With corporate acquisitions in 2009 about as plentiful as water in the Mojave Desert, intellectual property could prove to be not only the next fountain of deal flow for private-equity sponsors, but also a potential tool for helping their portfolio companies.

A plethora of firms like Apax Partners, GTCR Golder Rauner, Intellectual Ventures, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Spectrum Equity Investors have found a source of opportunity in IP, an area with the potential to unleash new financing in the moribund securitization market.

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