Carlyle settles collusion case

The buyout giant has avoided a trial by settling for $115m in the long-running bid rigging lawsuit

The Carlyle Group has agreed to settle a long-running lawsuit in which some of the world’s biggest private equity firms had been accused of colluding not to outbid each other on certain boom-era buyout deals.

The Washington DC-based firm has agreed to pay $115 million to resolve the matter, a source familiar with the matter said. However, the group denies any wrongdoing and does not regard this settlement as an admission of guilt, the source added.

Carlyle declined to comment.

The settlement comes before November’s scheduled jury trial, in which the plaintiffs were seeking nearly $12 billion in damages. Carlyle was the last firm to settle, so had it lost the case, it would have been liable for the entire amount.

The other defendants that settled were The Blackstone Group, TPG, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Silver Lake Partners, Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs.

In early August Blackstone and TPG settled for $115 million, Silver Lake Partners for $29.5 million and Bain Capital for $54 million, while Goldman Sachs agreed to a $67 million settlement.

The suit was filed in December 2007 by individual shareholders in companies that were acquired by the private equity firms, including Freescale Semiconductor. LPs such as the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System and New Profit Sharing Trust joined the shareholders.