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Private Equity Deals Set to Surge in 2011

Last year, consumer deals and retail deals lead private equity investments, generating $1.9 billion. While consumer will remain a hot sector for 2011, Harris says that there will be a rise in technology, healthcare and energy investments as well. The financial sector will also produce more opportunities for private equity to be involved.

"Any time you see volatility and recovery there are opportunities and you see that clearly in the financial sector," said Harris.

"We are bullish on the financial sector from a corporate perspective. We can take advantage of the fundamental trends right now. In terms of lending to the financial sector, that is touchy. There will be more activity though in the sector than last year. You have seen some movement with TD (TD - Get Report) buying Chrysler Financial," said Schwimmer.

"2009 and 2010 were years where PE investors were looking for hidden gems in the wreckage of the mortgage collapse, seeking opportunities to buy good banking franchises with assistance from the FDIC," says Brette Simon, a M&A partner at Jones Day in Los Angeles, specializing in private equity. "These deals will continue to happen, but as financial institutions and finance companies recover, expect healthy company M&A to return to the financial sector. "

--Written by Maria Woehr in New York.

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