In an industry as competitive as the private equity (PE) one, it is often the case that analysts have to watch what the big funds are doing in order to get an idea of where the trends and headed and where the smart money investments are being made. PE houses aren’t always the most open in terms of communication.
Indeed, on many occasions, it is often only an official statement or press release announcing a fundraiser, a fund closure, or an investment, that gives us an insight into the various PE firms. Otherwise, there is usually a reliant on sources and “people close to the situation.” Therefore, when leading figures in the PE world speak, us, and many others listen.
Co-CEO of leading PE house Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein, recently spoke to news outlet CNBC about the most attractive investment areas available at the present time. While some may call this a little disingenuous, Carlyle’s might is such that Rubenstein giving away a little of the Group’s strategy isn’t likely to blow a hole in their operations.
Rubenstein told CNBC that healthcare, in all markets, was a huge opportunity for PE investment groups given how the ageing population, particularly in the United States, Japan, and Europe, is skewing age demographic statistics. He also cited Europe, in general, as a more attractive proposition than the U.S.
He said, “We believe healthcare, because of what is going on in the United States and the aging of the population in Europe, the United States and Japan, is a pretty good investment.”
On Europe, he added, “We think Europe has been overlooked; Europe is cheaper than the U.S. in terms of comparable assets. People abandoned Europe as a place to invest because of the recession, but now we think it is a more attractive place to invest than at any time in the last five years.”
Although Rubenstein didn’t mention them, the moves being made in Europe to reduce regulatory constraints also likely factor into this opinion, and it will be intriguing to see where Carlyle places their focus throughout the rest of 2014.