Ron Paul, a second-tier candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, was purchased today by the Blackstone Group in a private equity transaction estimated to be worth $6 billion.
Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, speaking at a press conference in New York today, said that Paul's tremendous web presence justified the high price. "He's crushing all of his competitors on the web, generating tremendous web traffic. The Ron Paul campaign site's Alexa rank is just through the roof."
Ron Paul also spoke at the press conference, and explained that the transaction would dramatically improve the campaign's financial position and allow him to communicate his message to the voters. "We have to respect the Constitution," noted the candidate, "and protect the liberty of all." Paul denied that there are any 13th Amendment issues with the deal, saying that it had been carefully structured to address such concerns.
Blackstone beat out rival Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) in the bidding by teaming up with the Carlyle Group and other private equity partners. KKR founder Henry Kravis said that the price was too rich: "While he does well on Alexa, his PageRank is pretty low." Kravis also noted that Paul's edge is not as substantial on other web measures.
Most other presidential candidates declined comment on the transaction, though John Edwards was initially critical of the deal as unfair to the poor. He said Alexa Rank was "just another way of separating the two Americas." Edwards retracted his comments after learning that Fortress Investment Group, an offshore hedge fund that hired him as a consultant, was part of the team on Blackstone's winning bid.
Rumors that a bid was in the offing for Barack Obama, due to his site's high PageRank and his media buzz, could not be confirmed before we went to press.