Friday, March 17, 2006

Whatever Floats Your Boat

hot or not Sub Rosa Associate: "Someone told me that they were looking at IMDB and that in American Psycho all the women on the set turned up out of the woodwork to watch Christian Bale do the shower scene."
Equity Private: "The most memorable image I have of him is running through the hallway bloody and naked except for white sneakers."
-long pause-
Equity Private: "The most memorable non-sexual image..."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Don't Cross the Debt Bitch

that is lana turner Laura, "The Debt Bitch" and I have been working overtime to get a deal financed.  I am supposed to be preparing things for the soon-to-be-here interns but instead I have had to delegate all that work to an associate who is now annoyed to be tasked with an internal project.

The Debt Bitch likes her martinis.  I can't say I disagree but I really can't do them at lunch like she can.  "If it is good enough for the heart-attack prone attorneys, it is good enough for me," she quips back at me when I ask after her lunchtime orders.

After a day and a half of solid meetings in the city we are sitting at a bar around 1:30 and she orders a vodka martini.  Ironically, within ten minutes of arriving she spies some young bankers doing pretty much the same thing.  I would be embarrassed to be caught sipping hard liquor on my weekday lunch hour if I were a banker in the city, but they seem to have no shame.  The scene is right out of a mid-1980s finance movie.

The Debt Bitch recognizes one of the bankers and we drift over, drinks in hand (mine is a water) to do the banking-social thing.  Things are pleasant enough and the Debt Bitch introduces me as "my Vice President," which is odd, and a thrill at the same time.  She says she has a deal for them to look at and we should all discuss it the next day.  Schedules are traded, gossip exchanged, all is well.

But things turn sour as soon as we turn to go.  I catch a snippet of not-quite whispered conversation as what I assume is an Associate banker describes me to what I assume is a Vice President in the most suggestive terms you can imagine and in a fashion that calls into question the professional nature of my relationship with Sub Rosa's Senior Partner, Armin.  I am prepared to ignore it, though I can feel my neck stiffen.

Since she was two paces in front of me I suspect the Debt Bitch's hearing is more acute than my own.  Her reaction is also more severe.  She turns around without hesitation, takes two steps towards the offending banker and unloads her entire martini (minus two sips) into his face without even cracking an expression.  The entire section is silent and at least ten people are staring.  Laura then pauses long enough to gingerly place her glass on their table before leaning forward and wordlessly delivering the best slap I have ever seen (or heard) outside of a Hollywood production to the left cheek of the already stunned Associate.

"Your firm won't see a dime of our debt needs from here on out," she deadpans to the Vice President before turning on her heel and collecting me towards our table with a "C'mon, let's go."

Not having learned the obvious lesson I hear one of the other junior bankers intone, "Woah.  She's hot."  If Laura hears this as we depart she ignores it, instead sitting down and ordering another martini, which our server, ironically, makes a point of buying for her with a wry smile on his face.  For the next ten minutes, the eyes of the entire place shift between us and the banker's table, that has now been joined by a more senior looking, and quite unhappy, banking type.

"Wow," I say.  "Thanks."
"Oh, you were only part of the equation.  The guy sitting with them now, I saw him walking in right before I tossed the vodka.  That is the VP's boss.  He knows Armin quite well and I am sure he remembers me.  I'll get an apologetic call in a few days and it will be good for some reduced covenants and maybe a half a percent one day."

Just then our server returns with two more martinis, I suppose one is for me, and points to a table across the bar.  "From the gentlemen at the table there."  They, 40somethings, nod their distant approval to Laura.

Don't cross the debt bitch.

Monday, June 19, 2006

You Can Pick Your Friends, You Can Pick The Deals...

lex luthor? ...but you can't pick the friends of the deal.  We're in the midst of a larger-than-usual deal for us and we have, therefore, latched on to another firm with whom we intend to co-invest.  The problem with co-investors is that you have to deal with co-investors who may or may not have similar ideas about how to approach winning the deal.  They may or may not want control of the deal.  They may or may not want control of the company.  They also may or may not be complete assholes.

My "counter-part" on the collaboration to buy a company that makes, let us just say, complex polyvinyl chloride pipe fittings, is a young man I will call "Phil."  Phil seems like a nice enough guy when you meet him.  Educated in the West (not Stanford, don't worry) and generally polite.  But beneath that calm exterior lurks a dark vein of bitterness, studied manipulation and jealousy.  A insidious and ugly nastiness that, contrasted from Armin's own reality distortion field that bends time and space in his immediate presence and even opens wormholes into a parallel universe where everything always works out perfectly, overwhelms even the brightest, most wise and powerful forces of good.  This makes him ideally suited to be a professional in a buyout fund.  Other than this small "absolute evil" thing, he's really not a bad guy.  Maybe he's just not my type.

Early on when staking out strategy to approach the deal with we had a 6 person conference call with 3 from Sub Rosa, including Armin and me, and 3 from "Phil is an Associate Here, LLC."  That went spinningly.  Then, Phil came into Sub Rosa's offices.  Mind you, this takes place in Sub Rosa's offices- Phil is a guest.

1.  Sub Rosa Offices - Boardroom
Elegant but functional offices punctuated by a variety of antique pieces of furniture and decor that to the trained eye will be revealed as overly valuable for their purposes, specifically, the day-to-day operations of Sub Rosa, LLC, a mid-size leveraged buyout firm.  Present are:

Equity Private, Vice President, Sub Rosa, LLC
Craig, Summer Associate, Sub Rosa, LLC

Enter from Double Doors: Phil, Associate, "Phil is an Associate Here, LLC."

Phil: "Ok, let's get moving."  To Equity Private: "Hey, can you get me a cup of coffee, honey?"
Equity Private (stunned): "Excuse me?"
Phil:  "You heard me.  Black, sugar."

The tension in the room is thick.  15 seconds of silence while Equity Private and Phil lock eyes.

Craig: "I'll get it."

Oh, dear readers, that was just the beginning....

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