Buyout Firms Endanger Children

No, that’s not a new SEIU campaign or British newspaper headline. It’s simply what’s happening, albeit VERY indirectly.

Earlier today, PE-backed Dunkin’ Brands announced a voluntarily recall of one million pink and orange glowsticks, which had been distributed as part of a promotion. This comes less than 24 hours after PE-backed Dollar General Stores recalled more than half a million toys, due to excessive lead. Hope none of these GPs ever hope to run for public office…

The Dunkin’ glowstick recall was caused by the absence of warning lables, as it seems young children could choke on the glowstick caps and lanyards. No actual choking had occured (insert NY Mets joke here), although it’s likely that some adult heart conditions were exacerbated by the 25/50 donut hole boxes that one had to buy in order to obtain said glowsticks. Dunkin’ Brands is owned by Bain Capital, The Carlyle Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

The Dollar General recall is broader, covering such items as Baby Einstein color blocks, Winnie the Pooh bookmarks and keychains with words like “truth” and “believe” engraved on them. Seems the discount chain was getting its chachkas made in China (shocking!), but is now switching to a domestic manufacturer.

KKR led a buyout of Dollar General earlier this year, with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Citigroup Private Equity also participating.