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Buyout Fever

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We were just at a panel on buyouts moderated by Maria Bartiromo, featuring Clayton, Dubilier & Rice CEO Don Gogel, SilverLake's Glenn Hutchins and JANA Partners founder Barry Rosenstein. We'd have live blogged it, but ... oh, who are we kidding? (This is part of our very occasional effort to bring you information that's actually useful.)
Some highlights:
· Panelists were universally negative on SarbOx, which wasn't surprising. Carlyle CEO was quoted as saying that Sarbanes and Oxley should now be forced to sit on the audit committee as punishment and that companies are going public outside of the US just to avoid it. "23 of the 25 top IPOs this year occurred outside of the U.S. ... People who have a choice don't come here."
· The boom in private equity is largely attributable to increased debt available to capital markets due to low interest rates. (Seeing multiples of 6 - 7x cash flow.)
· When asked if they were interested in doing business in Russia or India, Hutchins said Russia was "not a place where I would do business" and that its "actions with respect to Yukos have been criminal." He wasn't inclined to do business in India because it's a "discovered market" and multiples were "mind-boggling." He also thought there was a labor market arbitrage problem. Rosenstein passed on Russia as well because there's "no protection of shareholders or corporate governance at all."
· When asked if they would prefer to have Clinton or Bush in the White House right now, all prefered Clinton, largely due to deficit concerns.