Private Equity Giants See Big Payday—If They Don't Go Bust

All the major players have survived so far
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2009 12:31 PM CST

(Newser) – None of the major players in the "shadow banking" world of private equity—the likes of Blackstone, Carlyle, and KKR—has yet gone bust, and the guessing game of which one will be first is well under way, reports Newser founder Michael Wolff in Vanity Fair. Don't hold your breath. The industry may indeed be "looking at imminent catastrophe and ruination," notes Wolff, but given the greater opportunities for bluffing in private equity, these firms just might be ideally suited to profit from everyone else's ruin.

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"Being comfortable with there being no there there is the talent," writes Wolff. "That’s the private-equity genius: We’ve figured out how to buy companies without putting up the money; we’ve figured out how to run them without knowing anything about them. The situation has just gotten more fluid—the banks don’t have money to give us, and God himself couldn’t turn a profit at most companies now. But somewhere, sometime soon, if we can just bluff it out, there is opportunity. Amazing opportunity." (Read more private equity firms stories.)

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