Private Equity Gods Like Steve Schwarzman Can't Buy As Much They Used To


Apparently Steve Schwarzman is having trouble raising money for Blackstone.

Does anyone else think this may have something to do with why Schwarzman left the U.S. recently for Paris?

Today in Fortune, it says that private equity firms’ combined efforts can only buy about half of the large companies they were able to four years ago; 174 U.S.-listed companies are too expensive for them.

And it says that Blackstone, for example, is getting hurt by the consensus that private equity firms are just not worth investing in anymore:

A consensus has emerged that the largest private equity funds no longer return enough bang for the buck.

Blackstone only raised around $15 billion for its most recent private equity fund, despite having secured $24 billion the last time around.

Reading this, we can’t help but be reminded of Schwarzman’s recent move to Europe. We suspect that Schwarzman was motivated to move to Paris by, among other things:


  • the country’s use of mark-to-market accounting
  • Obama’s high taxes
  • He thinks the “The United States is going through a difficult time politically, and having other types of issues that everybody in this group knows about.” (He was talking to a group of Wall Streeters at a Goldman Sachs conference.)


So tie this all together and what you have is Schwarzman disagreeing with Obama’s tax proposed tax hikes, Schwarzman moving to Paris, and now apparently, Schwarzman is less able to raise money. 

So it turns out that the move is better-timed than ever. This should put any suggestion that the “Wall Street King” has fallen from where he was when he was on the cover of Fortune 4 years ago to bed. Schwarzman’s in Europe, Blackstone’s other top execs, like president, Hamilton E. James, are taking trips around the world to emerging markets. Translation: if PE is dying, at least they’re getting off their butts and doing something about it.

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