Blackstone looks to listing

The Blackstone Group is reportedly close to filing for an initial public offering of the firm just weeks after Steven Schwarzman dismissed the public markets as a source of capital for buyout fundraising.

The Blackstone Group is in advanced preparations for an initial public offering of the firm that could be filed in the next two weeks, according to CNBC, the US broadcaster.

Goldman Sachs and Blackstone lawyers are writing a prospectus, while Blackstone is finding out whether investors in its funds would object to an IPO.

Citing sources familiar with the firm’s plans CNBC said: “While a final decision on whether to go public has technically not been made and rests squarely with the firm’s chairman and chief executive Steven Schwarzman, a decision has been all but made and the filing will soon follow.”

Blackstone declined to comment.

Schwarzman himself would profit significantly from decision to go public. According to CNBC, he owns about 40 percent of the firm, which banking sources value in excess of $20 billion.

The success of Fortress Investment Group’s public offering caught the attention of Blackstone and other big private equity firms. Last month Fortress opened trading at $35 after being priced at $18.50 a share.

The move would come hot on the heels of the world’s largest real estate deal. Last month the firm closed a $39 billion take-private of US Reit, Equity Office Properties.

Earlier this week at the MIPIM property show in Cannes, France, Blackstone’s co-head of global real estate Chad Pike said the firm sold $22 billion of office property within two weeks of closing the deal.

At a conference session co-sponsored by PERE and called “Alternative today, mainstream tomorrow?” Pike also said brand and size plays a key role in the investment strategy. Just last week, the firm announced the £1 billion ($1.9 billion; €1.5 billion) acquisition of Tussauds Group, which it plans to combine with Legoland theme parks, making it the world’s second largest owner of theme parks and tourist attractions behind the Walt Disney Co.