aledade, which advises small medical practices (I sit on its board), we have found that independent primary-care doctors are able to change their care models in weeks and rapidly learn how to use data to drive savings and quality. 
A more accurate disclosure would've said my employer has significant investments in Aledade and my compensation could be increased by my driving business to the company by this Wall Street Journal piece.

Venrock first invested in Aledade in 2014.  The press release stated Venrock was "originally established as the venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family in 1969."  Venrock was the Series A funder for Aledade according to Crunchbase.  The first investor has the greatest chance to land a larger equity stake.

Likely as a result of Venrock's investment Aledade got $30 million in Series B funding from ARCH Venture Partners in 2015.  Venrock added to their initial Aledade stake in the Series B deal.

Venrock has a $450 million fund specializing in the intersection of health care and technology

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

NYT Pushes PEU Dependence on Public

NYT's Bottom Line Nation published an odd series of slides praising the impact of private equity underwriters (PEU).  Readers are free to scroll through their slides in a search for actual substance.  I offer a historical perspective from a former major financial news reporter.

There are very few people out there who will talk and write honestly about private equity. I know from personal experience that the financial press is so eager to break news on "deals" that reporters (who are increasingly compensated on the number of "market moving stories" they write) can't afford to be critical of Carlyle, KKR and Blackstone, and risk losing access to people at those firms.

NYT's Slide 4 states "Private equity firms are essentially savvy bargain hunters. They make money by buying up businesses they consider to be underperforming, looking to maximize profits and eventually sell them off."

The "daily life" products shown in NYT's slides are made and used by people.
I have seen so many people -- particularly those in their 50s - 70s -- taken apart by what has happened in their industry as greed has hollowed out the economy. These are people took pride in their jobs and held themselves to this invisible standard that we all just took for granted, but is being wiped out.
Slide 5 in the private equity promo offered "These investors have lots of money at their disposal, mainly from rich individuals and pension funds. They also face fewer regulations than banks. Since the 2008 financial crisis, they’ve expanded their horizons and begun shopping for bargains in new places."

I can remember Bloomberg's private equity reporter - who you featured in a recent blog photo - going on TV to talk about the HCA dividend and calling it a "liquidity event." The reporters are trained by the PE firms' PR people to use language that they find acceptable. Wouldn't want to say they're "cashing out." I've never seen anything like it before. 
KKR added billions in new healthcare costs with its ownership of hospital giant HCA but that should not be a surprise given President Obama's health reformer Nancy Ann Deparle came from private equity.  To the private equity swamp she returned after her years of "public service."  This points to how private equity utilizes government to pave the way for their next round of profits.

The Carlyle Group scares me more than anything I've ever seen on Wall Street. It seems to exist to corrupt politicians and it's hard to know who they even represent.
I watched a video interview of (David) Rubenstein and his arrogance is really beyond tolerance. He was going on about the debt ceiling problem and how there would need to be cuts in services and higher taxes. When the reporter asked him about tax on carried interest he turned really disdainful and said that this "only" amounted to $22 billion over some number of years and this was not serious money. Boy, nothing like everybody doing their small part to save the country from oblivion!
Rubenstein saved private equity's preferred taxation, a feat recently recognized by Harvard University's investment arm.

NYT's piece on private equity ended in a puff of smoke, where PEU owned emergency responders have slower response times.  I'm sure the public feels better knowing profits outweigh their personal safety.

A different Bottom Line Nation story stated:

The amount the private equity industry spent on lobbying in 2015 was more than triple what it had spent a decade earlier, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. At the peak of the financial crisis, the figure was even higher. Political donations have increased nearly sixfold.
Remember:  Politicians Red and Blue love PEU!  If private equity is so integral to daily life NYT could be paving the way for the next bailout.

Note:  PEUReport houses ten years of stories showing the impact of private equity.  Feel free to search the site for issues important to you.  There might be actual information on private equity's impact, current or historical.

Carlyle Group PEUs Face Clawback for Riverstone Funds

WSJ reported:

Top executives at Riverstone Holdings LLC, one of the world’s largest energy investment firms, face the prospect of returning more than $300 million of profits they made from investments before the oil bust erased those gains, according to securities filings and people familiar with the matter.

The money is related to an incentive formula employed at private-equity firms in which executives earn a cut of profits above a certain threshold for each fund.

In Riverstone’s case, profits in some of its funds shriveled after U.S. oil prices plunged to below $27 a barrel earlier this year from more than $100 in mid-2014. That decline reduced the value of some companies owned by Riverstone, eliminating paper gains and could require some executives to return profits in a so-called clawback if the investments don’t regain value before the funds that hold them are liquidated.

David Leuschen and Pierre Lapeyre Jr., who founded Riverstone and remain its majority owners, are the primary recipients of its portion of deal profits, known as carried interest. Through a spokesman, Messrs. Leuschen and Lapeyre declined to comment.
Carlyle Group executives join Riverstone's founders in having skin in the game.

The firm initially teamed up with Carlyle Group LP, which helped the upstart raise money and handle back-office functions in exchange for a stake in Riverstone’s funds. That partnership lasted for several funds before Riverstone struck out on its own for a $7.7-billion fund it raised in 2013.

Carlyle said in a securities filing that as of June 30 it had set aside $76 million in gains it owes back to three funds it manages alongside Riverstone based on the investment pools’ present value.

Each of the three Riverstone funds that Carlyle says are subject to the clawback remained profitable for investors as of June 30 but have fallen below the minimum level of profitability that entitles the firms to a cut of the gains. They are the only of Carlyle’s 34 funds in clawback, company filings show.

When Carlyle reported second-quarter results last week, analysts asked executives why another of its funds, which had gained enough for the firm and its shareholders to start taking their cut, hadn’t started paying out. Carlyle’s executives said they wanted to ensure the profits were permanent lest they wind up having to return money.

“Investors aren’t happy with clawback,” said Carlyle co-CEO David Rubenstein, “but the professionals in our firm are even less happy when we have to claw back.”
So much for pay for performance.  Carlyle's PEU professionals might ask Uncle Sam to carry them until times get better, like the U.S. Treasury did for Carlyle's Boston Private via TARP.