What do you get the private equity firm that has everything? If the occasion is the one-year anniversary of its IPO, the traditional answer would be paper.
So it is with The Blackstone Group, which today registered to sell an additional 818 million shares of itself. Before continuing: Yes, I know the analogy doesn’t really work — Blackstone issuing paper rather than receiving it — but it’s late and I’m too lazy to come up with a better lede. Ok, moving on…
Blackstone only had 255 million shares outstanding as of May 1, so this offering would represent a massive increase
in the number of company shares trading in the market. It also would make it easier for Blackstone employees to sell restricted holdings.
On the other hand, the proposed offering comes with a $17.85 per share sale price, compared to the $31 per share IPO price and today’s $18.25 per share closing price. So the question now facing Blackstone is whether institutional buyers will shy away from possibly being burned twice, or if they’ll double down on a cheaper bet.