Recent examples of large public companies being taken private by their founders or private equity firms include:

Kenneth Cole, founder of his namesake clothing company, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., made a $280 million offer to his board of directors in February that would take the company private. The board of directors at Kenneth Cole Productions approved the offer on June 6. Cole owned approximately 46 percent of the company.

Sycamore Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, made an offer for women's retailer Talbots Inc. to take the company private at $3 per share in December. The board opened its books for review in January and announced in May that it had a competing offer at $3.05. When that deal fell through, Sycamore countered with an offer of $2.75 per share. Talbots' board accepted the lower offer; the deal closed last week.

P.F. Chang's China Bistro, announced in May that it had accepted a $1.16 billion offer from private equity firm Centerbridge Partners. The deal for the casual restaurant chain closed July 3. Centerbridge offered $51.50 per share, about a 30 percent premium to P.F. Chang's share price before the announcement.

PATRICK KENNEDY