George Soros, Veteran Vulture Capitalist

by Patrick Brennan

George Soros is of course a name well-known to conservatives: He’s a philanthropist for a wide range of leftist causes and civil-society foundations, and bankroller of the campaign to defeat President Bush in 2004. His political activities are less prominent these days, but it’s heartening to know that the Left’s sugar daddy is still reaping profits with methods liberals usually deplore. From Bloomberg:

ADT Corp. (ADT) authorized a $2 billion share repurchase program and initiated a quarterly dividend after investors George Soros and hedge-fund manager Keith Meister called on the home-security company to buy back stock.

The quarterly dividend will amount to 12.5 cents a share, payable Dec. 18 to shareholders of record on Dec. 10, the Boca Raton, Florida-based company said in a statement today. The buyback will end in November 2015.

In October, billionaire Soros joined Meister in urging ADT to buy back about 45 percent of its stock with borrowed money to take advantage of low interest rates. At the time, they were the biggest investors in the company following its spinoff from Tyco International Ltd. (TYC) in September.

A stock buyback is a financial maneuver in which private-equity firms or investors like Soros have the company they control take on debt to purchase the shares they own, allowing them to book a profit and disburse returns to investors; the fact that Mitt Romney’s firm Bain Capital did this at times was a source of no little scandal in the 2012 presidential campaign. And that’s not the only convenient tu quoque here:

ADT forecast a cash tax rate of 3 percent to 4 percent in 2013, down from 5 percent a year earlier, as the company applies a loss carry-forward balance. From 2014 to 2019, the expected cash tax rate is 5 percent to 8 percent before rising to 25 percent to 30 percent in 2021 to 2022, the company said in an earnings slide presentation on its website.

Three to 4 percent? That tax rate makes Mitt Romney look like a villein.

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