Carlyle, Oaktree Closer To IPOs

Private equity giant The Carlyle Group is moving closer to an initial public offering and could raise around $1 billion based on what banks are pitching, a source familiar with the process told sister news service Reuters. Carlyle, co-founded in 1987 by David Rubenstein, has yet to release any information about its profitability and management fees, making it impossible to accurately value how much it would be worth as a public company.

Carlyle was valued at $20 billion in September 2007, when an investment unit of the Abu Dhabi government bought a 7.5 percent stake in the company, before the credit crisis sent stock markets sliding. It had an implied value of about $6 billion in June 2010, based on the $334 million value that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System gave to its 5.5 percent stake, bought in 2001. CalPERS, the retirement fund for California public employees, discloses the figure in its annual investment report under the section “Expansion Capital.”

If Carlyle’s value had appreciated in line with that of rival Blackstone Group—which is up 60 percent since then—it could be valued today at about $10 billion. Carlyle would join rivals Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Apollo Global Management as publicly traded private equity companies. Apollo, the most recent to list, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on March 30. Distressed debt and real estate investor Oaktree Capital Group filed with U.S. regulators in June to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering of its class A units, becoming the latest financial firm to seek a public listing.

Oaktree, which listed shares four years ago on a quasi-public exchange set up by Goldman Sachs, manages over $80 billion, rooted mostly in debt investments. Oaktree will use part of the proceeds from the offering to acquire Oaktree Operating Group units from its affiliate Oaktree Capital Group Holdings LP, it said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company did not reveal how many shares it planned to sell or their expected price. It plans to list its Class A units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “OAK.” The amount of money a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size of the IPO can be different. Los Angeles-based Oaktree, which was formed in 1995, has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to underwrite its offering.

Carlyle is expected to pick JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Credit Suisse Group Ltd to lead its initial public offering, two sources familiar with the process told Reuters. A number of banks worked on Blackstone’s offering in 2007—Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse. Apollo’s listing, earlier this year, was led by Goldman, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Carlyle hopes to file its IPO prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the third quarter, sources previously told Reuters. Carlyle’s offering could be around $1 billion, based on what banks are pitching, one of the sources said. The second source said an offering of around $1 billion would be a reasonable size for Carlyle to target. CNBC earlier reported the IPO could total $750 million to $1.2 billion.

Carlyle declined to comment.

If Carlyle were to file for an IPO in the third quarter, it could realistically price an offering and begin trading some time after the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Sept. 5, but before the December holiday season. If it misses that window, it could wait until early 2012, after it finalizes its full-year 2011 financial statements.

The firm has assets under management of more than $106.7 billion, according to its Web site. In February, Carlyle hired NASDAQ OMX Group Inc Chief Financial Officer Adena Friedman as its CFO.

(Megan Davies is a New York-based correspondent for Reuters news service; additional reporting by Clare Baldwin and Paritosh Bansal in New York and Aditi Sharma in Bangalore.)