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Carlyle’s Attwood Doesn’t See $10 Bln LBOs Returning Soon

Jim Attwood, the Carlyle Group’s global head of telecommunications and media, doesn’t expect a $10 billion deal to surface any time soon.

Attwood, who spoke Monday at the UBS media and communications conference in New York, says the markets have been up and down. While there are challenges [in the credit markets], if the “right asset” is found, “you can still get it financed,” he says.

“You’ve got to work harder and turn over more stones,” he added.

Buyout shops typically put in about 35% to 40% of the equity in a deal, he told me on the sidelines of the event. This is up from the 28% PE firms usually invested in 2007, the boom time for LBOs.

Last month, KKR led an investor group to buy Samson Investment Co. for $7.2 billion. The deal is the second largest PE deal of year. The biggest so far in 2011 is the Blackstone Group’s $9.4 billion deal to buy nearly 600 shopping malls from Australia’s Centro Properties.

Despite these transactions, Atwood says he doesn’t see the return of the $10 billion LBO anytime soon. A $6 billion to $7 billion PE deal may be more likely, but even that will probably include a group of PE firms, Attwood says. “It’s hard for one firm to do that,” he told me.

I also asked Attwood about Yahoo, which is reportedly considering a $25 billion takeover offer from Blackstone and Bain Capital. “We thought about that situation a lot over the years,” says Attwood, who declined further comment.