That was Thompson's description of Edmund Muskie when he encountered the presidential candidate at a New Hampshire men's room urinal the day after Muskie had exploded his campaign by crying in the snow outside of William Loeb's Manchester headquarters. I didn't see a picture of Laureate Education's CEO Douglas Becker after yesterdays's IPO, but I'm guessing he can relate.
Laureate Education, the for-profit school infamous for paying Bill Clinton $16.5 million in exchange for a $55 million State Department contract and other favors, went public yesterday, with poor results.
The for-profit firm’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) of stock to potential investors was put on the market Wednesday by KKR and other leveraged buyout owners in the hope of reducing a crushing $4 billion debt.
But even before the company was to go public as a NASDAQ traded firm, it was clear the stock price would not command the owner’s projected $17 to $20 price target. Late Tuesday before Wednesday’s opening, the market priced the Laureate IPO at $14, about 15% below Laureate’s estimates.
The Laureate IPO went nowhere during the day, went as low at $12.46 and closed at $13.25.
“There was no appetite for this stock. It looked ugly today,” Lon Juricic told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group (TheDCNF). Juricic is founder and president of StreetInsider.
“There’s just a lot of questions about the company. The private owners, they’re liquidating it. Investors don’t like it’s [sic] big debt. They weren’t biting,” Juricic said. But “people don’t like these deals.”
Laureate operates 71 educational institutions in 25 countries with a heavy presence in Latin America.
The Clintons were not far from the minds of Wall Street observers, either.
Laureate’s relationship with the Clintons began in 2010, when it paid the former president $16.5 million as its “honorary chancellor” for five years. Baltimore-based Laureate — led by chairman and CEO Douglas Becker — also donated up to an additional $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.
And during Hillary Clinton’s tenure, the Department of State’s U.S. Agency for International Development awarded $55 million to the International Youth Foundation (IYF), which is linked to Laureate and is chaired by Becker.
The issue of Laureate’s Clinton ties came to a head in a July 15, 2016, letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen by 64 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, saying such relationships create “an appearance that millions of dollars in taxpayer money was channeled to IYF by Secretary Clinton’s State Department as a kickback for her husband’s generous contract as an honorary Laureate chancellor.”
Koskinen informed the congressmen on July 22, 2016, that he referred the matter to the federal tax agency’s Exempt Operations Program, which regulates charities.
While Laureate did disclose the $16.5 million payment to Bill Clinton in its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), TheDCNF reported Tuesday that company officials said nothing about either the IRS referral or congressional concerns. The SEC requires firms planning IPOs to disclose all potential “risk factors” to investors.
Donald Dion, attorney-owner and chief investment officer of DRD Investments, told The DCNF the IRS review omission was a “big problem” and described the IPO’s performance Wednesday as “a complete disaster.”
The IPO probably seemed like a good idea back last fall, when we all knew who'd be running the White House and guaranteeing profitable revenue streams for Friends of Bill.