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11 definitions by Sorry, the good guys lost

 
1.
(BUSINESS) Wichita, Kansas-based conglomerate; pronounced "coke." A closely held corporation; owns Flint Hills Resources, a major refinery operator.

One of the most secretive business enterprises in the Western world. The financial press is not allowed to publish any financial statistics on the firm whatever (unlike, say, Bechtel or Fidelity Investments, whose financials appear in Hoovers listings). Basically, it converts oil wealth into political influene through a huge web of "foundations."

Koch Industries operates enormous oil refineries in Alaska, Minnesota, and Texas; owns 4000 miles of pipeline; Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra (fiber used to make Spandex).

Koch Family Foundations funnel immense amount of money to climate change denial groups, although they manage to remain secretive about that also. Both David and Charles Koch have assets easily in excess of $8 billion, and they are the largest political donors of the oil and gas industry. Mostly their "charitable foundations" promote far-right propaganda.
In the spring of 2010, University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation (formerly Citizens for a Sound Economy) and the Cato Institute are creations of the Koch Family Foundations.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 02, 2010
 
2.
A type of investment fund with very high fees for investors and a focus on complex financial derivatives. Hedge funds charge around 20% of returns (sometimes a lot more) plus a flat fee of typically 2%.

Originally hedge funds were based on the concept of risk hedging; high-yield investments are always riskier than low-yield ones, so a fund manager could presumably put all the money in one instrument with enormous risk and hope for the best. That is, to put it bluntly, insane. So the manager uses a strategy of hedging risk as cheaply as possible, such as a very elaborate combination of derivatives that rise in value if the main asset declines in value.

Hedge funds are organized to be very exclusive, requiring a very long commitment and limited membership. The managers are much more daring and will take much more aggressive risks than mutual funds.
The largest hedge fund company is JP MorganChase.

During the first decade of the '00's, hedge funds outperformed most other asset classes. But when they melt down, like LTCM in 1997, it can be a huge event.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 04, 2010
 
3.
(BUSINESS) when a corporate raider attempts to take control of a corporation against the will of the management. Takeover requires a leveraged buyout typically financed with junk bonds.

HOW IT WORKS
The corporate raider requires a takeover vehicle to launch a hostile takeover. The takeover vehicle is usually another corporation controlled by the raider, although in recent years ESOPs have been used (e.g., Tribune Corp., 2007). The vehicle buys up a lot of shares of the target company's stock on the market, then announces it wants to acquire a controlling interest.

Management opposes the takeover bid. It can (a) challenge the legality of the takeover, (b) adopt a charter that makes it hard for the takeover vehicle to run the company it's proposing to buy (a poison pill), (c) seek another buyer that is more favorable (a white knight), or (d) borrow a ton of money and buy so many shares that the stock price goes up.

The raider makes a tender offer for the shares he doesn't own. At a certain point, he may acquire sufficient control that he can legally challenge the target's management to step down.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG
The management can use (a) or (b) successfully, or it can use (e), viz., launch a hostile takeover bid of the target vehicle. The raider can lose of lot of money if a lot of shareholders have accepted his tender offer.
Prior to 1980, the hostile takeover was unknown; banks would never lend money for such a scheme. For one thing, the risks were ridiculous. For another, "success" would hurt way too many people.

Everything changed when Michael Milken revolutionized the junk bond market, allowing raiders to attempt deals that violated sound business judgment. The defeated company was compelled to pay for its own conquest.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 04, 2010
 
4.
LBO
(FINANCE) leveraged buy-out; when a takeover artist like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) arranges to borrow huge amounts of money at high interest, buy a controlling interest in a corporation, and then replace the management so its more profitable. The new profits then pay off the cost of buying the company.
Usually a takeover artist requires a vehicle corporation to carry out an LBO. For example, T. Boone Pickens used Mesa Petroleum against Union Oil in the 1980's.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 02, 2010
 
5.
(US LAW) tax-exempt nonprofit as defined under Treasury Code section 503(c)(4). Very similar to a 501(c)(3), but while a 501(c)(3) is more completely exempt from taxes, a 501(c)(4) has more leeway in what sorts of political activities it may engage in.

For example, a 501(c)(4) organization may explicitly endorse a ballot position or candidate, whereas a 501(c)(3) may not.
There are many examples of 501(c)(3) organizations paired with 501(c)(4) organizations. This arrangement is known as the "Sibling Option" and is used by the Koch Family Foundations for funding Tea Bag political associations.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 10, 2010
 
6.
(FINANCE) someone like Carl Icahn or Victor Posner; a manager of a PE fund or takeover vehicle (e.g., T. Boone Pickens with Mesa Petroleum) who organizes hostile takeovers of undervalued corporations.

WHY THEY'RE BAD
Corporate raiders insist they're looking out for the shareholder by forcing the managers to focus on increasing the value of the firm. If a company's share prices are high, it supposedly reflects well on the management of the firm; if the prices are low, the shareholders presumably would benefit from the takeover battle and subsequent change of management.

The flaw in this argument is (a) shareholders are not the only stakeholders in the corporation; workers, neighbors, and consumers also have interests that deserve protection; and (b), the impact of the corporate raider on FUTURE shareholders is inherently damaging over the long run because the targeted corporation's share prices are driven to a higher baseline anyway. After the takever battle between the raider and management, FUTURE buyers of the stock pay a higher price but are stuck with stagnant share prices because further increases don't make economic sense.

If the leveraged buyout succeeds, the company is saddled with debt in excess of its book value, which imposes an extreme burden; if it fails (greenmail), then company is still saddled with immense debt.
Usually a corporate raider makes his killing by risking (and mostly losing) the money of other people.

He usually quotes Ayn Rand bromides about his adversaries being moochers and wreckers, but he destroys the livelihood of thousands, and he makes his fortune through ambush.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 03, 2010
 
7.
(US LAW) nonprofit corporation; legal status permitted to certain types of organizations under Treasury Regulations section 501(c)(3) that exempts it from taxation.

The 501(c)(3) is quite easy to organize, especially if one wants to funnel money from donors to some form of activism. It was first made available in 1934 but has become extremely common since 1986 because successive rulings greatly loosened restrictions on electioneering for 501(c)(3) entities.

Often 501(c)(3) entities engaged in politics are affiliated with an almost-identical 501(c)(4) entity, which has EVEN WEAKER limitations on electioneering.
The 501(c)(3) clause in the IRS code is practically an invitation by the government to launder corporate profits into lobbying.
by Sorry, the good guys lost September 10, 2010