Four years ago, at the height of the real estate bubble, it seemed like a great idea: buy Manhattan's massive Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town housing complexes, throw out the existing tenants and raise the rents to market rates, then sit back and collect billions. But for Tishman Speyer Properties, the deal quickly turned sour. And on Monday, the real estate investment firm threw in the towel, turning the complex over to creditors in one of the the biggest real estate fiascoes in history.
Now that private equity is no longer producing monster returns, it's time to assess its value. By using debt, buyout shops have taken over struggling companies and enriched investors. But critics say the practice leads to more layoffs and the "flipping" of companies.