The end of cheap money in our monopoly-heavy economy is going to make things very weird. Big private equity shops could be in trouble.
You’ve really showered us with riches in this edition, Matt. Incredibly valuable reporting.
Best piece you have ever written. A MUST read. Everyone, pass it along.
Brilliant analysis on many levels Matt. As a real estate owner, builder and developer through out the 70’s, 80’s, my partner and I where old school. We only borrowed money from banks when needed to finance or develop an acquisition. We always penciled out a project to make sure we had a safe margin to cover any leverage. By the early 90’s, the deregulation of the banking system causing the Saving and Loan debacle almost wiped us out. The banks where free to give money to friendly developers and family. This over built the market and brought the projects we had to a standstill. Only though great effort, especially by my partner, were we able to recover. I was the deal maker and numbers guy, he was the road and home builder. We were offered many defaulted projects that we turned down. Following you analysis we could have acted like private equity and taken and leverage many of these bad projects the banks where stuck with. Problem was, even with non-recourse financing, it would have felt like stealing money. That was a time when your hand shake was as good as a contract. How times have changed!
There really are no more undervalued companies left to invest in.
Breaking up these monopolies is the best way to unleash the power of the economy and shift investment money away from the FTX/ WeWorks/ Ubers and toward competition that creates innovation.
Klobuchar and Lee using their leverage is a good sign that some sitting members will actually do their jobs. Perhaps others will take note. Great article Matt
Also, this continues to be crucial work against monopoly and concentrated power that perverts political power in the United States and extracts economic rent from the American population to the benefit of a few. It's heartening to see that the occasionally victory is actually possible, and winning begets winning. Thanks for your efforts Matt!
"Now, the app is warning users that they must pay as much as $36 a year if they want access to those cumbersome passwords on all their devices."
LOL. And that's why I never bought in to the whole, let's host our passwords in the cloud! Because surely that SaaS company isn't going to point a gun at you, ever. You can trust them!
I highly recommend KeePass and other software that reads/writes that format. I have MacPass on OS X and share it via Google Drive with my iPhone and KeePassium. Works great. Been doing this for a decade now.
I have worked in the industry for over a decade (none of the firms named above but close enough). When I was younger the economy was an abstraction to me, something that happened exogenous to my behaviour. As I age I can see the direct links between what we have done and what is happening now. But many of us are trapped, by our own vanity, and we probably need to be forced to change, no matter how painfully. Unfortunately I cannot see that happening. The FED will pivot, it will expand its balance sheet, which will be transferred almost immediately to the insiders described above, and a small amount will tricky down through spending on services and luxury goods. This will cause further societal ruptures, the cause of which CNN / CNBC / BB / MSNBC / Fox will misdiagnose as cultural. Young, smart people will continue to aspire to be the kind of insiders described above, because that is what our system rewards, at the expense of worthy, productive pursuits (true entrepreneurship, medicine, farming ANYTHING else). I'm sure of this because those in power now are almost all beneficiaries of these ponzi systems (in the case above, super senior management fees that layer the claims of investors), and so they're incentivised to keep them going at all cost. The pivot will be justified by some tortured statistic with no relationship to the real world, and then couched in new language that will obfuscate the simplicity of the scam. A few people like you and Taibbi will say something but nobody will care
"But MPT isn’t isolated, it is interconnected with funds that buy hospitals. As MPT loses its ability to get the cash to buy out private equity-owned hospitals, what happens to those private equity funds who rely on it? That’s where this gets more interesting. Hospitals, especially safety net hospitals, are just not good investments. Some things just can’t be profitable, like taking care of sick poor populations."
Heh. I think ProPublica or NYT had a story where a a PE owner of a hospital in VA actually takes advantage of huge drug discounts if you have such a hospital, but sets up outpatient clinics in rich neighborhoods in VA to write high margin prescriptions, pocketing the savings from serving a poor community on the drug costs. Nice scam, if you can run it.
Paying yourself rent, a trick used over and over-- educator-run charter schools succumbed long ago to that and other “control fraud” moves: https://lagacetanewspaper.com/charter-school-explosion-following-the-money-part-5-of-7/
It may be a trivial distinction but the startup/venture capital world has been a Ponzi scheme for decades.
Companies went public in the 90s with hardly any revenue, let alone profitability. The idea in theory is that companies spend profits and investment $s on growth. Remember webvan? IOW the story they tell is they *could* be profitable whenever they wanted to be.
There’s no pretending anymore. Many VCs pump up startup valuations just to prepare to flip them to retail investors. I don’t think VCs respond directly to Fed actions, but rather their LPs hoard $ when there’s a recession or threat of one, so funding “dries up.”
VCs love the “corrections” because the startups must become more lean and more dependent on investment dollars at a lower valuation. This is the startup game that founders have been convinced to play. The VCs don’t have to put their own in charge.
Unicorns: Fanciful beasts that self-described wizards convince peasants they can own for a fee.
Demosthenes would have his work cut out for him in 2023.
Excellent! Thank you, Matt! On a much smaller scale, we in Minnesota watched a bubble pop with Pipeline Foods, which went bankrupt in 2021. Same situation ~ as the “only organic grain trader in the country”, it was the golden child of our food space up to the very point of its insolvency. It turns out that it was just a private equity outfit, and that they’d been overstating the value of their assets until the debt financing ran dry; particularly to farmers, who simply lost their inventories when whatever value was left went to investors overseas.
Thankfully, they’re getting sued now; but the former CEO still goes around acting like a power broker. My last job was involved with him, and I highly suspect they were up to the same shenanigans. Here, if you build an enticing enough brand with a corporate responsible story behind it; there’s a chance General Mills will buy it from you. No worries if you screw all your stakeholders in the process~ the insiders will cash out the second the monolith buys you and your story of “food justice.”
Matt, you really delivered, out did yourself with this piece.
of course, I'm trying to talk myself back off the ledge after reading it, but there is that tiny amount of hopium to cling to.
oh, the tangled webs we weave....
Didn't know LastPass had been acquired by private equity. I was using it. Now I have to change all my passwords.
What we need is a service that lets us know when a business we use gets acquired by private equity, so we can leave. I would subscribe!
I need to go back and read, after reading commits here, wil save.
Thank you, Matt tho. for what you're doing and Others here