Private equity firms buy undervalued or under-appreciated companies, impose short-term improvements and sell them for a fast profit. Some of the companies they’ve bought include Hertz, La Quinta, Dunkin Donuts, and Toys R Us. Josh Kosman, a private equity expert, says that the way the firms have been able to buy these businesses — through leveraged buyouts — means the majority of the money for the buyout has come from loans that the firms dump on the company they’re supposedly fixing. Now burdened with debt, many of those companies owned by private equity firms are in danger of defaulting. In a new book, Kosman writes that it’s likely half of the 3,188 American companies bought by private equity firms between 2000 and 2008 could collapse. His book is called The Buyout of America: How Private Equity Will Cause the Next Great Credit Crisis.
John Perzel, a Republican state representative from Northeast Philadelphia, was House Speaker for four years earlier this decade, and was one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania for longer. But last week, he was indicted, along with nine others, in the Harrisburg corruption scandal that’s come to be known as “Bonusgate.” Attorney General Tom Corbett, who’s controversially also running for the Republican nomination for the 2010 governors race, charged Perzel with allegedly masterminding a complicated scheme that took taxpayer money and spent it on software that was used for Republican campaigns. Perzell also allegedly directed automated “robo” calls against members of his own party who had defied his orders. Joining us on today’s Radio Times to discuss the scandal and the indictments are BEN WAXMAN, a writer for the “It’s Our Money” blog that’s a partnership between WHYY and the Philadelphia Daily News; and TIM POTTS, co-founder of the government reform nonprofit, Democracy Rising PA. And we’ll also be joined by Franklin & Marshall political scientist and pollster G. TERRY MADONNA, who will help us sort through the political ramifications in Harrisburg and the rest of the commonwealth.
Don’t have a cow, man: JOHN ORTVED has written “The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History,” and he’s here to talk about the behind-the-scenes story of one of the most successful shows in TV history. The book celebrates a show that started as 30-seconds of filler on the Tracey Ullman Show and now has contributed a word to the Oxford English Dictionary (“doh!” in 2001) and a “mercifully short dance craze” (“Do the Bartman”), among many other cultural contributions.
After the release of his debut album (Matinee) in 2007, Jack Penate was quickly dubbed one of Britain’s brightest young pop talents. Reaching No. 1 on the U.K. Indie Albums chart and No. 7 on the U.K. Albums chart, Matinee exhibited a remarkable sense of passion in its songwriting. On his sophomore album, Everything Is New, Penate exudes a refreshing sense of insight and experimentation. While the music has a gloomy undercurrent, each track is still fun and dance-floor-friendly, colorfully blending classic soul and pop with hints of Afrobeat.
[Video: Jack Penate – Tonight’s Today]