Another milestone they count down in Times Square, less deliriously, is the moment a company goes public by selling shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Thursday, May 3, at 9:29:50 a.m., it’s the turn of the Carlyle Group, Washington’s semi-mythic private-equity leviathan, the capital’s most fabled generator of cash, conspiracy theories and conspicuous philanthropy.
Ten, nine, eight . . .
David Rubenstein, the public face of Carlyle, who spends his free time and money on missions such as repairing the Washington Monument after an earthquake, rescuing the Magna Carta from the auction block for the National Archives and funding the panda research program at the National Zoo, is not counting down. He stands, owlish and impassive, in Nasdaq’s fishbowl studio, seeming slightly stricken by the clamor of a soundtrack that gallops like a techno version of “Chariots of Fire.”
The action is being beamed around the world, and a seven-story video screen on the front of the building splashes the proceedings onto the square outside. But Rubenstein and co-founders William Conway and Daniel D’Aniello stay beyond camera range. The last place Rubenstein wants to be is seven stories tall in Times Square at the moment the market certifies him, somewhat redundantly, as a billionaire.