Kevin Roose explains how growing scrutiny of the private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, which owns Bushmaster and several brands of firearms, has convinced them to get out of the gun business. Roose puts the surprising decision in perspective:
A private-equity worker once told me that his business was neither moral nor immoral. It was simply amoral. It made decisions about where to allocate capital based on financial returns, regardless of what the optics were or who stood to gain or lose.
Cerberus's decision to exit the gun business is different. It's proof of the power of pressure, applied from both investors and the general public. And it shows that today, whether in anticipation of a PR backlash or simply a moral awakening, one private-equity firm has decided it can't turn a blind eye to the outcome of its investments any longer.