Buyout Mania

ANDRES POHLMANN FOR TIME

Munich-based MTU's CEO, Udo Stark has been at the center of a furor sparked by the takeover of his company by KKR

Hanns Ostmeier was stunned to pick up a popular German newspaper one recent Sunday and find a photo of himself along with several colleagues in a mock wanted poster. Ostmeier's offense: he runs the German operations for the Blackstone Group, the big U.S. buyout firm. Blackstone isn't exactly a household name in Germany. But this spring, Franz Müntefering, chairman of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democratic Party ( spd), likened Blackstone and other private-equity groups to "swarms of locusts" that fall on companies and devour all they can before moving on. "Some financial investors don't waste any thoughts on the...

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