Carlyle's Rubenstein Heckled At Private Equity Conference

Jan 18 2008 | 1:21pm ET

Union protestors interrupted a speech by Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein at a private equity conference this morning.

The hecklers, from the Service Employees International Union, were protesting expect layoffs at the buyout giant's recent acquisition, nursing home operator Manor Care. The activists began chanting while Rubenstein was delivering the keynote address at the annual Wharton Private Equity Conference in Philadelphia, which was sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.

The protestors also unfurled a banner demanding that Carlyle "fix Manor Care nursing homes! Now," and tussled with hotel staff; police were also called. The Wall Street blog DealBreaker has reports of "pushing, shoving, punching-everywhere."

Rubenstein did not stand by quietly, engaging a protestor with a bullhorn.

"In two weeks, it's difficult to change a company," he said.

The unionists left after about 15 minutes.

Rubenstein renewed his remarks after the disruption ended, joking with the remaining audience, "How many students still want to be in private equity? This is sometimes a combat sport."

courtesy Union protesters interrupt the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein at a Philadelphia conference.Courtesy of Union protesters interrupt the Carlyle Group's David Rubenstein at a Philadelphia conference.

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