Friday, November 29, 2013

Carlyle Co-Founder Buys Bay Psalm Book for $14.2 Million

Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein added another historic treasure to his vast holdings, one of eleven copies of the first book printed in America, Bay Psalm Book.  WaPo reported:

Published in Cambridge, Mass., in 1640, the book is one of only 11 surviving copies and one of the rarest volumes in the world. It is also now the most expensive.

The Bay Psalm Book bought by Rubenstein was one of two owned by Boston’s Old South Church and is one of the finest copies remaining of 1,700 that were originally printed.
You have to love how Rubenstein redefined philanthropy, normally associated with donations of money or assets to a nonprofit organization.  Rubenstein purchased the Bay Psalm Book, like he did other historic documents, Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, and Emancipation Proclamation.  The private equity underwriter (PEU) did not give these away, but retains ownership, even as these documents are on loan.

Given the record prices of historical document auctions, Rubenstein's holdings keep rising.  It remains to be seen how Rubenstein's philanthropic generosity will weigh against the tremendous economic damage Carlyle and its PEU brethren have inflicted on so many.  Judging the impact of PEU greed over seven generations of workers, that's one karmic challenge.  Someday, Carlyle's founders will meet their maker and their billions will be useless.

If the gatekeeper "sponsor" gives a thumbs up and wink on liquidity recaps, carried interest, and management fees they might want to repent, turn around.  I imagine Hades has a special room for those pursuing "Just Us" in their time on earth.