Company in Focus: Blackstone | TALNT Insights

21/05/21
Profile: Blackstone is the world's largest alternative asset manager with approximately $600 billion worth of assets under management. Born out of the 90's leveraged-buyout era, it offers private equity, hedge fund, credit and real estate solutions to clients after publicly listing in 2007. Q1 of 2020 saw the firm turnover a $1.07BN loss - its fortunes have turned with 8.1$BN from asset sales in Q1 2021. Who's joined Blackstone in the past year?
  • Blackstone began the year with Kishore Moorjani resigning from his role of head of tactical opportunities in Asia.
  • It added CEO of SaaS giant Snowflake, Frank Slootman as senior advisor in January.
  • The private equity firm followed by adding Michael Hovey as senior managing director for Blackstone Insurance from Morgan Stanley, where he worked for 23 years. 
  • In February, Shary Moalemzadeh joined as head of tactical opportunities in the US. 
  • Scott Bommer joined as chief investment officer for the new platform, Blackstone Horizon, seeking to target partnerships with investment managers.
  • Paul Morrisey will lead the Blackstone Growth Fund (BXG) in Europe that has already invested in plant-milk leader Oatly and music service Epidemic Sound.
  • The BXG will look for acquisitions in Israel’s exuberant tech sector after the appointment of Yifrat Oron as senior managing director in the new Tel-Aviv offi
  • In April, Blackstone created its first ESG roles. Elizabeth Lewis, formerly of the Global Environment Fund, was named managing director of ESG.
  • James Mandel, formerly of McKinsey, will hold the role of managing director of sustainability.
  • Nina James will become head of ESG for Real Estate in Asia.
  • Rita Mangalick has been promoted to global head of ESG for BAAM, having previously been a director for UBS asset management. 
  • Blackstone hired Jonny Bauer from Droga5 as head of brand transformation for its 200 companies - following from the rebranding of Thompson Reuters into Refinitiv in 2018.
  • Finally, in May, Paget MacColl was hired to head the $82BN hedge fund unit, replacing Oliver Mayhoras as he moves to a broader business development role. 
What can we learn from this?Blackstone's recent success is down to its growth-focused strategy, typified by its stake in Bumble’s parent company Magic Lab and Oatly. Naturally, this involves tech and sustainable acquisitions. Bumble's mammoth IPO saw it float $13BN, with Blackstone investing in 2018 when it was valued at $3BN. With Oatly set to follow with analysts reporting a $10BN market cap, it’s no wonder Blackstone is seeking to acquire an Israeli startup. Its push for sustainability, however, is likely focused on cleaning up its existing portfolio in line with incoming ESG regulation. Still, its search for an insurance acquisition shows that it is not abandoning its value investing principles. Nor does it represent a departure from shrinking holding time for private equity, after the increase from 2008 to 2015. The Refinitiv sale within a year to LSEG is emblematic of its brand focus and quick turnover time. One might look at the hires and a $4.5BN growth fund as part of a metamorphosis into a venture capitalist. But this only represents a nominal proportion of its portfolio. Expect more tech and sustainable acquisitions - coupled with those in traditional sectors like insurance and real estate too.

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