Blackstone launching new energy fund, weighing BCP VII for 2015

  • Blackstone seeing significant demand
  • BCP VI raised more than $16 billion
  • Firm’s first energy fund raised $2.5 billion

”The marketing times (for our funds) are getting shorter,” said Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman and CEO, on the firm’s first-quarter conference call with investors in its common units. “Demand is significantly higher.”

Blackstone is planning to launch marketing for Blackstone Energy Partners II, the follow-up to Blackstone Energy Partners, which raised about $2.5 billion in its final close in September 2012. The fund series targets investments in control and control-oriented equity stakes within the energy and natural resources sector on a global basis. Blackstone Energy Partners has about $1.3 billion in available capital and a realized net IRR of 46 percent as of March 31, according to data from Blackstone.

Schwarzman said Blackstone could launch its next flagship fund, Blackstone Capital Partners VII, in 2015 after wrapping up $16 billion for its predecessor in January 2012. BCP VI began its investment period in January 2011 and has about $9.5 billion in capital available. The fund’s realized net IRR stood at 24 percent as of March 31, according to data from the firm.

In the first quarter, Blackstone’s private equity unit drew in more than $1.3 billion in commitments. It closed on $510 million for its Tactical Opportunities fund, to bring its total up to $5.6 billion for the pool. Its Blackstone Strategic Partners secondary fund-of-funds drew in $854 million to total $1.5 billion.

Reflecting its diversification efforts during the quarter, Blackstone’s real estate business raised $2.2 billion in capital, outpacing its private equity business on the fundraising trail. The firm has now raised $6.9 billion for its latest European fund, $3.5 billion for its Asian fund and $563 million for debt strategies.

All told, Blackstone’s economic net income rose to $813.9 million in the first quarter from $628.3 million in the same period a year ago, while total assets under management rose to $272 billion, up 25 percent.