Enron Explained

In case you were wondering how Enron came into so much trouble, here is an explanation reputedly given by an Aggie professor to explain it in terms his students could understand:

Capitalism:

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

Enron Venture Capitalism:

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly traded company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

Repeat as necessary until you have $62 billion in assets, then declare bankruptcy.

Courtesy of Linda Blair

Larry Morningstar: mana7@opendoor.com

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