There is a long-running debate in private-equity investing. Do the funds, which have won the moniker “Barbarians at the Gate,” create value by financial chicanery or by actually improving the businesses they’ve bought? There has long been skepticism about the latter, as the $3.5 trillion industry’s often aggressive approach is sometimes portrayed in a bad light. Private-equity companies that swept into the ambulance business due to its “tremendous growth potential,” for example, reportedly instilled aggressive billing practices and pushed some operators to bankruptcy.
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