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The High Cost Of Sarbanes-Oxley

The High Cost Of Sarbanes-Oxley

by Toby Lucich on April 18, 2007

Markets: Investors are taking companies private at a record pace. On Monday, it was Sallie Mae, the mammoth school-loan company, in a $25 billion deal. Do private equity firms know something the rest of us don’t?

It sure seems so to us. Make no mistake about it: Sallie Mae is big, and dominant in its industry. More than a quarter of all college loans made in America have been made by Sallie Mae.

Sallie Mae’s business relies on a unique symbiosis with the U.S. government. Since about 85% of its $142 billion debt portfolio is guaranteed by Uncle Sam, it’s what economists call a “government-sponsored enterprise.”

That said, Sallie Mae is just another company in a highly regulated industry that’s going private. The last one to announce was Texas gas giant TXU Corp., in February. Maybe it’s a sign that the recent surge in regulation of public companies has gone too far.

The High Cost Of Sarbanes-Oxley

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