In this case, John Connaughton, a managing director at Bain Capital, had joined forces in October 2006 with Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL) to acquire Clear Channel Communications in a historic $28 billion leveraged buyout (LBO). The plan had looked solid, and the private equity consortium was ready to close the deal. But this plan turned out to be only the first act.
In late 2007 and early 2008, the banking group approached Connaughton more than once, asking to renegotiate the deal, characterizing its request as coming “hat in hand.” Then the banking group outright refused to fund the deal until new terms were met. Connaughton had invested a significant amount of his time and his company’s resources to bring this deal to the table, so he was not inclined to concede to the new demands without a fight...but he also knew that a failed deal would have tremendous consequences for his company and for THL. What should he do?