CD&R’s Conway Says PE Does a Bad Job Explaining Itself, Fund VIII is 75% Invested: UPDATED

The presidential election is finally over and Kevin Conway, Clayton, Dubilier & Rice’s managing partner, says he’s happy we don’t have to talk about it anymore.

The private equity industry can go back to business as usual, says Conway, who spoke Tuesday at the Buyouts conference in Dallas. The presidential election, which saw Bain Capital co-founder Mitt Romney lose to Barack Obama, didn’t intrude on private equity “doing what we do,” he says.

But Romney’s run did turn negative media attention on PE. “Private equity has not done a good job about our reputation or explaining what we do,” he says.

Conway, on the sidelines of the conference, told peHUB that major media targets the outliers; those firms that do very well or those that do badly. He referred to a statistic that shows private equity is responsible for nearly 10% of U.S. GDP. “Private equity needs to do a better job telling our story and getting the facts out,” he says.

Last week, Bloomberg News reported that CD&R was seeking about $5 billion for its next fund. The PE firm is expected to come to market next year, the story said. At $5 billion, Clayton Dubilier & Rice Fund IX LP is looking to raise the same amount as CD&R’s prior fund. Clayton VIII raised $5 billion in early 2010. UPDATE: CD&R’s fund VIII closed on the very last day, December 31, of 2009 and is considered a 2009 vintage fund, a spokesman says.

Conway declined to comment on CD&R’s fundraising plans. News of the CD&R’s fundraising is “not all that secret,” he says.

CD&R’s fund VIII is 75% invested and the pool has two to three investments left, Conway says. “We will eventually turn to fund IX,” he says.

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