Financial Sponsor of the Year – Large Fund

Among the many achievements scored by The Blackstone Group in 2007, the mega player cites its passing through the US$100bn mark for assets under management during the year, and the US$3bn investment by the Chinese Investment Company CIC as among the most impressive.

The Blackstone Group demonstrated that it is a fund raising heavy weight when it announced the final closing of Blackstone Capital Partners V (BCP V) at US$21.7bn last August.

At the closing, BCP V, like its predecessor funds, was raised to be invested across a broad range of sectors and geographical locations. Investments with a total enterprise value of approximately US$84bn had already been committed to BCP V. They included Nielsen Company, Michaels Stores, Alliance Data Systems, Biomet, Freescale Semiconductor, Hilton Hotels, and Center Parcs. The combined equity participation in all transactions committed to date already accounts for two-thirds of the fund’s available capital.

According to executives at Blackstone, the other standout investments made by BCP V, which is almost three-quarters invested (as of January 2008), include Catalent (formerly Cardinal Health), Health Markets, Intelenet, Stiefel, Travelport and Vistar.

Another highlight for Blackstone in 2007 was the completion of its US$4.133bn IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in June.

Priced at US$31 per common unit, in excess of 133 million units were sold, together with a 30-day option for the underwriters to purchase up to 20 million additional common units at the public offering price less underwriting discounts.

Morgan Stanley and Citi were the global coordinators of the offering and representatives of the underwriters and, together with Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank Securities, were joint bookunners.

Key hires boosted Blackstone’s capabilities during the course of the year. Mark Woodward joined the firm’s private equity group as a senior adviser in September to source and evaluate software and information technology related transactions.

Also in September, Vikrant Sawhney was appointed as a managing director in the firm’s private equity group to lead Blackstone’s activities in financing and capital markets and help oversee certain credit market related investment activities.

In June, Michael Nash was appointed as a senior managing director in the firm’s real estate group, to develop new business initiatives within the real estate sector.

Blackstone also cites new office openings in Tokyo and Hong Kong as notable events in 2007.

Commenting on the opening of the Hong Kong office in January 2007, Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman and CEO said: “We believe that significant foreign direct investment in the Chinese economy is vital to its continued growth and development and look forward to playing an integral role in that process, not only in China but throughout the Asia Pacific region.”