In the biggest LBO in Wall Street history, HCA sells to three private-equity firms and the Frist family. Paying a final price around $33 billion, the private-equity firms involved — Bain Capital; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co.; and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity — eclipse the $30.6 billion total they paid to take over RJR Nabisco in 1989.

The move is part of a larger trend in health care services financing and comes at a time when many other companies go private due to market conditions. This movement contrasts the IPO-heavy trend of health care financing that was so dramatic in the late 1990s and early 2000s.