Last month, in case you missed the news, The Blackstone Group went public on the New York Stock Exchange in the most anticipated IPO since…well, since Fortress went public a few months earlier. While the Fortress offering generated its fair share of headlines, Blackstone's debut seemed to generate the type of media frenzy typically reserved for celebrity murder trials.
A few tidbits from the archives. Steve Schwarzman typically finishes a three-course lunch in about 15 minutes (The Wall Street Journal). While being honored for a “Legend in Leadership Award” at the NYSE, Schwarzman interrupted his acceptance speech to take a cell phone call—“There's a crisis going on,” he told the audience, referring to a recently introduced piece of legislation that could significantly raise taxes on private equity firms (The New York Times). And then there was the most entertaining, but least reported item among the piles of newspaper clippings and media reports: to promote her new book, The Manny, about a male nanny on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Pete Peterson's daughter filmed a music video set in her father's $37-million apartment. The clip, which can be found on YouTube, featured prominent New York City socialites, a leg-humping midget and (depending on your viewpoint) vaguely racist lyrics (The New Yorker).
Though private equity firms may be struggling with the public spotlight these days, the interaction between the public and private markets continues to accelerate. This month in Private Equity Real Estate, we report on a number of issues related to that very topic, including a profile of the real estate team at Investcorp, the publicly traded alternative asset manager (p. 26), and an analysis of whether the REIT privatization trend in the US could spread overseas (p. 52).
Our other main focus this month is Russia, a country where the press may not enjoy the freedoms of the publications listed above, but where the real estate markets are anything but bottled up. Beginning on p. 32, we explore some of the key opportunities and challenges facing private equity real estate firms in this dynamic counrty.
Of course, it's not just private equity real estate firms that are hoping to cash in on Russia's resurgence. A few years ago, Willie D, a member of the '80s rap group The Geto Boys, moved to the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan to invest in the country's nascent property market (p. 4). As Willie D himself told a rap news site: “You gotta be a dumb motherf***er to fail in real estate.”
See you on the next flight to Baku.
And enjoy the issue,