Leveraged Buyout (LBO)

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Definition of 'Leveraged Buyout (LBO)'

A leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction in which a private equity firm acquires a company using a significant amount of debt. The debt is typically secured by the assets of the acquired company. The goal of an LBO is to increase the value of the company and then sell it for a profit.

There are several reasons why private equity firms use LBOs. First, LBOs can be used to acquire companies that are too expensive for a single investor to buy outright. Second, LBOs can be used to take a company private, which can give the private equity firm more control over the company's operations. Third, LBOs can be used to finance a company's growth or expansion.

The process of an LBO typically begins with a private equity firm identifying a target company. The private equity firm will then conduct due diligence on the target company to assess its financial health and potential for growth. If the private equity firm is satisfied with the target company, it will submit a bid to acquire the company.

If the target company's board of directors accepts the bid, the private equity firm will borrow money from a bank or other lender to finance the acquisition. The debt used to finance the acquisition is secured by the assets of the target company. The private equity firm will then take control of the target company and begin to implement its business plan.

The success of an LBO depends on a number of factors, including the financial health of the target company, the terms of the debt financing, and the private equity firm's ability to manage the target company. If the target company is unable to meet its debt obligations, the private equity firm may be forced to sell the company at a loss.

LBOs have become increasingly popular in recent years. In 2018, private equity firms completed over $300 billion worth of LBOs. However, LBOs have also been criticized for their potential to increase risk and volatility in the financial system.

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