My Two Cents

$100 billion LBO?

Chris Farrell Apr 10, 2007

The Sunday Express, a British tabloid, reported the other day that a group of Middle east investors and U.S. private equity firms had combined forces to take Dow Chemical private. The price tag for the LBO? $50 billion.

Dow says it isn’t interested. And it appears there isn’t an offer on the table.

But here’s the thing: No one really blinked at a $50 billion deal. That’s double the $25 billion RJR/Nabisco LBO engineered by Kohlberg, Kravis, & Roberts in 1988. It tops the proposed $29 billion takeover credit card processor First Data–also by KKR.

Private equity firms like KKR have so much money that a $100 billion LBO isn’t out of the question.

But are guargantuan LBOs economically and financially viable. I don’t know. Wall Street always swings to excess, and there’s a whiff of mania in the air: Too much money and not enough sense.

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