Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s CEO, came out first and talked about how the PE shop is able to avoid major blunders like the plunge in the housing market a few years back. “I view Blackstone as a producer of intellectual capital around the world,” he said.
There were no Nazi comments this time around and Schwarzman didn’t complain about proposed changes to carried interest. He did talk about the top candidates that the buyout shop is bringing in.“The nice thing is that I couldn’t get hired at Blackstone now,” Schwarzman said. “I didn’t get the grades.”
The CEO then pointed out that one of his former Harvard business school professors was sitting in the audience. “The people that we have at Blackstone and have hired for last 15 years are truly remarkable,” Schwarzman said.
Blackstone raised $20 billion in new funds during the downcycle and has $1.6 billion of cash and liquid investments, according to slides available during the presentation.
Laurence Tosi, Blackstone’s CFO, came up next. Blackstone has “substantial dry powder to invest,” Tosi said. “That number stands at over $15 billion.”
This shouldn’t be a surprise since the PE firm just closed Blackstone VI at $13.5 billion.
Tosi was asked if Blackstone planned to buyback shares. The PE firm has $500 million to repurchase shares. “We don’t have any immediate plans to do any share repurchases right now,” Tosi said.
Garrett Moran, a Blackstone senior managing director, just said that Blackstone’s fifth fund, BCP V, is expected “to generate 2X the money.” BCP V raised $21.7 billion in 2007.
Blackstone is “shooting for $500 million” for its first clean tech fund, Moran said.
I typically find investor days useful if I’m able to attend. I wasn’t invited to this one but I’ll try to check in later in the day. If anyone who is there or is listening learns anything, please email me at email@example.com.