Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1994 (Revised May 2002)

K-III: A Leveraged Build-Up

by George P. Baker III, Nicola Bamford and Nicolas Greenspan


Explores the strategy, financing, and governance of a new type of organizational form, dubbed the Leveraged Build-Up by its inventor, Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co. The company makes leveraged acquisitions of small publishing companies, managing them in a very decentralized way. It has grown dramatically between 1989 and 1993. K-III's organization and governance structure combines many of the characteristics of leveraged buyouts with those of venture-backed companies. Each individual operating company is highly leveraged, achieving the discipline of debt and avoidance of free cash flow problems that otherwise plague pubishing companies. At the same time, the top management mandate is to acquire companies, requiring continual infusions of cash. Explores the tension between the debt repayment obligations and the demand for additional financing.

Keywords: Debt Securities; Financial Management; Leveraged Buyouts; Cash Flow; Organizational Structure; Mergers and Acquisitions; Corporate Governance; Financial Strategy; Corporate Finance; Publishing Industry;


Baker, George P., III, Nicola Bamford, and Nicolas Greenspan. "K-III: A Leveraged Build-Up." Harvard Business School Case 295-067, November 1994. (Revised May 2002.)