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Hardcover The New Financial Capitalists : Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the Creation of Corporate Value Book

ISBN: 0521642604

ISBN13: 9780521642606

The New Financial Capitalists : Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and the Creation of Corporate Value

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Book Overview

A widespread misunderstanding concerning leveraged buyouts (LBOs) is the belief that they accomplish little but the ruin of companies and the loss of employment. How else could it be? Until recently, journalists, including much of the business press, have depicted LBO specialists as generally greedy, if not sinister, forces whose activities compound the dislocations of modern American economic and social life. This kind of criticism reached a crescendo...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Detailed Treatment of early KKR-led LBO Financing

This is an outstanding academic treatment of the investments made by KKR, all of which were some kind of leveraged buy-out. The authors focus their attention on the transactions themselves, not the way they were viewed by society or on the people that put them together - in this regard the book is a rare gem. It treats the period up to 1990 in some depth, with some very interesting case studies that show pretty good financial detail with outstanding qualitative descriptions of the transactions that were put together. As you walk through the various case studies, you are able to sit alongside with the KKR team and watch as the LBO goes from an unusual financial instrument to a mainstream product that is widely accepted in the marketplace. While growing acceptance of financial products is an established facet of Wall Street, to follow this evolution through the work of a single firm really is quite interesting. The manner in which the complexity, leverage and size of the transactions grow is laid out in plain English, making this a fascinating read.Only Chapter 5 "KKR as an Institutional Form" focused on the firm itself, and even this treatment was not nearly as obsequious as many other financial books (most notably "Goldman Sachs: the Culture of Success" by Endlich). Mr. Baker and Mr. Smith take a very level-headed approach and document the growth of the firm in a straight-forward manner, although they do inject a good deal of `positivity' to their view, i.e. the revolutionary introduction of Monday Morning Meeting's at KKR in the 1990's (this is commonplace at most banks).I particularly enjoyed the second chapter "Recasting the Role of Debt" which talks about some of the earlier transactions that KKR did in some depth. The description of their LBO of Houdaille is very much worth reading, if only for the fact that traditional `Old Economy' companies are again garnering such interest. Indeed, that is a very noteworthy aspect of the whole book, KKR focused on established companies with real cash flows. The one transaction which involved real growth financing was a near bust. This is very different than all of the financial maneuvering that has gone on over the past two years, and it is interesting to compare the sustainability of the two efforts (the many years of KKR's existence surely triumphs over venture capital's recent 15 minutes of fame). Chapter 4 on "When Risk Becomes Real" talks about some of the failed KKR transactions, EFB Trucking and Eaton Leonard in some detail. The reaction of KKR to these hiccups is very impressive, and while it is told with the same `positivity' of the authors as mentioned above, the authors still do a good job of telling the story in an objective manner. The efforts of the partners to maintaining KKR's reputation in the marketplace is nothing short of heroic, and while there was a clear financial incentive over the short term it is clear that the longer term reputation of the company also played a cl

One year later ...

I finished this book a year ago, and have referred to it numerous times since. That speaks volumes about both the authors and the subject matter. Chapter two (Recasting the Role of Debt) is by itself worth the price of admission. You will never again see corporate finance in the same light. The New Financial Capitalists is a wonderful addition to the financial layperson's library.

A must for any Private Equity Inverstor.

Very interesting and professionally written with significant technical aspects. Extremely useful to understand LBO's rationale and their key success factors.

Buy this book

Although the text is written in a nearly academic tone which sometimes gets boring it contains the wealth of factual informatiion not available anywhere else. Full of details on deal structuring.

Five stars definitely. You can't find a substitute.

If you are looking at what I have written, you must be considering buying this book. So I guess it's good for me to tell you what this book really is and where its strength lies. This book isn't a gossipy account of interesting people; it isn't (only) an account of what KKR did. It's certainly not a moral debate of whether Henry Kravis is a 'Barbarian'. My opinion is that this is a book which seriously attempts to tell us what leverage buyout really is; and the mentioning of KKR, its deals, its organizational strucuture etc, merely (in a sense) serve as illustrative examples. In other words, I think despite the fact that the authors have very meticulous account of things about KKR, they have something else in mind: the 'leverage buyout story' instead of 'the KKR story'. This is the main difference between this book and others belonging to the same topic. So if you are serious about learning something about leverage buyouts, read on.The choice of topics and the quality of exposition of the book is truly unmatched by practically any business books I have ever read. That's the main reason behind the five stars. The analysis throughout, especially the middle chapters, is not yet, but close to academic. But wait, before destroying the online sales of the book by using the word 'academic', I must add that the usual attachment of being boring is absolutely absent. It is so well-written and you'll learn so much from the book that chapter 2 alone (or chp 3 or 4) is worth more than the price.Finally, to give you more information, this is not a book of pathbreaking insights. But who cares? Every new business book claims itself to be a revolution: the 'everything you previously know about xxx is wrong' kind of slogan. In an age awashed with the chic of being new, Geroge Baker offers the rare gem of simply 'putting things into the right perspective'. You want to know somthing about buyouts? Here you are, crystal clear exposition, abundant historical background, good examples, careful documentation, serious analysis, and, well, maybe a little bit of gossip afterall.
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