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Carlyle’s Sarkozy: The Financial Crisis of 2008 Never Ended

The financial crisis never ended, said P. Olivier Sarkozy, the Carlyle Group’s head of global financial services partners group.

Sarkozy, who spoke today at Bloomberg’s Dealmaker Summit, told me on the sidelines that the financial downturn of 2008-2009 is still going on. “It was fashionable for a period of time to think that the crisis was over,” he told me. “But the crisis wasn’t over. We’re just in a different phase. Europe is just another evolution of that crisis.”

The Carlyle MD, who spoke on the panel “Banking on Deals,” said that “these are potentially very exciting times,” but that more stability was needed for capital to “start flowing in a meaningful way.”

Carlyle has managed to make smart investments in troubled banks. In 2009, Carlyle along with the Blackstone Group, Centerbridge Partners and WL Ross, invested $945 million in failing Florida lender, BankUnited. Earlier this year, BankUnited went public and saw its share rise 5.2%. The Carlyle Group itself has also filed to go public.

Sarkozy told me that there are still lots of troubled and failing banks in the U.S. But he wouldn’t say that the recent broad market volatility makes it an opportune time to buy banks. “It’s a better time than not to pursue a transaction,” he said.

He said he would pursue a deal if it was for a good company. “These things are deal specific,” he added. “We need more stability.”