Monday, February 26, 2007

21st Century Capital and 19th Century Technology

Writing in the New York Times, Andrew Ross Sorkin describes how environmental concerns led to TXU's decision to drop plans for eight coal fired power plants as part of the largest leveraged buyout in history:
Early Monday, after several weeks of marathon negotiations that brought together both environmentalists and Wall Street bankers, TXU announced that its board of directors had approved the bid from Kohlberg Kravis and Texas Pacific for about $45 billion, which would be the largest buyout in history.
The deal was noteworthy not just for its size, but for the confluence of business decisions and environmental concerns that drove the ultimate transaction. Because private equity firms are unregulated and historically have valued their privacy, neither Kohlberg Kravis nor Texas Pacific were eager to become an "enemy combatant" of the environmental groups, people involved in the talks said. Reducing the coal plant initiative will also free up billions of dollars in planned spending that the firms will be able to use for other projects or to help finance the transaction.
It seems that in the 21st century, the smart money is losing interest in 19th century industrial technology.

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