Political Intelligence

Mitt Romney’s old firm, Bain Capital, breathes sigh of relief that campaign is over

Bain Capital’s founder didn’t win the presidential election this week, but in a letter to investors Thursday the firm seemed to breathe a sigh of relief that the campaign—and the scrutiny—was over.

The Boston investment firm thanked investors for their “support and patience” over the past year, hinting at the barrage of news stories and political ads targeting Bain. “The political hyperbole and distortion that accompanies modern politics, while disappointing, did not change our longstanding, differentiated approach to investing for growth,’’ the letter said.

Bain’s managing directors said they knew when Romney joined the race that, even though he’d left the firm permanently a decade earlier, his business record would be a campaign topic. Members of the firm made a conscious decision “not to engage in debates with either campaign,’’ they said. They chose to correct the record at times but refused “to be drawn into the give-and-take of the political season.”

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Bain’s partners were among Romney’s largest campaign donors. A few were major supporters of President Obama. But the firm sought in the letter to distance itself from politics, saying, “We started the election season as a nonpartisan company, and we remain so today.”

Bain invests in multi-billion-dollar buyout deals and venture capital on behalf of clients that include pension funds, foundations, and endowments. As the firm seeks to raise its 11th private equity fund, it’s clearly eager to move beyond the controversial political headlines of the past many months, and to assure clients it’s back to business as usual.

It’s unclear whether a Romney presidency would have driven new business to Bain Capital—perhaps in the form of more dollars from overseas—or if it would have kept the spotlight on a firm that prefers to operate quietly.

If there’s disappointment over their former boss’s loss, Bain didn’t betray it: “All of us congratulate each candidate for a hard-fought campaign,’’ the letter said.

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