An empty bank vault
An empty bank vault - 


Scott Jagow: I'm here to pronounce that the private equity buying spree is dead. I'm sure at some point huge deals leveraged with massive amounts of debt will be resurrected. But for now, the credit market has killed them. Thompson Financial just came out with the numbers. Stephen Beard has more from London.

Stephen Beard: Thompson says that the global volume of private equity acquisitions is down by 64 percent from a year ago.

The sharp decline is due to the banks' reluctance to lend. They shoveled billions of dollars into private equity firms during the boom, but now they've stopped shoveling.

They're up to their necks in private equity loans that they've underwritten but cannot now sell on to investors, says Andrew Hilton of the CSFI think tank.

Andrew Hilton: The markets are completely clogged, they're constipated, they're stuck. You can't clear $500 billion worth of deals that are out there and the banks can't fund them.

The problem is most acute in the U.S. American banks have been left holding $280 billion worth of debt.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.