Question of the Week: Will Carlyle Ever Go Public? UPDATED

The Carlyle Group is playing hard to get.

This week, Daniel D’Aniello, one of Carlyle’s three co-founders, said that the global buyout shop may choose to stay private because the markets aren’t friendly.

At first glance, this announcement isn’t all that jarring. Companies often file with the SEC to go public and just sit in registration. Some are waiting for a good time to launch their IPO. Still, some firms use an IPO filing as a “For Sale” sign and seek out buyers. They never go public and, ultimately, get sold. And, some companies, for reasons that can include bad markets or lack of investor interest, never go public or sell.

Carlyle may be facing some fierce markets, but the buyout shop has tons of investor interest and it’s certainly not looking to sell. It has also been teasing us with its IPO plans for YEARS. Way back in 2007, Carlyle was considering going public, D’Aniello said at the time. The global buyout shop instead opted to sell a 7.5% stake to Mubadala Development Co., an arm of the Abu Dhabi government. (That same year, the Blackstone Group, Carlyle’s arch rival, went public and raised $4.13 billion.)

The global credit crisis hit in 2008 so that year was out for an IPO. Carlyle, in 2009, was reportedly again thinking about going public. The Washington, D.C.-based PE firm finally began publicly discussing its IPO plans last year. The long-awaited Carlyle IPO has become one of the most over-reported stories of this year. There have been stories stating Carlyle wants a valuation like Blackstone, that it was interviewing bankers and that it would look to raise $1 billion. Finally, last month, Carlyle made official with an SEC filing.

Now D’Aniello says the firm might not hit the launch button? I doubt that’s true. Carlyle has been beaten to the IPO punch by KKR, Fortress Investment Group and Apollo Global. I believe it wants to keep up with the Joneses, so it will go public. What do you think?

UPDATE: The poll is closed. The results are posted below.

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