Blackstone’s launch was inauspicious. It would take two long years to raise their first buyout fund — two years of humiliating rejections. Their travails are chronicled in an excerpt from the book in this week’s issue of The Deal:
They opened an office on the thirty-fourth floor of the Seagram Building, the elegant Mies van der Rohe- and Philip Johnson-designed skyscraper on Park Avenue just north of Grand Central Station. Their quarters were conspicuously austere: just 3,067 square feet, which they outfitted with two desks and a used conference table. There was one other employee, Peterson’s secretary.
The funding was similarly frugal: $400,000, half from each partner, to pay Blackstone’s bills until cash started coming in. That was nothing to Peterson, who had pocketed more than $13 million in severance pay and from his cut of the money from Lehman’s sale to Shearson. Schwarzman, too, had made a bundle, $6.5 million, from the sale of his Lehman shares. But though the amount they staked to Blackstone was comparatively small, they were determined not to risk any more. They worried that if they ran through the money before Blackstone started to pay for itself, it would bode ill for their venture. More . . .