Rubenstein: Carlyle Interested in Toxic Asset Plan

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group [CYL.UL] is considering participating in the government’s proposed public-private partnership to take troubled assets off banks’ books, Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein said on Thursday .

“We’ll take a look at it,” said Rubenstein, speaking on the sidelines of a conference, the Emerging Markets Private Equity Forum. “The devil is in the details. But I think it is a good step forward and do I think involving the private sector … is helpful.”

“What private equity and other private investors are concerned about is simply that we understand the rules going in and they don’t change,” he added.

The private sector’s concerns include whether it would be subject to additional regulations, disclosure or compensation limits, he said.

“I think the government is now willing to provide sufficient assurances on that, so I think, probably, people will take a serious look at it,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to create a public-private partnership to take up to $1 trillion of toxic assets off banks’ books and unfreeze credit markets.

Rubenstein said investors had been consulted about the plan.

“The government has reached out to people in the private investment world and we, and other firms, have been in discussions with the government with ideas about how it might be improved… it has been a very good progress.”

He added, “This administration has been quite open to the business community.”

Asked about the prospect of increased regulation, Rubenstein said, “The financial community recognizes that additional regulation is inevitable.

“No one is in love with regulation but we recognize it is coming.”

Geithner on Thursday unveiled sweeping rules for financial firms, saying that new “rules of the game” are required to make sure the financial system is tightly enough regulated that it cannot again threaten the entire economy.

Carlyle is one of the world’s largest private equity firms. It has more than $91.5 billion under management and investments in companies such as fast food chain Dunkin’ Donuts, semiconductor firm Freescale Semiconductor and pharmacy chain Alliance Boots.

By Megan Davies
 (Editing by John Wallace)