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Blackstone's first-quarter earnings surge as it cashes out on assets

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Chibuike Oguh
·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
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(In 3rd paragraph, corrects to say distributable earnings per share of 96 cents, not $96)

By Chibuike Oguh

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group Inc, the world's largest manager of alternative assets such as private equity and real estate, said on Thursday that its distributable earnings more than doubled in the first quarter to $1.2 billion as it cashed out on holdings.

Dealmaking activity surged in the quarter as a booming stock market and low borrowing costs emboldened private equity firms to sell some of their assets for top dollar.

Blackstone reported distributable earnings per share of 96 cents, surpassing the average Wall Street analyst estimate of 76 cents, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.

In its push to cash out on assets in the quarter, Blackstone floated app Bumble Inc in the stock market in a $2.2 billion initial public offering. Blackstone had paid $3 billion for a majority stake in Bumble in 2019.

Blackstone said its private equity portfolio appreciated 15.3% in the quarter, compared with an 5.8% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 stock index over the same period. Opportunistic and core real estate funds rose 5.3% and 3.2%, respectively.

Total assets under management rose to $648.8 billion, from $618.6 billion in the previous quarter, driven by strong fundraising. It ended the quarter with $148.2 billion of unspent capital.

Blackstone said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 82 cents per share.

(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York)