Private Equity Generates Big Returns, Big Controversy

Modern-day private equity got its start back in the 1970s, with the pioneering buyout deals from KKR. By using heavy amounts of debt, the firm was able to arrange large transactions and produce strong returns for investors. Since then, private equity has turned into a massive global asset class. After all, KKR now manages $54.8 billion in assets, with stakes in companies like hospital operator HCA, electronic-payment processor First Data, media outfit Nielsen and Toys "R" Us.


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