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William Kennard joins the Carlyle Group, a $13 billion private investment fund, and looks to make big bets on telecom companies worldwide. William Kennard spent more than three years as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission listening to pleas from telecom companies large and small for regulatory favors. Since stepping down as FCC chairman in January, Kennard’s meeting schedule has dropped off, but he’s expecting it to pick back up in a hurry. And this time, the companies will be asking Kennard to show them the money. The Yale Law School grad announced Wednesday that he’s signed on as a managing director at the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private investment funds. The $13 billion firm, based in Washington, D.C., but with offices around the globe, just closed a new $3.9 billion fund and wants to find bargains in the beaten down telecommunications sector, Kennard said. “It’s a really interesting time to be investing,” he said. “The landscape is just starting to clarify.” Kennard thinks Wall Street has overreacted to problems some upstart carriers experienced trying to compete with dominant players such as Verizon and SBC. “I think the competitive local exchange carriers are undervalued now, irrationally so.” Other likely investments include companies in the fields of wireless service and Internet Protocol telephony, he adds. Kennard, the FCC’s first African American chairman, is a lifelong Democrat and friend of former Vice President Al Gore. He raised some eyebrows, including one on the New York Post’s “Page Six” gossip column, for signing up with Carlyle and its lineup of top Republicans such as former President George Bush and former Secretary of State Jim Baker. “They have a lot of prominent Democrats, too,” Kennard said, noting that former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt is another recent hire. Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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