Carlyle’s Rubenstein talks Politics, Carried Interest, IPO–VIDEO

Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein. Photo by Fred Prouser, Reuters

Earlier this year it was the road show—this time, it is the victory lap. David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, was interviewed by our colleagues at Reuters TV for a lengthy piece you can see here (or, below), nearly six months after what is a rare success story for a private equity firm going public. For those of you who don’t have 20 or so minutes to check out his in-depth discussion, we’ve pulled a few quotes this morning.

On politics: “I think the current label of President Obama as being anti-business is not fair… When you have a business person running who is from the private equity business, some people will think he’s more favorable. “

“President Obama has reached out to the business community; they just haven’t liked all of his business decisions. And some of his rhetoric. But generally, the administration is quote open and accessible. And I haven’t had any problem getting access to the appropriate people when necessary.”

“Remember, Mitt Romney was at Bain many years ago and many of the practices that private equity people did many years ago are not ones that many people do today. So the idea of shipping jobs offshore is not a very common practice today. The idea of breaking companies is not a very common practice today.”

On Carlyle & its IPO: “We decided to go public because many of our large competitors were public. They had access they could use for acquisitions and recruit and retain employees. It also gave us more cash to invest in our business and to grow our business… We’ve said to people, ‘If you buy our stock, don’t think we’re running the company for you.”

“We are more global than the rest [of Carlyle’s competitors] and have more PE dollars to invest than the others so we are buying more companies than the others… And we just have more investment professionals—we have 600 of them.”

On deals: “We have not been involved in central, eastern Europe… They’ve had some real economic problems… we’re not really investing there right now.”

“Russia is a place that we were in twice, and we pulled out.”

“In China, we are the largest private equity investor. We’ve done 55 deals, we have 112 people there, we’ve made billions of dollars in profit.”

“We also think that consumer retail will show a rebound.”

On keeping it real: “Private equity was not created to create any more jobs.”

And, finally, on that sticky subject of carried interest: “The United States leads the world in private equity and leads the world in venture capital. So maybe it has been helped by the tax system. So let’s not change it dramatically; we don’t lead the world in that many things… Remember, the most important law in Washington is the law of unintended consequences. Let’s not do something unless we really know what the impact is. There hasn’t even been a hearing on carried interest, really.”


Image Credit: Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein. Photo by Fred Prouser, Reuters