Carlyle gets into commodities

October 3, 2012, 3:22 PM UTC

Carlyle’s co-founders

FORTUNE — The Carlyle Group (CG) this morning announced that it has acquired a 55% economic stake in Vermillion Asset Management, a $2.2 billion commodities hedge fund manager.

Mitch Petrick, Carlyle’s head of global market strategies, says that the deal is more partnership than acquisition, with Vermillion expected to maintain both its brand and its senior management. In terms of assets under management, however, all $2.2 billion is expected to be consolidated onto Carlyle’s balance sheet (something of particular import for publicly-traded PE firms, which often get judged more by analysts on AUM than on actual performance).

Petrick says that Carlyle has been interested in adding a commodities platform for the past couple of years, and that he had been “agnostic” as to whether it should be built in-house or acquired from the outside. The decision to go with Vermillion, he says, was largely based on the New York-based manager’s diversification.

“Vermillion isn’t tied to a single strategy,” Petrick explains. “It does energy and agriculture and soft commodities and metals… This was what we would have tried to build anyway from scratch.”

Through the end of June, Carlyle’s global markets strategies group managed around $29 billion in assets.

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