BX - The Blackstone Group Inc.

NYSE - NYSE Delayed Price. Currency in USD
60.76
+0.61 (+1.01%)
At close: 4:03PM EST
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Previous Close60.15
Open60.77
Bid0.00 x 1100
Ask60.63 x 900
Day's Range60.39 - 61.39
52 Week Range32.17 - 61.39
Volume4,276,631
Avg. Volume4,053,620
Market Cap72.874B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.39
PE Ratio (TTM)110.27
EPS (TTM)0.55
Earnings DateJan 29, 2020
Forward Dividend & Yield1.96 (3.23%)
Ex-Dividend DateOct 30, 2019
1y Target Est60.33
  • Bloomberg

    Blackstone Gets Final Bids for North Sea Oil Producer

    (Bloomberg) -- Siccar Point Energy Ltd., the North Sea oil producer backed by Blackstone Group Inc., has received final bids from suitors including Chrysaor Holdings Ltd. and Equinor ASA, people with knowledge of the matter said.Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc., Chinese oil major Cnooc Ltd. and a company backed by private equity firm HitecVision AS also submitted binding offers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Many proposals fell short of the price expectations of Siccar Point’s owners, and some parties expressed interest only in certain assets, they said.Blackstone and Blue Water Energy LLP were earlier planning to seek about $2 billion to $3 billion from a sale of Siccar Point, the people said. They are now evaluating the bids and will decide whether to proceed with a transaction or hold on to the business for longer, the people said.Siccar Point’s owners started gauging interest from potential buyers last year. The company has grown through acquisitions including the $1 billion purchase of OMV AG’s U.K. unit in 2016, a deal that cemented its footprint in the British North Sea.Representatives for Blackstone, Chrysaor, Cnooc, Equinor, HitecVision, Siccar Point and Suncor declined to comment, while a representative for Blue Water didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The North Sea will continue to be an active spot for oil and gas deals this year, after $15 billion of assets changed hands in 2019, consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. said this month. Private-equity buyers have come in as larger companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. sold projects to focus on more profitable regions.Siccar Point has stakes in six projects including Rosebank, one of the U.K.’s largest undeveloped fields. The company’s overall output is expected at 16,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day this, rising to 80,000 a day by the second half of the 2020s, according to documents seen by Bloomberg last year.The Rosebank and Schiehallion projects are in waters west of the Shetland islands, a less developed area where majors still hold a strong presence. BP Plc operates the Schiehallion field, while Equinor is operator of the Rosebank development.\--With assistance from Feifei Shen.To contact the reporters on this story: Laura Hurst in London at lhurst3@bloomberg.net;Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: James Herron at jherron9@bloomberg.net, ;Ben Scent at bscent@bloomberg.net, Rakteem KatakeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Reuters

    Thyssen shortlists 3 private equity consortia in elevator sale -sources

    Thyssenkrupp has shortlisted three private equity consortia in the auction of its prized 15 billion euro ($16.62 billion) elevator business, people close to the matter said, adding that peer Kone could still submit a bid later this month. A consortium of buyout groups Advent and Cinven, which are working with Germany's RAG Stiftung remain in the running as does a bidding team led by Carlyle and Blackstone, and a third group led by Brookfield, the people said. Kone, which is working with private equity firm CVC, has been given time until January 27 to submit an offer, the sources said.

