— Voiceover of new Barack Obama campaign ad
The Obama campaign apparently loves to ding former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with the charge of “outsourcing.” On several occasions, we have faulted the campaign for its claims, apparently to little avail.
Now, all of the claims have been combined in one 30-second ad, with the added incendiary charge that Romney was a “corporate raider.” Let’s look anew at this material.
The phrase “corporate raider” has a particular meaning in the world of finance. Here’s the definition on Investopedia:
“An investor who buys a large number of shares in a corporation whose assets appear to be undervalued. The large share purchase would give the corporate raider significant voting rights, which could then be used to push changes in the company’s leadership and management. This would increase share value and thus generate a massive return for the raider.”In other words, this is generally an adversarial stance, in which an investor sees an undervalued asset and forces management to spin off assets, take the company private or break it up.
In a previous life, The Fact Checker covered renowned corporate raiders such as Carl Icahn and his ilk. We also have closely studied Bain Capital and can find no examples that come close to this situation; its deals were done in close association with management. Indeed, Bain generally held onto its investments for four or five years, in contrast to the quick bust-em-ups of real corporate raiders. So calling Romney a “corporate raider” is a real stretch. (Continues)