Carlyle Planning $3b Financial Assets Fund

LONDON (Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group is aiming to raise as much as $3 billion to invest in financial assets, of which about $1 billion has already been lined up, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.

The firm, which has said in the past it was keen on investing in banks, has been raising the fund for about six to nine months, the source said.

Carlyle declined to comment on the news, which was earlier reported by Bloomberg.

Last week, Carlyle’s co-founder David Rubenstein told Reuters that the buyout shop was seeking deals in the financial services sector.

Banks, asset managers and insurers, mainly in the United States and Europe, are potential targets and deals which are most attractive are those with government support, Rubenstein said.

Other private equity firms such as J.C. Flowers & Co LLC and WL Ross & Co are also eyeing the financial sector for deals.

Flowers, whose firm agreed along with other investors to buy failed U.S. mortgage lender IndyMac in January, has said that his firm is on the lookout for more government-assisted deals for banks as well as businesses being sold by large financial institutions and other companies.

The private sector could also get further investment opportunities under a plan unveiled earlier this week by the U.S. Treasury.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called on Tuesday for a new fund that combines public and private capital, which will start at $500 billion but could double in size, to buy troubled debt and loans from banks.

(Reporting by Megan Davies; Additional reporting by Paritosh Bansal in New York; editing by Richard Chang)