Attack of the Locusts!
Not long ago, going public was the hottest move a company could make. These days, it's going private. Private equity funds are soaring worldwide, particularly in Europe, where the value of buyouts rose by 23% last year to €80 billion, according to the U.K.-based Centre for Management Buy-Out Research, and seems likely to keep rising. Not everyone likes the trend; German officials have likened the firms to "locusts." But U.S. funds alone have trebled their investments in Europe over the past four years. Many of them are currently raising huge war chests for further...

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