The authors link Blackstone’s history to the larger story of private equity’s expansion and its relationship to corporate America.” — The Economist

[T]he book colorfully recounts the busted deals and hotheaded personalities in Blackstone’s rise to the top.”Fortune

When I originally thought of private equity and leveraged buyouts I had two images in my head: Richard Gere in Pretty Woman and Michael Douglas in Wall Street. … Now I have another image, Steve Schwarzman in King of Capital. Starting out in the industry not even knowing what a common stock was, Mr Schwarzman’s risk adverse personality and incessant drive for perfection has helped him to build a leading company in the private equity industry. David Carey and John E. Morris do a fantastic job of explaining private equity’s role in society and as well as capture the personalities of the people behind the scenes.” — Peter Murphy, Amazon customer review

** Over 60,000 copies sold in English and over 100,000 copies in the Chinese translation. Also available in Japanese, Korean and Russian editions. **

Carey and Morris brilliantly lay out the development of the firm through an exploration of its deals – both the successful and the utterly dismal investments – and its investment team….. The book was both entertaining and educational….MotivStrategies.com

The Blackstone Group was little known outside Wall Street until two events in 2007 catapulted it onto the public stage: the lavish sixtieth birthday party of its CEO Steve Schwarzman and the firm’s IPO a few months later. They advertised to the broader world what Wall Street had long known – that Blackstone had eclipsed better known private equity firms such as KKR and the Carlyle Group, both in size and profits. By then Blackstone owned all or part of fifty-one companies which together employed 500,000 people and raked in $171 million a year in revenue. more . . .

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17trumpceos2-master768Steve Schwarzman, who chaired President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, formed to advise the White House on on economic issues, watched as the corporate chieftains on the panel bailed out this week over the President’s comments on the violence at a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. One by one other CEOs were resigning. The New York Times reported:

As the group disintegrated, Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, was kept in the loop. Mr. Schwarzman was one of Mr. Trump’s closest business confidants and the chairman of the policy forum, but he was also outraged by the president’s remarks.

On Tuesday evening, he called Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, to inform him that the policy forum was falling apart. At the same time, Mr. Schwarzman began drafting a statement about disbanding the group. 

That was preempted when the White House announced the end of the forum.

Another crucial player in the splintering of the panel, according to The Times, was ex-Blackstone partner Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock:

On Wednesday morning, Laurence D. Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, called Ms. Nooyi, Ms. Rometty, Ms. Barra and Douglas McMillon, the chief executive of Walmart.

Mr. Fink decided to step down after seeing the president’s remarks on Tuesday, and now encouraged other executives to join him.

Fink left Blackstone to form Blackrock in 1994 after a dispute over ownership and profits, as chronicled in chapter 10 of King of Capital.

Blackstone’s real estate arm is in exclusive talks to acquire a majority stake in the real estate portfolio of Spain’s failed Banco Popular, which was acquired (read: bailed out) by Santandar bank in June. Blackstone would reportedly take a 51% stake in the assets, which Santander estimates are worth about 30 billion euros ($35.2 billion). The portfolio includes properties as well as non-performing loans.

Details are in this Reuters story.

Apollo Global Management set a new record for private equity fundraising, amassing $24.6 billion in commitments for a new fund — topping the $21.7 billion record set by Blackstone in 2007, before the financial crisis. Apollo’s last fund, raised three years ago, topped out at $18.4 billion.

More details in the Bloomberg story.

The masters program in leadership that Steve Schwarzman has funded at Tsinghua University in Beijing, announced several years ago, finally got underway for real last month, with the first class entered. The program brings together foreign and Chinese students.

“This is the first time in 200 years where instead of the Chinese leaving to get educated, the best and brightest of the West are coming to China for no reason other than to just understand China,” the Wall Street Journal quoted Schwarzman as saying.

Joe Barratta, Blackstone’s head of corporate private equity, was interviewed by Bloomberg’s Jason Kelly about the state of private equity in this video.

Baratta was the partner responsible for Blackstone’s highly successful investment in Merlin Entertainments, which operates the London Eye, Legoland, Madame Tussaud’s and other attractions. Chapter 11 of the book explains how Blackstone helped the company expand to the point it is a rival to Disney in entertainment sites.

As anyone who works in Midtown Manhattan or the Upper East Side can testify, gridlock awaits the locals every year at this season when the United Nations General Assembly meets. Streets are blocked, and traffic is halted for motorcades. Prime ministers and presidents shuttle from place to place. Having a limo and driver doesn’t help in the struggle to get to the office. Hence Steve Schwarzman took the subway this week … and the firm tweeted a photo of the CEO on the 6 train, which runs down Lexington Avenue, by the back door to Blackstone’s office.

Last year Steve Schwarzman announced a $100 million donation to found a scholarship program to support foreign students studying at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing. Now a Chinese businesswoman Schwarzman approached about contributing to his program has decided instead to fund her own scholarships — for Chinese student to come to the U.S., the New York Times reported.

Giant leveraged buyouts no longer sustain private equity firms as they did through the mid-2000s. Thus Blackstone and its peers have scrambled to expand into other assets classes, creating funds to invest in loans and bonds, buying hedge fund managers and seeding technology companies.

In a recent feature, David Carey, Pierre Pauldin and Sabrina Willmer explained Blackstone’s new Tactical Opportunities Fund, which has the freedom to invest in a much wider range of assets than the firm’s conventional buyout funds.

In another recent story, David chronicled similar moves by Blackstone’s rival KKR to diversify.

You may have heard that Steve Schwarzman had a big 60th birthday party. That was in 2007.

This week the buzz is the 60th b’day bash for another private equity mogul, Leon Black, last weekend in the Hamptons. A New York Times story on the festivities has elicited a string of bitter reader’s comments.

That has now prompted Dan Primack, a blogger for Fortune, to come to Black’s defense in a posting headlined “Lay Off Leon.” The opening line: “A rich guy threw a party. Get over it.”

Who knew that private equity had friends?

Jonathan Gray, the unassuming co-head of Blackstone’s real estate investment business, gets his due this month in a colorful profile, “Jonathan Gray, Blackstone’s Real Estate Wizard Behind the Curtain,” in the New York Observer.

We devote a chapter to his signature deal, the buyout of Equity Office Properties in 2007, which remains Blackstone’s largest deal ever, and is likely to be one of its biggest successes.