Media Moves

BusinessWeek can't make up its mind

February 15, 2007

TheDeal.com executive editor Yvette Kantrow writes about the different takes recent BusinessWeek cover stories have taken in discussing private equity deals.

BusinessWeekKantrow wrote, “The glossy, which increasingly reads like it was thrown together by marketing types monitoring the most-­e-mailed story list, seems particularly confused about where it stands on buyouts these days. In its infamous October cover story, ‘Gluttons at the Gate,’ BusinessWeek all but declared private equity a criminal enterprise that laid too much debt on its companies, raped them for big dividends and charged ‘dubious’ fees to investors. ‘Some private equity firm executives are being investigated for outright fraud,’ the piece intoned, which is about as informative of a statement as some men beat their wives.

“Less than four months later, the magazine is singing a different tune. Its Feb. 12 cover story is nothing less than an ode to Carlyle, which it dubs the ‘biggest fund-raising juggernaut the private equity world has ever seen.’ Given its ‘glutton’ story, you would think BusinessWeek would see this as a bad thing. But everything about this piece is celebratory, from its cover line — ‘Carlyle Steps Into The Light’ — to its observation that the firm’s ‘feats might qualify [founder David] Rubenstein for Master of the Universe status, but his New York office certainly doesn’t announce it.’ Let the beatification process begin.

“Weirdly enough, the story, which is partly set up as an antidote to the drubbing Carlyle took in Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and must have members of the Carlyle PR team high-fiving each other in the hallways, carries the same byline, Emily Thornton, as the gluttons piece. And it’s not the only upbeat private equity story to grace that issue.”

Read more here.

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