Buyout Binge

Fears about a Wall Street fad

Wall Street can be as slavish in following a financial trend as clothing designers are in copying fashion changes. This year's financial fad is the leveraged buyout. In these deals, the group of investors buying a company puts up the firm's assets as collateral. Since the loans needed for a leveraged buyout are thus backed by the company itself, there can be big profits for the investors, who often put up very little of their own cash. In one of the most celebrated leveraged buyouts, former Treasury Secretary...

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