Dear Reader, –

I don’t get you people. First, you inundate me with questions about how to submit Deals of the Year award candidates. Then I give you the information necessary to apply, posting it in the publication, at the top of the news section on our Web site, and in a button ad on the right-hand side of the site. But despite your voracious inquiries, I’ve gotten little in return. Of course, we don’t need submissions in order to pick winners, but it certainly helps during the selection process (a month from now) to have all the information in front of you. I have to assume you missed the information we ran, so we’re running it again on page 37.

Speaking of interesting deals, Fenway Partners netted itself a huge return on the sale of mattress maker Simmons. Not surprisingly, the buyer was another private equity firm (Thomas H. Lee), furthering this year’s trend of sponsor-to-sponsor transactions. To find out more about this deal-and the high multiple TH Lee paid-check out Joe Christinat’s story on page 12. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other interesting deals in the works like Time Warner’s pending sale of its music group to a private equity consortium, KKR’s aquisition of the DiamlerChrysler MTU unit and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst’s buyout of U.K. breakfast cereal maker Weetabix Ltd., in a transaction valued at approximately GBP642 million ( $1.09 billion) in cash. These stories and a whole lot more can be found in Buyouts this issue.

On another note, I hope you’re benefiting from the improvements we’ve made in the last few months. We’re now providing snapshots’ that provide the key details in our deal stories, which allow you to find out information like who the advisor was, who financed the deal, etc. We’ve also started running a briefs section that covers every single buyout-related piece of information that we didn’t write a full story about. Perhaps most important, Buyouts is now providing daily updates via our Buyouts Wire, a compilation of news posted on our Web site each morning.

And starting in 2004, Buyouts will be emailing an Excel spreadsheet of our quarterly deal charts to any subscriber who provides his or her email address. (That way you won’t have to burden your associates or hire a temp to copy the information.) You’ll see the print version in our first issue of the year and receive the Excel file by the first week of February.

As always, we’re constantly looking at how we can improve the publication, so if you have more ideas on what we should be doing in 2004, please send them my way. Since this is my last editor’s letter of the year, let me say enjoy your holiday season and thanks for reading.


Danielle Fugazy