The credit crisis and an ensuing economic downturn have led to a shrill outcry against Wall Street and, generally, any participant in the financial services industry. But now that many companies sitting in private-equity portfolios are going bankrupt or are on the brink of a court-supervised workout, will the broader public aim its ire at the PE industry?

There are plenty of examples of PE portfolio company messes, and one credit rating agency estimates that just over half of the 140 companies defaulting between January and May alone were private-equity owned.

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