2008 Rank: 1
2007 Rank: 3
Recent buyout fundraising: $39 billion
With 1,000-plus employees, 34 offices spread across every continent but Antarctica, and $81.1 billion in assets under management, this alternative-asset supermarket based in
Washington, D.C., offers 60 funds.
The firm, which prides itself on running as smoothly as a presidential motorcade, did get into its share of fender-benders this year: Carlyle Capital, a mortgage-backed securities
fund, defaulted on $16.6 billion in debt and went belly-up in March. Nevertheless, the firm's other investments soared in 2006 and 2007: Its LBO and growth capital funds distributed
$14 billion to investors--$4.5 billion was investor equity, $9.5 billion was profit.
And foreign investors keep the money coming in: The government of Abu Dhabi bought a 7.5% stake in the general partnership last September for $1.35 billion. (By comparison, Calpers
bought a 5.5% stake in 2000 for a mere $175 million.)Headwind issue:
No longer pilloried for having the bin Ladens as investors, Carlyle has become a whipping boy for Big Labor. The Service Employees International Union, claiming
services at nursing-home chain Manor Care would decline after it became part of the Carlyle portfolio, pickets its events.Worth noting:
Because co-founder David Rubenstein doesn't eat meat, vegetarian sushi is served at every Carlyle event, from investor conferences to employee retreats.
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