Billionaire private equity pro and philanthropist David Rubenstein on Monday said stock prices "are not cheap" right now, creating a tough environment for dealmakers looking for bargains.
"Companies doing deals ... they have highly priced stock and they're using that to make acquisitions. It makes it easier for them," he said—noting it's harder for PE firms. "Right now, credit is certainly available to do deals. But people, like we, do not want to pay the prices that you often have to pay."
The co-founder and co-CEO of The Carlyle Group also told CNBC's "Squawk Box" the U.S. economy is "in reasonable shape," probably growing in the 2 to 2.5 percent range for the reminder of this year. He sees the European economy as also doing "reasonably well." But China, he added, is slowing down a bit to "6.5 percent [growth] or so this year, which isn't bad given the size of that economy."
The global investment firm, with $193 billion of assets under management, is reopening an office in Silicon Valley six years after closing one. Rubenstein said Carlyle wants to be closer to the "center of technology."
"I don't think people in Silicon Valley are quaking in their boots that we're opening an office there and all of sudden all the deals will flow to us," he joked—saying Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle could stand to do more tech deals.
Carlyle was, however, a big winner in the sale of headphone maker and streaming music operator Beats to Apple for $3 billion last year. The PE firm had a $500 million stake in Beats.