Is private equity past its prime?

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Are the Barbarians still at the gate, or are they about to join the dole queue? Just how well are Australian private equity firms coping with the financial crisis?

The industry certainly seems to be in a spot of bother - deals are down as unfavourable market conditions take their toll. Debt is too high, repayments or covenant breaches are being triggered, and banks aren't keen to refinance highly leveraged businesses.

Several banks are said to be in talks with more than 10 of the 30 PE firms that operate in Australia about near breaches or breaches of their loan covenants, as well as refinancing. (The Australian)

So what will the future bring for private equity? Did PE firms binge too much on debt and pay way over the odds for stakes in companies such as Nine Network, Seven Network, Myer and Rebel Sports?

And is joining a PE firm still a good idea for your career? Beat up the Barbarians below.