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Office supplier Staples. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sycamore Partners is prepping a $1 billion dividend recap for Staples, which would let it recoup around two-thirds of the equity used to buy the office supplies company 16 months ago.

Why it matters: Because this sort of myopic greed gives ammunition to private equity's critics.

  • For the uninitiated: Dividend recaps are a mechanism whereby private equity-owned companies issue new debt, and then hand proceeds over to the private equity firm (as opposed to using it to grow the business). Sometimes they don't matter too much. Sometimes they form leveraged anchors around a company's neck.

The bottom line: "The recapitalization and any [subsequent] IPO would be focused on the division of Staples that sells anything from pens to office chairs to large corporate clients, which Sycamore carved out of the chain’s retail operations at the time of the LBO. The transaction will increase Staples’ debt load to $5.325 billion from around $4.25 billion... equivalent to around 4.7 times adjusted EBITDA." — Davide Scigliuzzo & Eliza Ronalds-Hannon, Bloomberg.

Go deeper

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

U.S. Chamber decides against political ban for Capitol insurrection

A pedestrian passes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters as it undergoes renovation. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.