At KKR, its private equity investments represent 44.3% of roughly $4.9 billion in overall investments as of the quarter ended in September. Among those private equity investments, the biggest percentage gainers to KKR's acquisition costs are Dollar General ( DG), HCA and Nielsen ( NLSN) - all companies that have been taken public in the past year. Meanwhile, blockbuster leveraged-buyout deals like First Data, TXU and U.S. Foodservice have been marked down significantly from cost and are still privately held. It's a potential signal that while some private equity IPOs have fared well and others have faltered, new investors in an offering don't have the same profit and loss as private equity sellers.

For investors now looking at non-private equity owned IPO's, the tide back to companies going public for the first time ever may be a relief. Management and employees in first-time IPO's will be marking their net worth at the same stock prices as investors calibrating their investment profit and loss.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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