What a difference a deal can make. Last year, the news featured German Labor Minister Franz Münterfering calling private equity funds “locusts,” comparing them to insects that eat away at domestic resources with their buyouts. But now that The Blackstone Group reportedly will pay $3.3 billion for a 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom, the buzz is somewhat different. German news service Deutsche Welle says the Blackstone bid is being viewed “as a sign that Germany is facing up to the fact that it needs to attract foreign capital as it looks to restructure many of its top companies.” Now that Germany seems to be embracing private equity, the year of the locust may have been more of a political ploy as the country headed for the ballot box. An unnamed banker told Reuters that the “the whole locust debate...did not find resonance in the public.” While the Blackstone deal appears to have broken the icy relationship somewhat, the banker said private equity activity never stopped. “People were just having to tread more carefully,” he said, noting that there are a lot more deals down the pike.