Merchants of Debt: Kkr and the Mortgaging of American Business

George Anders, Author Basic Books $23 (328p) ISBN 978-0-465-04522-8
This inside look from a Wall Street Journal reporter at massive leveraged-buyout operations of the Manhattan-based Kohlberg Kravis Roberts financial partnership during the 1980s is beautifully organized and written in immediate and lively prose. Anders explains how KKR, with incredible audacity, borrowed billions in cash from investment bankers, pension plans, college endowments and even their takeover targets' willing management to buy and saddle with heavy deductible debut such giant corporations as Safeway, Beatrice, Duracell and RJR Nabisco. After quick and ruthless efficiency measures were imposed on the corporations to enhance earnings and pay off the debt, assets were then resold, yielding millions of dollars in fees and profits. The game collapsed with the 1990 onset of recession, and the author here reveals how KKR leadership survived while other financiers went under or to jail. First serial to Wall Street Journal. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1992
Release date: 05/01/1992
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-465-04523-5
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