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Carlyle Group prices low IPO

May 2, 2012: 5:56 PM ET

The Carlyle Group's IPO underwhelms.

FORTUNE -- Private equity firm The Carlyle Group priced its IPO this evening at $22 per unit, which was lower than its proposed $23 to $25 per unit range.

It means that the firm raised around $671 million, and has an initial market capitalization of nearly $6.7 billion.

Carlyle will begin trading tomorrow on the NASDAQ under ticker symbol CG, while J.P. Morgan, Citigroup and Credit Suisse Securities served as co-lead underwriters.

This obviously is a disappointing result for Carlyle, which already felt that it was offering its shares at a discount. Apparently public market buyers were worried about the past year's performance of market comps like The Blackstone Group (BX) and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), which have suffered alongside other financials.

It's also possible that Carlyle received an extra demerit for being the private equity-ist of all the publicly-traded private equity firms (i.e., the least diverse). Sixty-three percent of the Washington, DC-based firm's assets under management are either in direct private equity investments or in indirect private equity investments (the latter via AlpInvest, a giant private equity fund-of-funds and secondaries firm acquired last year).

Blackstone Group, on the other hand, the firm has nearly as much real estate and hedge fund assets under management as it does private equity (through year-end 2011), while KKR is building out a capital markets business (and has far less PE under management than does Carlyle). Apollo Global Management (APO), another listed rival, reports just 47% of its assets under management as private equity -- and, again, the actual volume pales in comparison to Carlyle.

More analysis to come tomorrow. What follows is a press release just issued by the firm:

Washington, DC – Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group L.P. today announced that it has priced the initial public offering of 30.5 million of its common units at $22 per unit.  The units are expected to start trading tomorrow, May 3, 2012, on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "CG."  The Carlyle Group L.P. has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 4.575 million additional common units at the public offering price less underwriting discounts.  Carlyle intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay indebtedness and for general corporate purposes, including general operational needs, growth initiatives, acquisitions and strategic investments and to fund capital commitments to, and other investments in and alongside of, its funds.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC are joint book-running managers for the offering.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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