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Chris Hughes

The Buyout Bubble's Poster Child

Hellman & Friedman faces a struggle to make its Nets takeover pay off.
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Photographer: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

To see how hard it is for private equity firms to spend the record piles of cash they've amassed, look no further than Hellman & Friedman LLC's latest deal in Europe.

The U.S. leveraged-buyout firm is leading a group that's buying Nordic payments provider Nets A/S for 40 billion Danish kroner ($6.4 billion), including assumed net debt. If there's one transaction that could show how private equity's ambition could unravel, this is surely it.