What Is a Leveraged Buyout?

What Is a Leveraged Buyout?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A leveraged buyout is a financial strategy that a company uses to acquire another business. The acquiring company uses a combination of its equity and borrowed capital or debt, such as loans or bonds, to finance the purchase. The assets of the company being purchased often serve as collateral for the loans. This strategy allows a company to make large acquisitions without tying up a great deal of its own capital.

Related Questions

1. How is a leveraged buyout financed?

The financing of a leveraged buyout usually involves a combination of equity from the acquiring company and borrowed capital. The borrowed funds can come from bank loans, bonds, or other forms of debt. Often, the assets of the target company are used as collateral for these loans.

2. What are some advantages of a leveraged buyout?

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One advantage of a leveraged buyout is that it allows companies to make large acquisitions without using much of their own capital. This can potentially increase the return on investment for the acquiring company. Additionally, if the target company is undervalued or underperforming, the acquiring company may be able to increase its value and profitability after the acquisition.

3. What are the risks associated with a leveraged buyout?

The primary risk of a leveraged buyout is that the heavy reliance on borrowed capital can lead to significant financial stress for the acquiring company. If the combined company cannot generate enough revenue to meet its debt obligations, it may be forced into bankruptcy. This is particularly risky if the acquired company’s assets were used as collateral for the loans.

4. What is the role of a private equity firm in a leveraged buyout?

Private equity firms are often the ones who conduct leveraged buyouts. They purchase controlling stakes in companies using a mix of their own capital and borrowed funds, with the aim of eventually selling the company at a profit. The private equity firm will spend several years making changes to improve the target company’s profitability before selling it.

5. Can small businesses conduct a leveraged buyout?

Yes, smaller businesses can conduct a leveraged buyout. The process is essentially the same, although the scale is much smaller. A small business might use a leveraged buyout to acquire a competitor or to buy out a retirement-age owner, for example.