  • Bloomberg

    GSO’s Scott Says It’s Time for Caution in Fixed Income Markets

    (Bloomberg) -- The biggest and most liquid parts of credit markets are sending a “sell signal,” said Dwight Scott, president of Blackstone Group Inc.’s debt investment arm. And that’s pushing the $142 billion manager deeper into private debt.The central bank-fueled rally that drove yields on corporate bonds to almost record lows won’t persist into this year, Scott said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Friday. The Federal Reserve is projected to hold its interest rate benchmark steady in 2020 after three rate cuts last year.“I don’t think that the things that drove last year can continue,” Scott said. “It’s a time, particularly in fixed income, to be a little more cautious.”Scott said that his firm, GSO Capital Partners, sees value in what he called “protected areas” of debt markets. That includes leveraged loans, which have a higher priority in a company’s capital structure, offer floating rates, and haven’t yet rallied as strongly as high-yield bonds.Late CycleGSO, watched closely by investors because it’s one of the largest and most active debt investment firms, also likes structured products and direct lending, Scott said.Easy credit, low yields and relatively few defaults has made it difficult to invest and make money in what’s normally been one of GSO’s most-active strategies, distressed investing, Scott said. But that time will come again. “Now will set up the next distressed cycle, which is why it’s important for us to stay active,” he said.Junk bonds yield 5.01% on average, according to Bloomberg Barclays index data, near the lowest level since 2014. Leveraged loans have had a hot start to the year with the average price rising to 97.34 from 96.72 at the end of 2019, according to S&P/LSTA indexes. But the loan market has remained below its post-crisis peaks.GSO’s EvolutionBlackstone’s credit unit has undergone a series of changes over the years, winding down its hedge fund in favor of longer-term investments and naming Scott as president in June 2017.Bennett Goodman, the last of GSO’s co-founders remaining at the firm, is exiting to build a family office, Bloomberg reported in August. He wound down most of his duties by year-end, stepping down as a senior managing director and board member while continuing to advise parts of Blackstone’s business.Today the firm is building out and hiring in its structured products unit, which it will sell into the insurance markets and expand into its broader portfolio, Scott said.The firm is also hiring for its technology team both on the west and east coasts. Blackstone sees technology companies getting larger, with more buyout activity, leading to demand for more capital from the firm.Blackstone oversees around $554 billion in assets. The credit unit managed $141.9 billion as of quarter end, an increase of 9% year-over-year, making it the third-largest business unit at the firm.\--With assistance from Erik Schatzker.To contact the reporters on this story: Katherine Doherty in New York at kdoherty23@bloomberg.net;Molly Smith in New York at msmith604@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net, Shannon D. HarringtonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Charles Schwab to buy KKR? That is just one of 10 ‘outrageous’ predictions for 2020
    MarketWatch

    Charles Schwab to buy KKR? That is just one of 10 ‘outrageous’ predictions for 2020

    Antoine Dréan, chairman of private-equity advisory Triago, has published his 10 ‘outrageous’ predictions for 2020.

  • Financial Times

    US and China sign deal to pause trade war

    signed at the White House on Wednesday offers some relief following the anxiety in global markets and uncertainty for business that marked the lengthy period of economic conflict between Washington and Beijing.

  • Bloomberg

    Schwarzman Says Trade Deal Shows Huge Change in U.S.-China Ties

    (Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Steve Schwarzman, chief executive officer of Blackstone Group Inc., said the U.S.-China trade agreement shows positive change from the world’s economic superpowers.“What has been achieved is very, very significant,” Schwarzman said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Washington on Wednesday. “The two countries want to work together. This is a huge change. Tariffs are starting to be reversed.”The Blackstone co-founder has strong ties to China, started a school in the country and travels there frequently, at times functioning as an intermediary between the Washington and Beijing governments. The 72-year-old billionaire visited China eight times on behalf of the Trump administration in 2018. New York-based Blackstone, with about $554 billion of assets, is the world’s largest alternative investment manager.The U.S. and China signed what they’re billing as the first phase of a broader trade pact earlier in the day. The deal commits China to do more to crack down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by companies and state entities, while outlining a $200 billion spending spree to try to close its trade imbalance with the U.S. It also binds Beijing to avoiding currency manipulation to gain an advantage and includes an enforcement system to ensure promises are kept.“It provides a baseline of a better world economy,” Schwarzman said.To contact the reporters on this story: Heather Perlberg in Washington at hperlberg@bloomberg.net;Jason Kelly in New York at jkelly14@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sam Mamudi at smamudi@bloomberg.net, Josh FriedmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Blackstone Group (BX) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Blackstone Group (BX) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Blackstone Group (BX) closed at $58.11 in the latest trading session, marking a -0.55% move from the prior day.

  • Blackstone and Apollo Make the Case for Opening Buyout Funds to Masses
    Bloomberg

