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Private Equity Diet May Cut Investor M&A Hopes: Street Whispers

In fact, Conway made the case that the pension fund and endowment investors at the conference have to remain invested, regardless of whether economic concerns, uncertainty over the direction of interest rates and a hotly contested presidential election muddle the near-term outlook.

"You have a choice what to invest in, you don't have a choice of whether to invest," he said. Carlyle is focusing on companies in the power generation, industrials and chemicals industry, in addition to investments in esoteric debt products.

Conway's optimism comes in contrast to his outlook when stock indexes were last near current levels ahead of the financial crisis. In Jan. 2007, Conway wrote in a letter to investors that the near-unlimited availability of buyout financing was creating a bubble environment that would burst, eventually creating a buying opportunity. As Bloomberg recently noted, Carlyle has been the busiest buyout firm of 2012, signaling opportunities exist.

For more on private equity deals, see why Goldman Sachs is cutting its private equity future by half. Also see why a dividend is key to Carlyle Group's stock strength.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York
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