Things have been a little quiet here, mainly on account of the thesis. After writing all day I just don’t have much energy to write in the evening. Next week the teaching starts again. It might keep being quiet for a while, or I might change the way I use this site. Or it might not – at other points when I’ve been writing hard at uni I’ve also felt like writing about completely different stuff once home. Who can predict when the mysterious blog gods distribute their energies?
But I also want to alert those of you who are not so well-versed in Scandalum Magnatum trivia to a post from last June, when I mentioned a research presentation I had seen on work by Sue Newberry, Sandra van der Laan and Deborah Brennan on the most peculiar financial structure of Eddy Groves’ ABC Learning childcare corporation:
The really interesting stuff is in the valuation of its assets. ABC doesn’t own the physical property of most of its childcare centres, instead leasing them off a related property trust. ABC itself values its total assets at $2.3 billion. Only $600 million of that is in physical assets. The rest, $1.7 billion, is in intangibles, mostly put down to its centres’ childcare licences. Now, childcare licenses are not exactly assets that can be bought and sold on their own, and they aren’t that expensive to obtain.
Now ABC shares hit rock bottom, on revelations of poor earnings and a stunning pile of debt, and Groves is forced to sell his own shares (and some mansions) to pay back money he borrowed against them. Although it looks like private equity is coming to the rescue (Morgan Stanley is issuing debt to pay ABC’s), it’s all pretty ignominious. Nice spotting Newberry et al.