Carlyle Group co-CEO Kewsong Lee is optimistic about the private equity firm’s investment in superstar Taylor Swift.
“I’ve got every confidence in the world that it’s going to turn out to be a successful investment,” Lee told CNBC”s Wilfred Frost on “Squawk on the Street” on Wednesday.
Swift and music executive Scooter Braun have been battled over the rights to Swift’s works since June, when her former manager Scott Borchetta announced he sold his music label, Big Machine Label Group and Swift’s entire back-catalog to Braun’s media company, Ithaca Holdings. Carlyle Group, which has been an investor in Ithaca Holdings since 2017, helped finance the deal.
Swift protested the initial sale, and she has said Braun and Borchetta are placing restrictions on her ability to use her older music on televised performances. Swift has called on the Carlyle Group for help.
“I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men,” Swift wrote in a Tumblr post.
In the CNBC interview, Lee declined to comment on the specific matter.
Lee said he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of all of Carlyle’s portfolio companies, but he is confident in his management team.
“When you’re in the investing business, you have all sorts of risks from regulatory to financing. These risks are no different, peculiar or particular to this industry, but we’re well experienced with managing through and working with our management teams to try to get to great outcomes,” said Lee.
“Shes an incredibly talented performer and wonderful artist,” Lee added.
Presidential hopeful and Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted about the controversy last month, taking aim at private equity companies.
“Unfortunately, @TaylorSwift13 is one of the many whose work has been threatened by a private equity firm. They’re gobbling up more and more of our economy, costing jobs and crushing entire industries. It’s time to rein in private equity firms — and I’ve got a plan for that,” Warren wrote.
Lee responded saying “private equity is a misunderstood industry.”
“We have an enormous value-added function in the economy because of the returns we’re providing first responders, teachers, folks in unions, and we provide the returns that enable these people, grandmothers, grandfathers to retire comfortably.”