News in-depth Private equity

How private equity firms can resemble the empires they once broke up

General Electric was once the mightiest enterprise in the world, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. When GE decided to break itself apart in 2021 many believed this symbolised the demise of the American conglomerate. But as the FT’s Mark Vandevelde reports, bringing hundreds of companies together under common ownership hasn’t died, it has a new name - private equity