A Look At Dade International, One Of Romney's Most Controversial Deals At Bain

mitt romney bain capital

Photo: Bain Capital/Boston Globe

While Mitt Romney was at Bain Capital (from 1984 to 1999) he and his colleagues invested in over 150 companies according to Forbes.It’s a huge load, but now that his opponents in the Republican primary are attacking his career (and his claim that he created 100,000 jobs) we should take a look at one of the more controversial deals he made — purchasing Dade International, a medical technologies firm.

Romney fans say that, even though some people lost their jobs, he made a company on death’s door profitable again. His detectors say he bled it dry.

We’ll leave you to be the judge.


In 1994 Bain purchased Baxter International and renamed it Dade International.

Bain partnered with Goldman Sachs for the deal. The company was purchased for $442 million, but since it was leveraged, Bain put in less than $30 million. They also charged the Dade a little under $100 million in management fees.

Source: Forbes

The company was renamed Dade and expanded under Bain's direction.

In 1996 it acquired a chemicals division of Du Pont (for $525 million) and the diagnostics company Behring in 1997.

Source: LA Times

In 1995, Bain contemplated either selling Dade, or buy one of its competitors and expand it.

Selling would have meant a quick return on Bain's investment, but Romney wanted to keep the company and 'double down' on Dade.

Source: New York Times

Dade was super profitable from 1995 to 1998.

From Forbes:

Dade's annual sales rose from $614 million to $1.3 billion. Its assets grew from $551 million to $1.5 billion.

While running Dade, Romney was a very hands on manager, even making copies for himself.

From the New York Times:

He did not act like a big shot -- he bypassed his secretary to make photocopies himself and left the building to buy himself lunch. But his values prevailed: he insisted on cheap, spartan office decorations (the original desks contained no wood) and introduced fines for executives who arrived late to meetings (when he once had to pay a $20 penalty, he looked physically pained, a co-worker recalled).

Colleagues remember him as a heavily perspiring, deeply anxious presence for much of the first year, constantly worried that he might tarnish the good name of Bain & Company by fumbling at Bain Capital.

Bain wanted to sell Dade in 1999, but they couldn't find an offer they liked.

KKR offered $1.9 billion.

So Dade took out loans so that it could buy out half of its share holders. Bain got $242 million and Goldman Sachs $121 million. Top Dade executives were paid $55 million. The total payout to shareholders was $420 million.

Source: Forbes

Dade's workers were incredibly unhappy.

In 2002 Dade filed for bankruptcy, 1700 jobs had been lost in the U.S.

The company had simply incurred too much debt, about $1.5 billion of it.

From the LA Times:

'When I listen to Mitt Romney these days, he talks about creating jobs. My experience at Dade during those Bain Capital years was that it was strictly an investment, not to create jobs,' said Michael Rumbin, a vice president of technology management at Dade during the Bain years whose position was eliminated in 2000.

'No one came from Bain and said, 'How can we hire more people?' ' Rumbin said. 'It was, 'How do we turn our investment around and make a lot of money?' Which they did.'

Bain was forced to relinquish its stake in Dade in the bankruptcy.

Romney was charged with 'unjust enrichment.'

Source: Forbes

Meanwhile, as it was going through turmoil and cutting jobs in the U.S., Dade was hiring abroad.

Ultimately, in 2007 the company was sold to Siemens for $7 billion.

Overall, the companies workforce had grown to 7,400 workers.

Source: Forbes

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