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The Return of Leveraged Buyouts44:17
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The mega-billions are flying on Wall Street today, but not in a game you're likely to play. "Private equity" — super fat-cat private wealth — is buying up publicly-traded companies off the stock exchanges like never before, and taking them private to rework and resell, they hope, for fantastic profits.

If you own ordinary shares on Wall Street, or work for one of the companies, you're in the peanut gallery of this game — but you're not unaffected.

The private equity hotshots say they bring a cleansing efficiency to the US economy. Critics say big-money America is bleeding yet another tier of the economy into its own pockets, leaving wages and pensions and ordinary investors as road kill.

This hour On Point: the private equity explosion, and what it means for you.

Guests:

Dennis Berman, mergers and acquisitions reporter for The Wall Street Journal

Steven Kaplan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at The University of Chicago

Mark Zandi, chief economist and co-founder of Moody's Economy.Com

Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect

This program aired on November 20, 2006.

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