A Note to Blackstone
Dear Mr. Schwartzman,
It excites me to hear the rumors that your firm Blackstone may be considering listing on the public markets. This would give retail investors like me the opportunity to participate in the success of one of the most highly regarded buyout shops -- how thrilling!
Your deals over the past couple years -- including Deutsche Telecom (parent of T-Mobile), Freescale Semiconductor, Michael's Stores, VNU (now Nielsen Company), and (of course!) Equity Office Properties -- have really made investors sit up and pay attention. The team behind you is equally top-notch, and not least among its members is a fellow Penn Quaker, Jonathan Gray, who showed his mettle on the Equity Office deal. I have no doubt that a Blackstone IPO would be well received.
I'm sure you've taken note of the recent, and very successful, offering for Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG). Besides pricing at the high end of the offering range, the stock opened trading at darn near double the offering price. It's definitely a good data point as to the kind of demand that could be out there for Blackstone.
It's Fortress that actually brings me to the real reason for my note. As I wrote shortly after Fortress came public, I think highly of the Fortress team and think the prospects for the business are still extremely good. Even though I haven't seen any financials for Blackstone, I don't doubt that I could say something very similar about its business. Unfortunately, the team at Fortress made it rather difficult for public investors by leaving little behind after they took distributions. Even though the stock has fallen 26% since its debut, I'm still waiting for a fair price at which I would consider buying Fortress stock.
So, if this message in a bottle happens to reach you all the way over there in the Big Apple, and the rumors are true that an IPO could be on the way, it would be just fantastic if you would consider leaving a bit more behind for your new investors. I have taken the liberty of copying Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), your rumored lead underwriter, on this note.