Blackstone Group LP (BX:$19.3700,$0.3700,1.95%) swung to a first-quarter profit in the private-equity giant's best earnings period since it went public four years ago. Performance fees more than tripled and fee-earning assets under management rose to a record high. Blackstone also said Thursday it will retain, rather than distribute to unitholders, its realized investment gains. It will use the gains to create a renewable pool of capital to seed new products and other company developments. The retained cash will be deducted from the fourth-quarter distribution and won't affect the 10-cent distribution paid in each of the first three quarters of the year. Blackstone, the assets of which rose to a record $150 billion, is in full fundraising mode. It is in the midst of raising a real-estate fund that should be "comparably sized" to its current $10.9 billion BREP VI fund, to take advantage of distressed opportunities. "There has been huge amounts of troubled real estate financing left over from the bubble period," said Chief Operating Officer Tony James in a conference call. He said opportunities also arise as other investment managers are still hurting from property investments made just prior to the credit crunch. The buyout firm recently closed its second fund for seeding hedge funds, having raised $2.4 billion, had first close for its CNY5 billion renmenbi fund, and will soon close another fund targeting mezzanine debt. Despite a favorable financing environment, James said deal prices are "higher than expected at this stage of economic recovery," as private-equity firms and corporations are flush with cash. The firm will, instead, look for opportunities in emerging markets, energy and smaller growth companies. For Blackstone alone, uninvested capital, or "dry powder," half of which was in private-equity funds, also rose to a record $31.8 billion at the end of the quarter.
Recent/Upcoming Dividend Payouts for BX Amount Ex-Dividend Date Record Date Pay Date Declare Date Qualified? [?] Type $0.10 5/12/2011 5/16/2011 5/31/2011 4/21/2011 No Regular $0.32 3/11/2011 3/15/2011 3/31/2011 2/3/2011 No Regular $0.10 11/10/2010 11/15/2010 11/30/2010 10/28/2010 No Regular $0.10 8/11/2010 8/13/2010 8/31/2010 7/22/2010 No Regular