The Caesar’s Palace Coup

I recently read a very entertaining and somewhat dense book by Journalists Frumes and Indap. It told the story of a massive battle among the titans of Wall Street. It was a billionaire battle between storied Private Equity firms Texas Pacific Group (TPG) & Apollo versus equally tough Hedge Funds like Elliot, Oaktree & Appaloosa with over billions of dollars at risk. A bruising & complex battle that spanned executive board rooms, court rooms & the halls of DC aided and abetted by a multitude of white shoe law firms and investment banks.

Basically TPG & Apollo ended up doing a Leveraged Buyout (LBO) of Harrah’s gambling empire and ended up overweighing them with debt to goose their returns. With the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, a declining business burdened by overwhelming debt and many employee layoffs later, things get tricky when some hedge funds start to take the other side of the bet.

No one comes out looking good. To me it shows the economic battles happening around us and at levels far above us. And an African saying comes to mind “When Elephants Fight, the Grass gets trampled.”

That is literally what happened, the employees being the grass. With many of them losing their jobs and their retirement plans as a result of these machinations. Yet so many of us are ignorant of what is going on around us with technology trends on one side and globalization on the other. But ignorance is no excuse. Not in this day and age.

Growing up in Asian immigrant academic family was great for me in many ways. I gained a drive/hunger, a good work ethic & willingness to do the grunt work which has served me incredibly well. At the same time, on the negative side, I also inherited an unhealthy distrust of business, investing & sales along with the middle class scarcity mindset. The last few things I have had to unlearn over the last 2 decades, and something I am still working on.

You have to take personal responsibility for rectifying this ignorance or else you will be bracketed and regularly caught off guard by all these changes in the world. Basically, learning the bigger picture of where the world is going and how business and government actually works.

David Bailey said “The Best advice I ever got was Knowledge is Power and to keep reading.”

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Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything!