Blackstone Group plans long-anticipated IPO


NEW YORK, AP

Blackstone Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, on Thursday said it seeks to raise up to US$4 billion (euro3 billion) in a highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO).

The New York-based firm, known for multibillion dollar takeovers such as February’s US$23 billion (euro17.23 billion) buyout of Equity Office Properties, announced its intentions to go public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange. Blackstone — founded in 1985 by former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankers Stephen Schwarzman and Pete Peterson — said the initial public offering will allow it to tap new sources of capital for buyouts. In addition, it helps extend Blackstone’s brand name and gives management a way to profit from the increased value of their stakes.

The deal ends more than a week of speculation that Schwarzman planned to turn the firm — known globally for bringing major companies private — into a public entity. The regulatory filing also sheds new light on the tightly held buyout shop.

“They’ve operated in their own stealth realm for so long that this really does take advantage of the flipside of the coin — they have an opportunity to benefit by being a public company,” said Denise Valentine, senior analyst at business consultancy Celent LLC’s securities and investment group. “This is going to be a big IPO, oversubscribed, and it will give Blackstone a bigger kingdom.”