TPG Mulling IPO

Feb 25 2014 | 12:08pm ET

TPG Capital may join its fellow private-equity giants Blackstone Group, Carlyle Group and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in the public markets.

David Bonderman, co-founder of the former Texas Pacific Group, said today that the firm is considering an initial public offering.

"'Contemplating' is the right word for us," he told the SuperReturn International conference in Berlin. "We're thinking about it, but not too hard."

Still, Bonderman left little doubt that TPG would one day be a public concern.

"At the end of the day, everybody will go public," he said.

In wide-ranging remarks, Bonderman said the frenzied selling of investments by p.e. firms wouldn't last long. "Is it sustainable? The answer is no," he said. "These years are relatively few and far between."

He also said that investors "have more cash than they know what to do with" and haven't made good on threats to avoid publicly-traded p.e. firms, fearing a conflict of interest between investors' best interests and those of shareholders.

"The LPs have not put their money where their mouth is," Bonderman said.

He also touched on co-investment deals with sovereign wealth funds, which are among the largest investors in p.e. funds. Bonderman said such arrangements were "more complicated" but "something we'll all end up living with." And he urged people not to put private equity firms or managers on too high a pedestal.

"Candidly, what we're doing is not rocket science. We're not doing brain surgery; we're not curing cancer," he said. "We're trying to figure out what the right bond return is. Come on."

Equally candidly, when asked about the cyclical nature of private-equity fundraising and returns, he said the remedy was simple: "whiskey and soda."

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