Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2014 (Revised October 2014)

ISS A/S: The Buyout

by Clayton Rose, Carsten Bienz and Lucy White


Provides the opportunity to value a leveraged buy-out; and to examine the nature and extent of a company's responsibilities to its bondholders. Here, the context is a "going private" transaction in Europe, where the financing plan called for the addition to the company's balance sheet of a significant amount of new debt and a reshaping of the capital structure. While leveraged buyouts had been used in Europe for several years, this was likely the first LBO done with a company that had publicly traded investment grade debt outstanding. The increased debt from the deal would increase the risk to the company and to the existing bonds, and the bonds' prices would fall significantly as a result. Students can use discounted cash flow techniques to value the LBO. They can then consider the wisdom of undertaking the LBO at the offered price, and work out a sensible debt schedule for the company. Students must also evaluate the effect of the transaction on the existing bonds, and understand the principles governing contractual duties (and how they differ from fiduciary obligations) towards bondholders (accounting for a business and social culture outside the United States) in order to determine the best course of action for the private equity buyers.

Keywords: LBO; private equity; contracts; global business; international business; Finance; Ethics; Law; Service Industry; Europe;


Rose, Clayton, Carsten Bienz, and Lucy White. "ISS A/S: The Buyout." Harvard Business School Case 214-027, February 2014. (Revised October 2014.)