Mega-Buyout Plan B?

We hear a lot of complaints from venture capitalists about the lack of an IPO market, but isn’t this a far bigger problem for mega-buyout firms? After all, isn’t an IPO the only viable exit option for a market leader that was taken private (Clear Channel, SunGard, HCA, etc.)? The only way to get a trade sale would be to run the company into the ground (buy the best company, make it second-best), while sponsor-to-sponsor deals are unlikely due to both high leverage loads on the original deal and the likelihood of an original consortium (i.e., fewer firms left to sell to).

At least VCs still have trade sale opportunities for most of their revenue-generating companies, or could sell to provide equity. What’s Plan B for the mega-funds? Not a rhetorical question — I’m really asking…