May 26, 2017

Payless investigates its own buyout backers

Bankrupt footwear retailer Payless said in a court filing that it is investigating possible claims against private equity firms Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital Partners, which acquired the Kansas-based company back in 2012. At issue is more than $350 million worth of fees and dividends that the two firms reportedly received from Payless, which may have contributed to the company's unsustainable debt-load.

Why it matters: If Payless were to prove some sort of sponsor liability related to dividend recaps, it would send a chill through a private equity industry that uses such techniques to juice returns (often without enough regard for the possible consequences).

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