Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved
leveraged buyout (LBO)
The use of a target company's asset value to finance most or all of the debt incurred in acquiring the company. This strategy enables a takeover using little capital; however, it can result in considerably more risk to owners and creditors. See also hostile leveraged buyout
, reverse leveraged buyout
Case Study Leveraged buyouts (LBOs) became popular in the 1980s when firms such as Beatrice Companies, Swift, ARA Services, Levi Strauss, Jack Eckerd, and Denny's were acquired and then were taken private. With an LBO, a firm's management often borrows funds using the firm's assets as collateral. The borrowed money is used to purchase all the firm's outstanding stock. As a result, a small group of individuals is able to take control of the firm without using any or much of the group members' own money. Following the buyout the new owners frequently attempt to cut costs and sell assets in order to make the increased debt more manageable. Because the group initiating the LBO must pay a premium for the stock over the market price, an LBO nearly always benefits the stockholders of the firm to be acquired. However, investors holding bonds of the acquired company are likely to see their relative position deteriorate because of the increased debt taken on by the company. For example, the leveraged buyout of R. H. Macy & Co. produced a $16 jump in the price of its common stock at the same time the price of its debt securities fell. Most bondholders have no recourse to the increased risks they face because of the greater resultant debt.
Wall Street Words: An A to Z Guide to Investment Terms for Today's Investor by David L. Scott. Copyright © 2003 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. All rights reserved.
leveraged buyout (LBO) occurs when a group of investors using primarily borrowed money, often raised with high yield bonds or other types of debt, takes control of a company by acquiring a majority interest in its outstanding stock.
Leveraged buyouts, which are often, but not always, hostile takeovers, may be engineered by an outside corporation, a private equity firm, or an internal management team.