How Leveraged Buyout Works

What is a Leveraged Buyout?

A leveraged buyout represents a strategy that companies use to acquire other companies using debt as the primary source of finance. Leveraged buyouts may also include using the acquired company’s assets as collateral to finance the transaction. Sometimes, however, companies may also use their own assets to obtain the debt for leveraged buyouts.

Leveraged buyouts can be a hit or a miss for companies. Usually, it involves undertaking a significant amount of risk to finance these buyouts. Similarly, the acquiring company relies on the acquired company’s performance to repay the loan. Therefore, any problems within this plan can cause issues for the acquiring company.

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How do Leveraged Buyouts work?

Leverage buyouts start when a company wants to buy out another company. As with any other transactions, they will need to finance the acquisitions. With leveraged buyouts, these funds come through debt rather than the acquiring company’s equity. Therefore, companies may use a significant amount of debt to finance the transaction.

Usually, leveraged buyouts involve a 90% ratio of debt while the rest comes from the acquiring company’s equity. The acquiring company may issue bonds to acquire this debt. Due to the risk involved, however, the bond will be high-return rather than investment-grade. Leveraged buyouts usually include using aggressive tactics to acquire another company.

Leveraged buyouts can occur through a company’s current management or employees. Similarly, private equity firms may also participate in it. There may be several reasons for leveraged buyouts. These may include transferring private property, taking a public company private, or spinning-off a portion of an existing company and sell it. Similarly, companies may use leveraged buyouts to acquire a competitor and improve underperforming companies.

Which companies are more prone to Leveraged Buyouts?

Some companies are more prone to leveraged buyouts compared to others. These include companies that are in a mature industry. Similarly, companies that have stable and predictable earnings are better candidates for this purpose. It is because the acquiring company takes high risks on the acquisition. Therefore, having stability can help in repaying debts later.

Similarly, companies with a strong team of personnel and involved in cost-cutting measures are prime candidates for leveraged buyouts. Acquiring companies also prefer target companies that have a clean balance sheet with minimal debt. Some other factors may also play a role in deciding whether companies will choose a target company for leveraged buyouts.

What are the advantages of Leveraged Buyouts?

Leveraged buyouts are advantageous to the acquiring companies. Through leverage, companies can finance acquisitions without having the equity necessary to do so. It also provides them with an opportunity to earn a higher return on investment. For some companies, acquiring underperforming companies and turning around can also yield significant returns.

Leveraged buyouts can also be advantageous for sellers. The primary advantage is that sellers can dispose of their companies during their peak performance periods. This way, they can earn the maximum amount of money. Similarly, companies that are on the verge of failure or in a bad market position can also benefit from leveraged buyouts.


A leveraged buyout is the process of financing acquisitions primarily through debt. For the acquiring companies, it presents a significant amount of risk that they undertake to acquire finance. Leveraged buyouts can happen for several reasons. These can have various advantages for both the buyer and the seller, as mentioned above.

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