If Clear Channel Were His Turf, What Would Tony Say?
April 4, 2008
The war of words being fought by the private equity sponsors and six banks over the financing of the Clear ChannelCommunications buyout got me to thinking about The Sopranos. You know, disputes over money owed and contracts being honored (or not), and then you have the drama.
Besides, turning real people into pretend TV people not only entertains but can often offer fresh perspective.
So, in this episode Tony Soprano is played by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners. And the bank group-Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and Wachovia-well, they owe Tony money, say, to fund an acquisition for the expansion of his "waste management" company. They, lets call them the "personal loan professionals," agreed back in November 2006 to fund the expansion, and Tony has got to have the cash in place by June.
But times have changed. And current economic conditions have wreaked havoc on the waste management industry. (Just between us-the housing crisis has diminished disposable strip club income, and there has been a sudden surge in new Native American gambling establishments, which have siphoned off a large number of Tony's clients.)
So the personal loan professionals (who've discovered they can reduce risk by selling large pieces of their loans to investors) want to renegotiate. ...
"Problem is, gentlemen, that a deal is a deal," Tony says. "You wanted this deal, you wanted the dough, you were practically beggin' for it. Now, you gotta pay."
"But we just want to renegotiate the terms some, Tony," the personal loan professional emissary says. "You've known us for years, you don't want us to lose the friggin' ranch on this thing, do ya?"
"We been renegotiatin' for months, and you been askin' for crap that ain't gonna fly, and you know it. You're tryin' to run down the clock. And I don't appreciate it. And not only that, I got some of my guys, they're gonna take care of this for me."
"Hey, Tony, there ain't no need to send your guys over. Seriously, our guys have been negotiatin'."
"You mean, pretendin' to negotiate."
"Fuggedaboudit, Tony, our guys have been callin' your guys, and your guys ain't been answerin'. We been callin' and friggin' callin'. And besides, Paulie broke Mikey's jaw so he couldn't negotiate anymore and said that if any of us came around again, he'd do the same to us."
"If you were serious, you'd propose something decent, you know, like, in good faith."
"Well you call Paulie off, and maybe we will."
Stay tuned, ladies and gentlemen.
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