TEXT OF INTERVIEW
STEVE CHIOTAKIS: It didn’t get a whole lot of play in the news last week, what with exploding natural gas lines and Cuba laying off half a million workers. But the advocacy group once known as the Private Equity Council, changed its name to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council. The consortium says it’s broadened its membership to include smaller, less-visible firms to help raise money for firms. Fortune Magazine’s Allan Sloan thinks there’s something a little more obvious going on. Good morning, Allan.
ALLAN SLOAN: Good morning, Steve.
CHIOTAKIS: Now what’s with all these names changes?
SLOAN: Well, growth capital sounds a lot like venture capital, and it sounds a lot better than private equity. In the debate that’s about to start in Washington about how to tax managers’ pieces, other investors profit.
CHIOTAKIS: And what do some people in Washington have to say about it?
SLOAN: Right now the managers’ piece of buyout profits is taxed at the very, very low capital gains rate. If the investment’s been held for more than a year — the debate going on now is how much to raise these rates — because this is really fee income, which has to be taxed fully, and the money raised by this is supposed to go to offset the cost to extending unemployment benefits.
CHIOTAKIS: Now, can’t the so-called buyout barons, can’t they argue, Allan, that they’ve added investments? They’re now more diverse and that the name change was warranted?
SLOAN: Well, I’m sure they could argue that, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
CHIOTAKIS: So in the long run, Allan, is changing their name and adding new members going to make that much of a difference?
SLOAN: Well you have to think of this as chicken soup, as a cure for disease you think you might have. It may not help, but what can it hurt. And besides, to mix my animal metaphors, why not try to put lipstick on your pig?
CHIOTAKIS: Surely you’re not saying Wall Street is one big trough. Are you Allan?
SLOAN: I would oink, but we’re not allowed to do that on public radio.
CHIOTAKIS: No, certainly not. Fortune Magazine’s Allan Sloan joining us from New York. Thanks.
SLOAN: You’re welcome, Steve.
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