Bain Capital LLC, the private equity firm co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, defended its business model in a letter to clients amid political attacks against the industry.
Companies backed by Bain over the past 28 years have increased revenue by more than $105 billion, creating “hundreds of thousands of jobs” in the process, the Boston-based firm said yesterday in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. Fewer than 5 percent of those companies have filed for bankruptcy while under Bain’s control, the firm said.
“This sharply politicized issue attracts enormous attention and lends itself to misleading anecdotes and cherry-picking of the record, but there should be no doubt that $105 billion of revenue growth is an economic engine with widespread benefits,” the firm said.
Opponents of Romney have portrayed Bain and other buyout managers as corporate looters who enrich themselves at the expense of ordinary workers. The attacks are hurting the industry at a time when many firms are seeking to raise new funds. A Bloomberg National Poll published yesterday shows 52 percent of Americans think the private equity industry is “mostly bad” for the U.S. economy.
In the same poll, 64 percent of Republican respondents said they think Romney’s background in the industry makes him better prepared to create jobs than his rivals.
‘No Public Position’
“While we have a great deal of respect across our partnership for all those who pursue public service, including President Obama and Governor Romney, we are not a political organization and take no public position on any candidate,” Bain said.
Alex Stanton, a spokesman for Bain Capital, declined to comment on the letter.
The debate over private equity practices may affect large managers as they compete for a shrinking pool of dollars and some investors, such as public pension funds, express concern about the buyout industry’s image. Bain late last year started gauging investor interest for a new buyout fund, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information wasn’t public.
Bain’s private equity funds generated $4.1 billion in “realizations” last year, with more than half of the proceeds coming from stock sales, the firm said in the letter. Bain committed $3.6 billion to nine new investments.
“We are optimistic about liquidity and investment prospects in 2012, particularly given the positive backdrop of the capital markets during the first two months of this year,” Bain said in the letter.