Tue Oct 2, 2012, 04:48 PM
fleur-de-lisa (1,769 posts)
Mitt's Mattress Massacre
How Mitt Romney’s Bain “harvested” Sealy mattress company - Sealy was America's No. 1 mattress brand -- until Bain Capital got its hands on it; By Josh Kosman, Salon.com
At Wednesday night’s presidential debate Mitt Romney will no doubt brag about how, as head of Bain Capital, he built businesses.
On his website, Romney says, “In addition to Staples, Bain Capital went on to help launch or acquire Domino’s Pizza, Sealy, Brookstone, and The Sports Authority.”
However, as of last week he’d be unwise to cite Sealy, once America’s biggest mattress brand.
Relative upstart Tempur-Pedic agreed to buy Sealy this week for $2.20 a share, paying less than $250 million for its stock and assuming its $750 million debt.
Sealy executives told me this week that Tempur-Pedic, with its “memory foam” beds, is like the Starbucks of the bedding industry, and there was no stopping its rise. But that’s not the full story.
Mitt Romney’s Bain led a $791 million buyout of Sealy in 1997, putting $140 million down and, in typical private-equity fashion, having Sealy borrow the remaining $651 million to finance the deal and assume responsibility for paying it back.
Companies like Bain Capital call themselves private equity firms, but as I explained in my book “The Buyout of America” they really provide no equity. They make money by putting businesses at risk. They say they turn struggling businesses around. But Sealy was not a turnaround — it was the market leader in its sector.
Romney first tried to boost Sealy’s profits, so it could pay its debt, by acquiring one of Sealy’s biggest retail customers, Mattress Discounters. But MD expanded too quickly and went bankrupt.
Bain then pushed Sealy to design the no-flip, or one-sided, bed. To cut costs they eliminated the bottom cover, making the bottom simply a foundation. With two-sided beds, consumers can flip their mattress, like they rotate a tire, for longer wear, so getting rid of the bottom would shorten the life of the mattress.
But Bain was more interested in cutting costs and boost short-term profits than in providing value to consumers. For a while, it didn’t seem to matter. Bain and co-investors sold — “harvested,” if you like — Sealy in 2004 to fellow private equity firm KKR for $1.5 billion, pocketing $741 million for its $140 million investment
more at: http://www.salon.com/2012/10/02/how_mitt_romneys_bain_harvested_sealy_mattress_company/
9 replies, 1782 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Mitt's Mattress Massacre (Original post)
|central scrutinizer||Oct 2012||#2|
|Blue Owl||Oct 2012||#5|
Response to fleur-de-lisa (Original post)
Wed Oct 3, 2012, 01:32 AM
pdxDemocrat (37 posts)
8. What am I missing?
So . . . Bain put $140 million down on a $791 million buyout of Sealy in 1997 then sold Sealy to KKR in 2004 for $1.5 billion, pocketing $741 million. Who can fault Bain or Romney for that? If KKR thought it was worth $1.5 billion and paid it, kudos to Bain.
I'd rather go blind than see Romney as President. Bain and Romney shafted a lot of employees in plenty of deals by sucking out the resources and bankrupting the companies, but as I see the Sealy deal, they simply bought low and sold high.