…PRIVATE EQUITY PROTEST 2

Meanwhile, Yorkshire-based climate campaigners decamped to the London office of mid-market GP Bridgepoint to make clear their objection to any expansion of Leeds-Bradford airport, which Bridgepoint acquired for £146 million (€214 million; $297 million) in May this year.

A report on independent news website Indymedia by someone known as “mini mouse” described how, having entered Bridgepoint's premises, “three banners were unfurled in the windows, the outside of which were liberally covered with flyers explaining the occupation”.

The report continued: “Workers arriving for the day were offered Yorkshire puddings and engaged in conversation, explaining the science of climate change and reasoning why Leeds airport – and all the others – shouldn't be expanded”.

Bridgepoint spokesman James Murray gamely ventured down to reception, where he was presented with a white rose (the Yorkshire emblem) and Yorkshire pudding. The protesters asked whether Bridgepoint would sell the airport and turn it into an eco-park. It was explained that this exit was not part of the investment thesis.

According to the report, a “souvenir snap” was taken before the protestors peacefully vacated the building. “To his credit,” the report concluded, “director Murray took his pudding upstairs with him”.

QUOTABLE
“We are going to be in subprime, it is a valid business. There is nothing wrong with lending subprime, what is wrong is doing it recklessly.”

Turnaround king Wilbur Ross reveals his next big investment idea in an interview with the Financial Times.

“I think we may be able to buy the debt in these companies and get a higher return than [we would have on] the underlying equity”.

Blackstone president Tony James, speaking to analysts during the firm's debut quarterly earnings call, on buying the debt of companies that were auctioned to competing private equity groups.

“When you have an industry that does as well as the equity-funding industry has done in recent years, politicians will always find an excuse for why they should pick their pockets and take more of their money. If Steve Schwarzman weren't around, they would have invented him.”

Steve Forbes, editor in chief of Forbes Magazine, in an interview with foreignpolicy.com, warning that higher taxes on private equity managers will weaken the US economy.

“Large funds have far too much staff. They have teams of 30 people doing one deal – most never do anything, it only needs five people. There's a morale issue; what are you going to pass your days doing? We've been out recruiting for the last year, and we've seen people from large funds: they've got a good Harvard degree, been at a large fund four or five years. We call them ‘deal virgins’. They're highly paid people who've never done anything – and they know it.”

Jon Moulton, the irrepressible head of UK buyout firm Alchemy Partners, holds forth on over-staffing at LBO funds in an interview with The Business, the London-based business magazine.