Blackstone expands advisory

Global private equity giant Blackstone Group is aiming to expand its advisory business outside of the US and into Europe, sources close to the firm said. Blackstone’s corporate advisory services group focuses on a select group of clients, most of which are US-based.

This week, the firm won the mandate to advise Nasdaq-listed media company Emmis Communications on the options for its television division. The unit could sell for up to US$1bn, according to Merrill Lynch.

The advisory divisions, which cover M&A and restructuring business, have expanded rapidly since formation in 1985. The firm has represented some of the biggest restructuring clients in the US, including Xerox, Enron and telecoms firm Global Crossing.

Blackstone is also considering setting up a distressed debt hedge fund to tap into the change in the economic cycle as private equity firms pay increasingly large debt to earnings multiples for leveraged buyouts.

Banc of America Securities, Deutsche Bank Securities and JP Morgan Securities are also advising Emmis on its options for the television business, while Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison are its legal counsel.