Through Aristotelian Lenses, Potential Reforms of the Leveraged Buyout Model

Business and Professional Ethics Journal 42 (3):401-435 (2023)
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The overall objectives of this article are to help the reader see and understand through Aristotelian lenses: (1) positive and negative aspects of the Leveraged Buyout (LBO) business model; and, (2) how LBO practices can be reformed so as to retain positives and reduce negatives. Aristotelian lenses considered are: wealth acquisition through wealth expansion, wealth creation, and wealth transfers; distributive and corrective justice; and, a dialectic analytic process of retaining positives, reducing negatives, and reforming. Key net positive wealth expansion aspects of the model are discussed with respect to: profitability for the owners, managers, and investors of LBO firms; potential productivity improvements on the cost and revenue sides; and, potentially greater credit availability. Negative wealth transfer and destruction aspects with respect to: a relatively high rate of bankruptcies in some countries and in economic downturns; LBO firm gains without responsibility for losses; wealth transfers from employees, creditors, ordinary vs “carried interest” taxpayers; and, damaged wealth expansion and creation capabilities of acquired organizations are discussed. Potential reforms that could reduce negatives, retain positives, and reform the model are discussed.



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