The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Exclusive Interview" series. In this segment, analyst Brendan Byrnes interviews author and Bloomberg reporter Jason Kelly about his recent book, The New Tycoons: Inside the Trillion Dollar Private Equity Industry That Owns Everything.

Private equity firms have long managed to stay under the radar, but that appears to be changing. The firms have owned well-known names such as Dunkin' Brands, Staples, Hertz, Dollar General, and Burger King, making it tougher for PE firms to stay anonymous. Throw in Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, and the PE industry is now firmly in the spotlight after years of anonymity. Was staying out of the spotlight on purpose for these firms, and if so, why purchase these consumer-facing brands? Jason explains in the following video.

Brendan Byrnes has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Hertz Global Holdings and Staples. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Burger King Worldwide and Staples. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.