Private equity’s giant collusion case is over, as Carlyle folds

The Carlyle Group (ACG) has agreed to pay $115 million to settle its part in a massive private equity collusion case, Fortune has learned from a source close to the situation. This will bring the entire case to an end nearly seven years after it was first filed, as all of the other original defendants either had been let out of the case by a judge, or had previously agreed to their own settlements.

In total, the plaintiffs received just under $600 million from seven firms: Carlyle, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group (BX), Goldman Sachs (GS), Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), Silver Lake and TPG Capital.

The plaintiffs had argued that Carlyle and its co-defendants had conspired to not bid against each other on eight large “take-private” buyouts that occurred prior to the financial crisis. They had been requesting “class” certification (thus making the case a class action), with a hearing on the matter scheduled for next week. Had the plaintiffs been certified and Carlyle proceeded to trial, it could have been on the hook for a whopping $36 billion.

Carlyle had been holding out largely because its co-founders — David Rubenstein, Dan D’Aniello and William Conway — were said to be personally offended by the notion that they had been involved in an illegal act, and who felt that any settlement would be a tacit admission of wrongdoing. No word yet on why they relented.

A Carlyle spokesman declined comment.

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