Going Private – Definition

Cite this article as:"Going Private – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated October 6, 2019, last accessed October 26, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/going-private-definition/.


Going Private Definition

Going private refers to a financial or business transaction or a series of financial and business transactions that transforms a publicly-traded company into a private establishment. When such a transaction happens, or when a firm goes goes private, its shareholders would be unable to trade their shares in the open market as they did prior to the conversion. Going private transactions mostly occur when a publicly-traded company company seems to be faltering in its performances. Private equity companies in this case would rush in to purchase these declining firms, transform them into private entities, and then issue their stocks back in the open market when they believe that profits can be made.

A Little More on What is Going Private

A firm or establishment typically goes private when a conclusion has been reached by all its shareholders that there is no possibility of any future profit from operating as a public firm. Going private transactions can occur only by one of these two conditions. The first one is given as: a situation where the private shareholders of a firm decide to buy out the public shareholders of that firm so that it can fully become a private company. The second option for going private occurs when an external company or a single individual or an individual entity makes an offer to buy out all the shareholders of the firm by purchasing all or parts of the company’s stock. These transactions majorly pack up a substantial amount of debt. While going private transactions are done with the aim to remove a company from the public space, the main reason behind mobbing them to a private space is to restructure them and later on put them back into the public space after they’ve been better mobilized.

Going Private: What can a Firm do?

A firm can be acquired or taken private in a number of ways. The first and most popular method is by an absolute management buyout or simply an MBO. Here, the management of a firms would come together and combine resources to acquire all or a major part of the company. An MBO is like the direct opposite of a management buy-in, since the former is done as an inside job, while the later is done as an outside job.

Management buyouts like all other business buyout methods can have its pros and cons. The pros include but is not limited to better operation of the business since the management that is undertaking the acquisition already have prior experience on how to handle the firm. The cons include managers a psychological tasking experiment on managers since they’re shifting from managerial roles as employees to entrepreneurial roles as business owners.

Another method of buyouts is the leveraged buyout (LBO), and it is commonly used method in going private. In a leveraged buyout, the acquiring firm simply borrows a substantial amount of money to finance the target company’s acquisition. The assets of the target company are then used as collateral, thus making it less riskier than a management buyout. However, it should be noted that LBO is mostly used on larger corporations than smaller expensive ones since a huge number of assets would be needed to match collateral demanded from the loan.

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