Mark Cuban: If big companies get bailouts, taxpayers should get something in return

May 7, 2020, 7:23 AM | Updated: 10:21 am
Mark Cuban...
Mark Cuban. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban joined KIRO Nights Wednesday to offer a measured take on what taxpayers should demand when bailing out the country’s failing large corporations.

KIRO NIGHTS: Maybe three weeks ago or so when we’re in the upswing of the pandemic there was a lot of talk about government bailouts for various industries. We know the airlines were looking at bailouts. We know that Boeing was offered one but turned it down. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Mark Cuban: Sure. I mean, look, if we’re using taxpayer money, you should get something in return. There’s an interest in keeping our biggest companies that employ a number of people going and supporting them with loans. But on the flip side, you know, there’s a (private) market for that and it’s been around for a long, long time.

Like any investor, whether you’re the U.S. government, or me, or whoever, you want the appropriate return for your investment. I didn’t think that the taxpayers, historically, had been well represented when we’d loan money to companies for bailouts. So what I said was in exchange for that money — using Boeing as an example —  the taxpayers should get shares of stock in exchange, and potentially even preferred shares of stock, which pays a dividend to shareholders.

That money should be distributed, those shares (and) that equity, depending on what the deal is. (They) also should be distributed to Boeing employees, for example, because they’re the ones who are going have to make the company turn around. The other half of that money should go to the taxpayers.

KIRO NIGHTS: You talked about (banning) stock buybacks. What makes that such a bad idea for taxpayers?

Mark Cuban: When companies buy back to stock, in essence they are doing financial engineering. What happens is those same companies that are buying back shares end up giving shares or granting shares or options to their senior management. I just think that if you’re going to be part of a bailout, if you’re going to get taxpayer money, then you should not be allowed to buy back shares of stock.

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Mark Cuban: If big companies get bailouts, taxpayers should get something in return