The House Financial Services Committee has been holding hearings on the impact of private equity – most recently, how it is affecting workers. As the wags say, if Congress is holding a hearing on a subject, it’s pretty much old news.
That may not be the case this time around. Private equity is reshaping the U.S. economy as well as its capital machetes; it is a force to be reckoned with and examined – which explains CNBC's day of special coverage May 17.
For several years now, private equity groups have been raising billions of dollars of cash to create buyout funds. And those funds have been busy putting the money to work. Cerberus Capital Management’s agreement to buy Chrysler for $7.4 billion is the latest – though hardly the largest – example of the buyout binge now under way. Last year was a record year for private equity M&A with some $410 billion worth of deals, and according to Standard & Poor's, there are now 12 private deals alone involving S&P 500 members.