What is LBO?

What is LBO?

LBO is the short form for Leverage buyout which means that the other company is acquired by borrowing large amount of money to meet the acquisition cost and the purpose of these buyouts is primarily make larger acquisitions without blocking a huge capital and providing assets of the acquiring and the acquired company for collaterals for loans.

It is basically acquiring a company with a small amount of equity (say 5-10% of the total cost) and using debt to fund the remaining (90-95%). This implies that the acquisition is made primarily using borrowed money, and with this high leverage,  the buyer (Private equity firmsPrivate Equity FirmsPrivate equity firms are investment managers who invest in many corporations' private equities using various strategies such as leveraged buyouts, growth capital, and venture capital. The top private equity firms include Apollo Global Management LLC, Blackstone Group LP, Carlyle Group, and KKR & Company LP.read more) hopes to earn a higher return on its investments.

The purpose of leveraged buyouts is to allow companies to make large acquisitions without having to commit a lot of capital.

How does LBO work?

In this section of what is LBO, we will try to understand how the LBO works using a simple example so that afterward, the LBO financing becomes clear.

Let’s say that you have a business. It’s a great business, and there’s no debt as of now, and it generates a pre-tax income of $1.5 million a year. And your net income is $1 million assuming that you’re paying a third of what you earn to Government.

What is LBO Example

We will now check whether this deal is profitable for Mr. B or not. After buying the business, if we assume that the firm still generates $1.5 million in pre-tax income, here’s how the calculation will go.

  • Even if the firm generates $1.5 million in pre-tax income, net income won’t be $1 million after paying $0.5 million taxes. Now, Mr. B needs to pay interest on the borrowed funds. He has borrowed $9 million at the rate of 10% per annum.
  • That means he needs to pay $900,000 as interest. That means, the company has the pre-tax income of ($1.5 million – $900,000) = $600,000. He will pay the same tax rate as the interest is tax-deductible.
  • He will get a net income of $400,000, assuming that he would pay one-third part of the pre-tax income as taxes.
  • Now, this $400,000 is pretty good income if we compare what Mr. B has put in. He has put in $1 million of his own money. That means if the net income remains similar for the next 3 years, he will get back his invested money and more.

In this example, Mr. B has taken the help of the bank. In big deals, usually, the company targets a competitor company and takes the help of a private equity firm. Private equity firm then goes out and puts in some of its own money and takes a loan from other financial institutionsFinancial InstitutionsFinancial institutions refer to those organizations which provide business services and products related to financial or monetary transactions to their clients. Some of these are banks, NBFCs, investment companies, brokerage firms, insurance companies and trust corporations. read more.

Summary of LBO

This section of what is LBO summarizes most of the important features of LBO.

ReturnsBetween 20%-30% generally
Exit Time Horizon3-5 years
Capital StructureA mixture of Debt (High) and Equity (low)
Debt PaymentBank debt is usually paid in 6-8 yrs. Higher yield debt is paid in 10-12 yrs.
EXIT MultiplesEBITDAEBITDAEBITDA refers to earnings of the business before deducting interest expense, tax expense, depreciation and amortization expenses, and is used to see the actual business earnings and performance-based only from the core operations of the business, as well as to compare the business's performance with that of its competitors.read more, PEThe price to earnings (PE) ratio measures the relative value of the corporate stocks, i.e., whether it is undervalued or overvalued. It is calculated as the proportion of the current price per share to the earnings per share. read moreThe price to earnings (PE) ratio measures the relative value of the corporate stocks, i.e., whether it is undervalued or overvalued. It is calculated as the proportion of the current price per share to the earnings per share. read moreEV/EBITDAEV/EBITDAEV to EBITDA is the ratio between enterprise value and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization that helps the investor in the valuation of the company at a very subtle level by allowing the investor to compare a specific company to the peer company in the industry as a whole, or other comparative industries.read more
Potential exitsSale, IPO, Recapitalization

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This article has been a guide to what is LBO? Here we explain LBO in a simple language along with examples. Here we also look at the features of Leveraged Buyouts in a table summary format. You may learn more about Investment Banking from the following articles –

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