Commentary - 07/26/2006

The End-Game: Private Equity

"If that 1980’s deal came to define an era — as depicted in the book “Barbarians at the Gate’’ — and helped usher in the modern private-equity industry, the deal yesterday crowns private equity’s ascension to the top of finance: the “barbarians’’ now rule the deal world."

Quote from the recent newspaper article:
HCA Buyout Highlights Era of Going Private
New York Times - Published: July 25, 2006

Well, as if you needed any more proof of how the Money Kings [oops, I meant "barbarians"] intend to fulfill their mission statement in our lifetime. What mission statement? Only to "own the earth in fee simple."

And just who are the "barbarians?" They are the real owners, behind the scenes, of the private equity firms listed in the above article. No need for me to re-list them here and be sued, or worse.

Tell you what, just look at ANY large company presently acquiring another large company. For example, look at the venerable Hewlett-Packard[1]. Go here and then click on "major holders". See who the major holders are in those companies? Right at the top is Dodge & Cox, Inc., a private firm that values their "independence." Founded in the throes of the 30's depression. Which begs the question, "With who's funds?" Quiet, third generation company. Uh huh. By the way, if you "google" "Dodge & Cox Inc", you'll get a partial list of companies in which they're listed as "Major Holders." But the question is, for whom are they "major holders?"

Next, you'll see State Street Corporation, AXA, and Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd. But wait, go here and again click on "Major Holders." And you'll see AXA and Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd. again. And at the top of the list, another firm that values their "independence," Wellington Management. It is interesting that they too began just before the 1929 crash. Seems like a lot of folks got their start around the 1929 crash. Hmmmm, might this old 1889 book just be correct.

You see the patterns? You have to remember that to control any large organization, you only need 10% or so. Usually you won't see that much for any one holder. That's because the Money Kings work through agents to cover their trails. Here you can see how they did it in the past.

Amazing, huh!

The point is, control of American companies is rapidly being consolidated into a few foreign hands, and they are also doing so at "frantic" pace. Damn any of the promises that had been made earlier, such as retirement benefits, health care and pensions. You can bet the "psychopaths with attaches" [see Snakes in Suits] are not going to let one more penny leave their fingers than they are forced.

[1] This is not an attack on HP. I have the highest regards for the company and their products, of which I have used with much satisfaction. It just makes me sad that it too has become just one more big "plantation" under foreign ownership. I don't use that word loosely. If you click on the word, you'll see that "Later, plantations were more overtly entrepreneurial: European investors funded colonists in the expectation of good returns." Same today. Need I say more?

© 2006 by Edward Ulysses Cate

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