The First Leveraged Buyout

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the birth of a series of private equity and venture capital firms that would lay the foundations for the private equity industry that we have today. At the time, private equity deals primarily consisted of venture capital investments in early and mid-stage private companies but the first leveraged buyout transactions began with Lewis Cullman and Herb Weiner in what they called “bootstrap” operations. Orkin Exterminating had recently undergone a generational change as founder Otto Orkin ceded the company to his children in 1960, which they then took public in 1961, selling roughly 15% of the company in the public market at $24 per share (PrivCo incorporates both generational and leadership change tags on its private company profiles, allowing subscribers to search for companies that have recently undergone a relevant change).