Mega-fund

Carlyle Group: No mega-fund to see here

November 13, 2012: 11:55 AM ET

Carlyle's Rubenstein sets some private equity parameters.

FORTUNE -- Not too long ago, it seemed that every private equity firm was jockeying to raise the largest fund. Today, however, the official line is that small(er) is beautiful.

For example, check out this recent comment from The Carlyle Group's (CG) David Rubenstein, during the firm's third quarter earnings call.

"The biggest complication in the fundraising market for private equity has been the mega funds and, when I say mega funds, I mean funds above $10 billion."

No doubt that Rubenstein is correct. The largest backers of private equity funds are U.S. public pension systems, many of which found themselves stuck with too many large, illiquid fund commitments during the financial crisis. So they've pared back their number of relationships.

But also note that Rubenstein's comment is more than a bit self-serving. Carlyle is currently raising $10 billion on the nose for its latest buyout fund. So if anything above $10 billion is a mega-fund, then anything at $10 billion or less must be small(er). And beautiful.

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