Private Equity?

So much needs to change. The buying and selling of companies at absurd valuations has never made sense to me. The majority of us work for some type of company even if we created the company ourselves. The responsibility to pay salaries, create an opportunity for growth, and have healthcare falls directly on the shoulders of companies.

More than a couple of times I have been witness to private equity transactions that have destroyed the company, the brand and the lives of the employees. Taking over an oversized company and then scaling it back to be a productive profitable machine is never pretty. If only all CEO’s were more thoughtful about maintaining a well honed machine but during frothy times, it is easy to get fat.

Many of these companies took on massive debt to change hands and in order to pay down the debt and get profitable they slashed and burned. COVID-19 pushed them all off the edge.

Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Barneys, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, JCPenney, Lucky Brand, Dress Barn, Sears, Men’s Warehouse, Lord and Taylor…and who is next?

Keep in mind that one hedge fund bought a hospital in Pennsylvania and drove it into the ground. Another one just purchased the owners of a newspaper chain that has been in the family since 1857. They will be controlling the voice of media.

What is painful is the people. Getting a new job in downtimes is never easy. Right now it is almost impossible. Not only have many of these people lost their salaries they have also lost their healthcare.

We need to start thinking differently about the people. I totally get getting a company to profitability but what lays in the wake takes a toll on all of us. We need to be more conscious of how we build our companies. We have become only about money and not about the jobs. We have lost our path and in turn, created a truly ugly culture. Something has to change.