Blackstone inked a deal to buy the hotel operator Hilton Worldwide for $27 billion just as the stock, debt and real estate markets were peaking in the summer of 2007, tapping its corporate private equity and its real estate funds each for $3 billion in equity to finance the deal — the most capital it has ever invested in a single deal.
Two years into the deal, in 2009, it looked like it might be a terrible mistake, as travel fell off in the recession and property prices plummeted. Blackstone wrote down the value of its investment by 70% on its books.
Fast forward to 2011 and the deal is in the money again, according to a Feb. 2 Wall Street Journal story — not least because the banks that had lent for the buyout and had never been able to syndicate (sell on) the loans agreed to negotiate the total owed down from $20 billion to $16 billion if Blackstone kicked in some extra cash. With business up, property values on the rise and a smaller mortgage, Blackstone now reckons that the stake is, at last, worth more than it was in 2007, the Journal reports.
The Journal story gives a good overview of the history of Blackstone’s real estate group. A fuller account, naturally, can be found in King of Capital.