Capital Buzz: Carlyle Group has its eye on the world

By Thomas Heath
Monday, May 17, 2010

The Carlyle Group doesn't call itself a private equity firm anymore.

Now it wants to be known as a "global alternative asset management firm."

The District giant, now one of the largest of its kind in the world, manages $88.6 billion in 67 funds in 18 countries in 260 companies in three asset classes -- private equity, real estate and credit alternatives, according to its 60-page annual report, which will be issued today (the Buzz got an early look).

Though the firm had a couple of washouts in 2009, such as its European portfolio misfires IMO Car Wash Group and Edscha, it says it has successfully navigated "a tectonic shift," enabling "Carlyle to make it through the Great Recession in very good shape," according to the firm's annual letter from its three founders, William E. Conway Jr., Daniel A. D'Aniello and David M. Rubenstein.

Last year, Carlyle deployed $5.2 billion in equity on six continents across buyouts, real estate, growth capital and distressed debt. Of the $88.6 billion it manages, $33.5 billion is sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be put to use.

"Our world changed: deals were fewer and smaller; equity was up and debt down; fundraising was difficult; distributions were minimal; and full exits were scant," the founders wrote.

Where to put your money?

"We are bullish on emerging markets, particularly China, India and Brazil, which have experienced a rapid rebound in economic performance driven by strong fundamentals," says the founders' letter. "We believe there will be terrific, targeted opportunities in our home market, the United States. In the wake of the global crisis, the financial services industry is remaking itself ... The global energy and U.S. healthcare sectors also remain attractive arenas for future investment."

GROCERY WARS, PART 3

Now comes Giant Food's grand reopening in McLean, featuring (get this) valet parking, a cheese expert, wine steward and -- a beauty consultant?

The meat department will include Kobe beef (but of course), and there will be kiosks in the deli department where you can digitally place an order, then shop while your Reuben or turkey sandwich is readied.


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