The failure of Energy Future Holdings Corp., known as TXU Corp. when KKR & Co., TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquired it for $48 billion in 2007, and the stumbles of other huge deals of the past decade have reshaped how major buyout firms go about their trade.
The Dallas-based utility’s bankruptcy yesterday ended the biggest leveraged buyout on record and will wipe out most of the $8.3 billion of equity that investors led by three of the world’s largest private-equity firms sank into the company.
For years it was the fallout of the financial crisis, rather than a reconsideration of deal-making practices on the part of private-equity firms, that put a halt to the biggest deals. Debt financing for LBOs all but evaporated in 2008, when speculative-grade corporate loan issuance in the U.S. fell to $157 billion from a then-record $535 billion in 2007, according to S&P’s Capital IQ. It wasn’t until November 2011 that a corporate buyout once again topped $7 billion in size.