Vulture Investors Using Coronavirus Carnage to Wipe Out Small Business

Private equity firms are reportedly using the Chinese coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to cheaply buy up businesses, which will have a crippling impact on America’s small business owners.

While small and medium-sized businesses struggle to stay afloat in the midst of the coronavirus crisis — awaiting aid from the federal government — reports indicate that private equity firms on Wall Street “have been waiting” for economic devastation to capitalize on those hardships.

CNBC reports:

The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down entire sectors of the economy and putting millions of Americans out of work, but one corner of Wall Street may find opportunity amid the carnage: private equity. [Emphasis added]

The group, which includes investment giants Blackstone, Carlyle and KKR, has a record $1.5 trillion in cash ready to deploy and has been actively seeking deals across the struggling travel, entertainment and energy industries, according to a half-dozen investment bankers who declined to be identified to speak candidly about potential clients. [Emphasis added]

“They have been waiting for this type of market dislocation,” the head of mergers at a major Wall Street firm told CNBC. “I don’t think they wanted something quite this bad, but they did want a pullback in valuation.” [Emphasis added]

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Rohit Chopra has blasted the predatory practices currently being used to further devastate American small businesses and monopolize economic power.

“Small business in America is facing extinction,” Chopra wrote on Twitter. “COVID19 has put them in peril. But it’s the predatory fallout that could wipe them out for good.”

“Small businesses shouldn’t go extinct,” Chopra wrote. “We need to preserve them by throwing them a lifeline to stay afloat and by policing against shameless shakedowns during our national emergency.”

Chopra detailed three impending “existential threats” to small business amid the coronavirus crisis, noting how multinational corporations like Amazon are using the pandemic to further devastate smaller and medium-sized sellers:

1. Loan sharks are crippling cash-strapped companies. Their poison pill loans come with exorbitant rates, draconian terms, and an automatic green light to collect whatever they can when a company falls short.

— Rohit Chopra (@chopraftc) March 24, 2020

3. Vulture investors, especially in private equity, are waiting in the wings to scoop up scores of struggling businesses on the cheap through “roll-up” deals. They can then extract cash by saddling companies with debt and kicking workers to the curb.

— Rohit Chopra (@chopraftc) March 24, 2020

Chopra said “lawyers running lawsuit mills are suing small businesses to extract cash” and that small businesses are “now under siege,” suggesting immediate federal action to stop the predatory deals.

Small businesses need help now to stop lenders and their lawyers from exploiting this emergency and kicking small businesses while they’re down.

–> We need a moratorium on these sham collection actions.
–> We need to crack down on abusive, take-it-or-leave-it contract terms.

— Rohit Chopra (@chopraftc) March 19, 2020

While restaurants, local retail shops, movie theaters, and other small to medium-sized American businesses have been forced to close their doors, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard has warned of a 30 percent unemployment rate during the year’s second quarter.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.

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