ABOUT THIS COMPANY:King of Wall Street
In 1985, two top Lehman Brothers executives, Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman, invested USD$400,000 to launch a boutique M&A firm they called The Blackstone Group. Their first office operated with a staff of four, but Peterson and Schwarzman were convinced their singular approach would become a force in the business world. First of all, they decided to invest only in friendly mergers and acquisitions--a bold decision in the hostile takeover-happy environment of the 1980s. They also insisted that their own firm always invest large chunks of its own funds in the investments it made, and that their firm would strive to remain free of conflicts of interest, especially those born of competing business divisions within larger companies.
As Blackstone grew, its founders gained reputations for holding its reins a little too closely--several partners departed under bitter clouds. But it's clear that Peterson and Schwarzman (who has earned the nickname "The King of Wall Street") have built a strong business. Today, Blackstone has 839 employees in 14 offices around the world. It has also expanded its work beyond M&A advisory to include restructuring and reorganization advisory, fund placement services, private equity, real estate, corporate debt and marketable alternative investments, as well as closed-end funds in India and Asia. In 1998, American International Group (AIG) purchased a 7 percent non-voting stake in Blackstone; it paid USD$150 million for its share, and has invested over USD$1.2 billion in Blackstone-sponsored funds. In addition to AIG, Blackstone has formed strategic alliances with several international financial institutions, including Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Kissinger Associates, Alfaro Asesores Financieros and Scandinaviska Enskilda Banken.
In June 2007, Blackstone put forward its long awaited and much-hyped initial public offering, issuing 133.3 million units priced at USD$31 apiece. The USD$4.13 billion IPO, the largest U.S.-based IPO in five years, gave the public a 12.3 percent stake in Blackstone. After the IPO, the firm as a whole was valued around USD$33 billion.
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