The First Boom and Bust Cycle ‘82-’92

Corporate takeovers grew to become an important facet of American business in the 1970s and 1980s as hostile takeovers and LBOs made the transition from small target firms to large and well-known public companies with the use of significant debt portions. In 1982, former Secretary of Treasury William Simon’s Wesray Corporation bought Gibson Greetings, which was then a subsidiary of RCA, via leveraged buyout. The $80.6 million deal ($58 million in equity and $22.6 million in assumed debt. Within 18 months, Wesray Corporation exited on its investment with Gibson Greetings’ $330 million public offering in which Simon saw a personal return on investment of nearly $66 million. A take private LBO transaction where the target firm is later taken public again is known as a reverse leveraged buyout (reverse LBO).