In 1984, Mitt Romney left management consulting firm Bain & Company to co-found the spinoff private-equity investment firm, Bain Capital. For the next 15 years, Romney presided over Bain Capital’s operations, which shifted focus over time from venture capitalism to leveraged buyouts. Mitt Romney profited $20K for every American laid off via Bain Capital.
Make no mistake about it — Bain Capital’s purpose was to make money for its investors, and it did so hand over fist. From its 1986 success investing in what was then a small office supply store called Staples (Romney fondly recalls stocking store shelves himself) until Romney left in 1999, Bain made billions. Along the way, it purchased at least five companies that subsequently ended up in bankruptcy even as Bain walked away with eye-popping profits:
• American Pad & Paper: Bain invested $5 million in the small paper company in 1992, and reportedly collected $100 million in dividends on that investment. AMPAD went bankrupt in 2000, laying off 385 employees.
• Dade Behring: Bain Capital invested $415 million in a leveraged buyout in 1994, borrowed an additional $421 million, and ultimately walked away with $1.78 billion. Dade filed for bankruptcy in 2002, and 2,000 workers lost their jobs.
• DDI Corporation: Bain Capital reportedly invested $46.3 million in 1997, reaping $85.5 million in profits and an additional $10 million in management fees. When the company later went bankrupt, 2,100 workers were laid off.
• GS International: In a somewhat less profitable transaction, Bain Capital invested $60 million in 1993 and received $65 million in dividends. This company, too, went bankrupt in 2002, and 750 workers lost their jobs.
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• Stage Stores: Bain invested $5 million to purchase the company and took it public in the mid-’90s, reaping $100 million from stock offerings. Stage filed for bankruptcy in 2000, and 5,795 workers reportedly were laid off.
Romney himself profited handsomely from his time running Bain Capital. Although the exact details of his personal finances are not available, news reports estimate his net worth at somewhere between $190 and $250 million, much of it derived from his Bain Capital days. Very rough math might suggest that Romney made as much as $20,000 per job lost.
In fairness to Romney, however, Bain Capital purchased more than 115 companies during his tenure, and Staples wasn’t its only success. The Romney campaign points to household-name companies like Domino’s Pizza and Sports Authority to support its claim that Bain Capital actually created approximately 120,000 jobs during the Romney era. But that number may also be misleading: Job creation at successful companies is usually more attributable to dedicated management than to investors or consultants.
Romney’s job as head of Bain Capital was to make a handsome return for investors. His goal would have been to maximize efficiency and profits, not to ensure that people with steady jobs got to keep them. Consequently, although jobs were created, it’s not clear how much of the credit should go to Bain and Romney.
By Lauren Bloom for AOL Finance
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