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May 2, 2013

Cerberus Capital or "Freedom Group"?

We as Americans have no clue about who really runs our country and strives to run the world, although we have heard terms such as "banksters" and "narco-bankers" tossed around flippantly both left and right for years. Recently, however, those of us who know how to look for clues were rewarded with enormous insight into who these people REALLY are.

By NATASHA SINGER, November 26, 2011,  The New York Times 
In recent years, many top-selling brands — including the 195-year-old Remington Arms, as well as Bushmaster Firearms and DPMS [Panther Arms], leading makers of military-style semi- automatics — have quietly passed into the hands of a single private company.
It is called the Freedom Group — and it is the most powerful and mysterious force in the American commercial gun industry today. Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Even within gun circles, the Freedom Group is something of an enigma.
The Enigma Revealed

I repeat for emphasis: 
"The most powerful and mysterious force in the American commercial gun industry today."
Cerberus Capital was investment bank manager [or private equity firm] which controlled "Freedom" Group. The men and women who worked there announced that they did not really own the weapons manufacturing companies; they merely used other people's money to set up the monopoly, and were not really to blame for the murders that resulted:
NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- We were shocked [shocked!] and deeply saddened by the events that took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012. We cannot comprehend the losses suffered by the families and friends of those killed by the unthinkable crimes committed that day. No words or actions can lessen the enormity of this event or make a dent in the pain that was inflicted on so many.

In 2006 affiliates of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. made a financial investment in Freedom Group.  Freedom Group does not sell weapons or ammunition directly to consumers, through gun shows or otherwise. Sales are made only to federally licensed firearms dealers and distributors in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. We do not believe that Freedom Group or any single company or individual can prevent senseless violence or the illegal use or procurement of firearms and ammunition. 

It is apparent that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level. The debate essentially focuses on the balance between public safety and the scope of the Constitutional rights under the Second Amendment. As a Firm, we are investors, not statesmen or policy makers. Our role is to make investments on behalf of our clients who are comprised of the pension plans of firemen, teachers, policemen and other municipal workers and unions, endowments, and other institutions and individuals. It is not our role to take positions, or attempt to shape or influence the gun control policy debate. That is the job of our federal and state legislators.

There are, however, actions that we as a firm can take. Accordingly, we have determined to immediately engage in a formal process to sell our investment in Freedom Group. We will retain a financial advisor to design and execute a process to sell our interests in Freedom Group, and we will then return that capital to our investors. We believe that this decision allows us to meet our obligations to the investors whose interests we are entrusted to protect without being drawn into the national debate that is more properly pursued by those with the formal charter and public responsibility to do so.
In other words, like Pontius Pilate -- who silently watched while Roman soldiers nailed Jesus Christ to his cross, these men and women of private equity tried to wash the taint of the Freedom Group off their bloody hands. But, interestingly enough, they maintained  the logo of the vicious three-headed dog, Cerberus, intact. 
Down, boy

Perhaps, if we go back just a few years earlier, we can learn something about how Cerberus originally garnered the trust of these so-called innocent pensioners--the investors who have no say in how their pension portfolios are structured.

Our next post will begin  with Remington Arms, the gun manufacturer where Samuel F. Pryor was president before his death in 1934. Watch for it.