I grew up in Southern Oregon, surrounded by Harry and David's pear fields (I actually walked past them on the way to grade school, although the ones nearest town have been turned into subdivisions or parks over the last 20 years).

I've never gotten the full story on this particular instance of Wall Street profiteering, but as I understand it, the more recent owners (the company is 100 years old) wanted to do a little "cashing out."  Unfortunately, they did it by selling to an equity company who apparently didn't really want to run the business.

As you can guess, this was pretty traumatic for the local industry.  While the decline of timber harvesting over the last 40 years has probably been the biggest impact, having a long-established pillar of the area go through bankruptcy wasn't particularly good, either, particularly when hundreds of millions of dollars of equity (and its cousin, capital) were extracted from the region.
This extract says it all:

... Wasserstein & Company [a private equity company like Romney's Bain Capital] bought the thriving mail-order fruit retailer Harry and David. The following year, Wasserstein and other investors took out more than a hundred million in dividends, paid for with borrowed money—covering their original investment plus a twenty-three per cent profit—and charged Harry and David millions in “management fees.” Last year, Harry and David defaulted on its debt and dumped its pension obligations. In other words, Wasserstein failed to improve the company’s performance, failed to meet its obligations to creditors, screwed its workers, and still made a profit. That’s not exactly how capitalism is supposed to work.

Read the whole thing for all the details. This zero-value-add profiteering is apparently widespread.
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