Blackstone prospectus sheds light on fees

In a regulatory filing ahead of a possible $4 billion IPO, the Blackstone Group laid bare much of its formerly intimate financial details.

The New York-based firm, which manages more than $31 billion in private equity investments, has generated 30% in returns from its private equity funds since 1987, according to the filing.

In 2006, the firm recorded fund management fees of $852 million, more than double the previous year’s figure of $350 million. This doesn’t include proceeds from the largest closed buyout in history, Blackstone’s $39 billion acquisition in January of the commercial landlord Equity Office Properties.

In the filing, Blackstone attributed the rise in fees to the close of a $16 billion fund, its largest private equity fund to date, and the close of two additional real estate funds.

The firm also reported $256 million in advisory fees, which was double the previous year’s take of $120 million. The fee revenue, combined with investment proceeds, gave Blackstone $2.2 billion in earnings in 2006, up twofold from 2005.

However, Blackstone did not disclose in its prospectus how much Chairman, CEO and co-founder Steve Schwarzman and his partners have earned. The filing only spells out that Schwarzman will take home a base salary of $350,000 and that management split $250 million in compensation in 2006.

Blackstone’s filing, along with the successful IPO last month of buyout-shop-cum-hedge-fund Fortress Investment Group, ups the ante for other megafirms that may be contemplating a public offering. Leading contenders include The Carlyle Group and Apollo Management.