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Private equity powerhouse Carlyle expands into commodities

NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Carlyle Group LP said on Tuesday it would buy a majority stake in a commodities-trading hedge fund manager, its biggest leap yet in an expansion that has seen it diversify from private equity into other alternative asset classes.

Carlyle, which has $156 billion of assets under management, said it bought a 55 percent stake in Vermillion Asset Management LLC, a New York-based commodities investment manager with about $2.2 billion of assets under management.

Vermillion trades on agricultural products, metals, energy and staples such coffee, sugar and cocoa beans. Carlyle said it acquired a stake in Vermillion in exchange for cash, an ownership interest in Carlyle and performance-based contingent payments payable over five-and-a-quarter years.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis; Editing by John Mair)

((Greg.Roumeliotis@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 223 6022)(Reuters Messaging: greg.roumeliotis.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CARLYLE VERMILLION/COMMODITIES