The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, Debtember 02, 2022

The vultures that are private equity firms

Adam Conover's video on private equity firms was interesting, but I would have liked a better explanation of how they make money from bankrupting the firms they buy (aside from the fees they apparently charge for their “services”). I would think that would be rather counter-productive over the longer term.

And yes, I have some experience with private equity firms. When I worked at The Corporation, we were initially bought out by a larger company (but were left along for years for … um … reasons), then that company was bought out by a private equity firm. It was then when we sold off access to some critical databases we used to a competitor and leased the data back from them, which I'm sure this bought in a ton of money for the private equity firm itself directly. Indirectly, it most likely shifted expenses around for tax advantages for the next few years (like shifting capital expenses to operating expenses or something like that—I'm not an accountant though) until our contract with our competitor expired in a few years and it would become Somebody Else's Problem to deal with (I think the hope of the private equity firm was that they would no longer own us by then). We also suffered hiring freezes because we “never had enough money to hire anyone” (odd, that, because we made millions per month from our customer, the Oligarchic Cell Phone Company).

Eventually, we did become Someone Else's Problem when we were sold to a much larger firm (which I don't think had any influence on the large push for Enterprise Agile—that's entirely the fault of the original company that bought out the Corporation), so at the very least, we avoided the “bankruptcy outcome.” But I can't say it was a pleasant experience at the time though.

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