Carlyle Group IPO expected to mint 100 new millionaires

The most exclusive 100 club in Washington today isn’t the U.S. Senate.

It’s the 100 or so partners in The Carlyle Group, who are newly minted millionaires, deca-millionaires, centi-millionaires - on paper at least - thanks to their firm’s opening public sale of stock on the Nasdaq.

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The three co-founders -- Dan D’Aniello, William E. Conway and David M. Rubenstein -- who own around 51 percent of the company, will become instant billionaires just on the value of their stock alone. They’ve made hundreds of millions or more over the 25 years since the firm started, including $138 million each last year.

Based on an opening price of $22 per share, the firm was worth about $6.7 billion heading into Thursday’s opening. At that rate, the partner with just a fraction of one percent ownership in the company could be worth $5 million to $10 million.

But there are lots of caveats. First, you have to sell shares to reap the harvest (aside from dividends of course), and Carlyle’s founders have pledged to hold their shares indefinitely.

And the firm’s various partners- who will be worth between $5 million and $400 million - can sell shares only during certain windows in the upcoming years, according to filings.

In the unlikely event that Carlyle’s stock tanks, the net worth of all the owners will drop. Conversely, if it rockets, well, call the Porsche dealership.

There may be some people kicking themselves. Dan Ackerson, chief executive of General Motors and a former top executive at Carlyle, reportedly gave up his stake - which would be worth several hundred million after the initial public offering.

And remember all the big political names who worked there? George H.W. Bush, Frank Carlucci and James Baker? No stock. They gave up equity interest when they left.

 
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