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Christmas in September for Private Equity?


Private equity players rejoiced after the Fed cut rates by more than was expected. But can this Fed’s new aggressive stance reignite the buyout boom?

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Frank Aquila, partner at Sullivan & Cromwell, one of top M&A law firms in nation, joins the panel via the Fast Line to tell the traders he thinks buyouts are back on. The Fed just made it easier for private equity firms to feel that they can finance most of the deals they have on their backlogs, he said. There could be new deals that come through, but they probably wont be as highly levered as they were in the past.

Karen Finerman said it felt less like Christmas and more like a “reprieve from the governor a minute before midnight.” There are still over $300 billion left of deals to be funded and plenty of balance sheets in disarray, she said. Does private equity really think the party is back on just like that?

At the end of the day, the Fed rate cut helps the economy, Aquila said. And the thing that drives M&A activity more than anything isn’t low interest rates but a strong economy. “That’s what everyone is banking on,” he said, adding that he expects a slew of acquisitions in the financial sector especially.

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Trader disclosure: On Sept. 18, 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (INTC); Pete Najarian Owns (XLF); Pete Najarian Owns (GS) Options; Pete Najarian Is Short (ETFC); Finerman's Firm & Finerman Own (HD); Finerman's Firm Owns (ASD), (AA), (COP), (TXI), (TGT), (MO), (NMX); Finerman's Firm Owns S&P 500 Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns Russell 2000 Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns (WMT)