Private Equity at Work:
When Wall Street Manages Main Street

By: Eileen Appelbaum and Rosemary Batt

396 pp



Private equity firms have long been at the center of public debates on the impact of the financial sector on Main Street companies. Are these firms financial innovators that save failing businesses or financial predators that bankrupt otherwise healthy companies and destroy jobs? The first comprehensive examination of this topic, Private Equity at Work provides a detailed yet accessible guide to this controversial business model. Economist Eileen Appelbaum and Professor Rosemary Batt carefully evaluate the evidence—including original case studies and interviews, legal documents, bankruptcy proceedings, media coverage, and existing academic scholarship—to demonstrate the effects of private equity on American businesses and workers. They document that while private equity firms have had positive effects on the operations and growth of small and mid-sized companies and in turning around failing companies, the interventions of private equity more often than not lead to significant negative consequences for many businesses and workers.

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Chapter 1 Private Equity: Investors as Managers

Chapter 2 Institutional Change and the Emergence of Private Equity

Chapter 3 The Business Model: How Private Equity Makes Money

Chapter 4 The Effects of the Financial Crisis, 2008 to 2012

Chapter 5 The Middle Market—Increasing Focus After the Crisis

Chapter 6 How Well Do Private Equity Funds Perform?

Chapter 7 Private Equity’s Effects on Jobs and Labor

Chapter 8 Dilemmas for Pension Funds as Limited Partners

Chapter 9 Regulating Private Equity