Critical Thinking Analysis
This tremendous ‘cash cow’ means of doing business has managed to both fly under the scope of the public radar until relatively recently as well as profit on weaknesses within the American corporate system, but Crook (2007) questions whether this means of doing business is sustainable into the future.Although the subject is broached later in the article, Crook does take the time necessary within his article to describe just what he means when he discusses private equity firms and how they are different from hedge funds or other such approaches. Under the private equity firm’s umbrella, struggling individual firms are bought out and placed under a hands-on, ruthless, and strictly disciplinarian form of management. By taking over such undervalued public companies, the private equity is able to significantly restructure those elements that aren’t operating at the greatest possible efficiency or reduce management structures to their lowest common denominator as a means of ‘turning’ the company. Once a fix of some sort has been established, whether it is more appropriately considered temporary or permanent is irrelevant, then the firm turns around and sells the company to the highest bidder, often taking a large portion of the profit out of the deal and leaving behind a company with reduced assets and increased debt. This increased debt on the balance sheet, Crook argues, is one of the key characteristics of these business deals. “If the firm does well, the owners’ returns, now teetering on a smaller base of capital, are much higher than they would have been without the new leverage” (Crook, 2007). Likewise, if the business does badly, it can be destroyed in the private equity process.According to Crook, it’s only been within the past two years that the industry has garnered public notice as the result of poor decisions made by some of the industry leaders. Crook supportshis ideas of the demise of private equity upon two key events that have occurred within the previous year.