Friday, February 21, 2014

Who Rules Cooper Union?--Part 10

WHO RULES COOPER UNION?—Part 10: A Look at Cooper Union’s Bristol-Myers Squibb and Vassar College-Yale University/Bain Capital Connections

(A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2013 issue of the Lower East Side underground/alternative newspaper, “The Shadow”)

Besides being Vassar College’s president, Cooper Union Trustee “Cappy” Hill also sits next to a Bain Capital founder and managing director who has focused on consumer and retail companies—Yale Investment Committee Member Joshua Bekenstein--on Yale University’s governing board: the Yale Corporation. As Yale University’s president-elect Peter Salovey told the "Yale News" on May 28, 2013:

“I am looking forward to working closely with Josh and Cappy. Both are…leaders with a deep love for this University. I am thrilled that they will join the Yale Corporation just as I begin my presidency.”

One reason Cooper Union Trustee “Cappy” Hill might have a deeper love for Yale University than for Cooper Union might be because the only U.S. university or college with an endowment whose market value exceeds the market value of Yale University’s endowment--$19.3 billiion-- is Harvard University. Given “non-profit” and tax-exempt Yale University’s apparent business relationship to Bain Capital and Cooper Union Trustee Hill’s colleague on the Yale Corporation board, Bain Capital Managing Director Josh Bekenstein, it’s not surprising that the market value of Yale University’s endowment has apparently been able to increase during the last 20 years. In a July 16, 2012 article, for example, "The Nation" magazine noted that Bain Capital (a private equity firm to which 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has also been connected to historically) “makes its money by buying functional US manufacturing and service firms and rendering them dysfunctional,” “guts American companies, ripping out whatever parts are profitable and then tossing the workers aside,” “forces cuts in wages, benefits and pensions,” “outsources work” and “offshores production—harming American workers and communities and undermining American industries…. “

And in a June 22, 2012 "New York Times" op-ed column, titled “Burger King, the Cash Cow,” Joe Nocera indicated how Bain Capital managers made a lot of money from collaborating with Goldman Sachs and TGP to purchase Burger King in 2002 and sell Burger King in 2010:

“In 2002, Goldman Sachs, along with two private equity firms, TGP and ... hmmm ... Bain Capital, teamed up to buy Burger King…. The private equity investors…cut themselves an incredibly sweet deal. Their $1.5 billion purchase price included only $210 million of their own money; the rest was borrowed. They immediately began taking out tens of millions of dollars in fees. Four years later, they took Burger King public. But, first, they rewarded themselves with a $448 million dividend. In all, according to "The Wall Street Journal", `the firms received $511 million in dividend, fees, expense reimbursements and interest’” — while still retaining a 76 percent stake….In 2010, Bain, Goldman and TPG cashed out, selling Burger King to 3G Capital, for $3.3 billion. In sum, the original private equity troika reaped a fortune by selling a company that was in nearly as much trouble as it had been when they first bought it….”
(end of part 10)

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