Deals wrap: Is the PE industry overpaid?

June 8, 2011

Stephen Feinberg, one of the best-known private equity financiers in the world, admitted that the industry is radically overpaid. The stunning admission was followed by another one: some private equity firms were increasing their fund size too much — potentially hitting the returns for their investors.

Barnes & Noble’s third-largest shareholder, money manager Aletheia Research and Management, reported a reduced stake in the company, weeks after John Malone’s Liberty Media offered to buy the bookstore chain for $1 billion.

Citigroup has agreed to sell a portfolio of private equity assets to AXA Private Equity for $1.7 billion, the French insurer said on Wednesday, the latest move by the U.S. bank to unload non-core assets.

Prada’s value lies not just in its leather handbags — but its golden leaders. Patrizio Bertelli and Miuccia Prada, who run the business, account for a large chunk of the company’s earning power. But as Prada readies for its Hong Kong initial public offering, investors should remember that for luxury goods firms, an attachment to talented individuals cuts both ways, writes Breakingviews columnist John Foley.

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