    Blackstone and Apollo Make the Case for Opening Buyout Funds to Masses

    (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc. delivered a simple message to Wall Street’s main regulator Tuesday: Private equity is stomping public markets, meaning mom-and-pop investors will endure inferior returns as long as rules keep them out.Speaking at a Securities and Exchange Commission event, top executives at the firms stopped short of urging the agency to dial back restrictions. But they came armed with data showing all the ways retail investors have been left behind. Their arguments: private markets are here to stay, less-liquid investments like corporate debt perform much better than stocks and private equity produces bigger gains with less volatility than publicly traded shares.“Private companies can now get ample funding and don’t need to do the IPO route” as early, said John Finley, Blackstone’s chief legal officer. “This is a fundamental change that regulators and the industry will have to deal with.”Stephanie Drescher, Apollo’s head of client and product solutions, added that the shift away from public markets has benefited buyout funds through increased demand and better investment opportunities.‘Growth Pales’”The growth pales in comparison to that of the private markets,” she said, referring to the size of public markets in recent years. “You can see the continued interest from the community of investors.”The comments come as the industry has a rare opportunity to get its hands on a chunk of the trillions of dollars in retail money that is now off limits because of decades-old rules. President Donald Trump’s de-regulatory agenda is sweeping through Washington and SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has pushed the agency to consider opening more private markets and deals to less-sophisticated investors.Under current regulations, Apollo, Blackstone, Carlyle Group Inc. and KKR & Co. must mostly raise funds from the super rich, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. The SEC has long been concerned about less-sophisticated clients investing in complex products and not being able to quickly get their money back, as private-equity firms typically lock up cash for years.Blackstone’s Finley was careful to insist that any loosening of rules come with strong investor protections. He suggested offering retail clients access through regulated funds or via funds that already have a significant institutional investor base, allowing mom-and-pop investors to benefit from their due diligence.‘No Interest’“We have absolutely no interest in an expansion unless it’s done right,” he said.The panel discussion, hosted by a new SEC industry advisory group, is the agency’s latest effort to deal with the mushrooming growth of private markets. In June, the regulator sought public feedback on what restrictions funds with retail money should face in investing in private equity and hedge funds.In a related move, the SEC last month proposed changing some criteria that determines who’s sophisticated enough to invest in private funds. Those adjustments could also add to to the pool of people that can invest in private equity.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Bain in Washington at bbain2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net, Gregory MottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • PR Newswire

    MGM Growth Properties and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust to Form Joint Venture to Acquire the Las Vegas Real Estate of the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay for $4.6 Billion and Simultaneously Execute Long-Term Lease with MGM Resorts

    MGM Growth Properties LLC ("MGP") (NYSE: MGP) and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc. ("BREIT") today announced that MGP and BREIT have entered into a definitive agreement to form a new joint venture to acquire the Las Vegas real estate assets of the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay for $4.6 billion. In addition, BREIT will purchase $150 million in MGP Class A shares. MGP will own 50.1% of the joint venture, and BREIT will own 49.9%.

  • Altus Power Teams Up With Blackstone to Raise $850MM for Solar Development and Investment
    PR Newswire

    Altus Power Teams Up With Blackstone to Raise $850MM for Solar Development and Investment

    Altus Power America, Inc. ("Altus Power" or the "Company"), a market-leading solar power company that provides clean electricity to commercial, industrial and municipal clients across the U.S., announced today that Blackstone (NYSE: BX), through its GSO Capital Partners LP ("GSO") and Blackstone Insurance Solutions ("BIS") groups, has led a recapitalization with $850 million of funded and committed capital to refinance the existing capital structure and fund future development.

  • Business Wire

    Blackstone Hires Former Global Atlantic Co-President and CIO Gilles Dellaert to Lead Blackstone Insurance Solutions

    Blackstone (NYSE:BX) today announced that Gilles Dellaert, former Co-President and Chief Investment Officer of Global Atlantic, a leading retirement and life insurance company, will join the firm as the Global Head of Blackstone Insurance Solutions (BIS).

  • Bloomberg

    Boeing CEO Doesn't Need a Bonus to Fix 737 Max

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Boeing Co.’s new CEO shouldn’t need an extra wheelbarrow of money to do his job.David Calhoun officially took over the top role on Monday following the December ouster of Dennis Muilenburg over his ham-handed management of the crisis engulfing the 737 Max. With the plane having now been grounded for 10 months in the wake of two fatal crashes, Boeing decided to promise its new CEO a $7 million special long-term incentive award contingent on certain “key business milestones” including the successful and safe return of the Max to service.It’s hard to overstate the importance of getting the Max flying again for Boeing. Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu had estimated the airplane maker was on track to burn through $4.4 billion of cash every quarter that the Max was grounded before it decided to halt production entirely starting this month. The work stoppage likely only cuts that cash burn in half, though, while increasing the overall cost of the program and significantly complicating the process of ramping it back up. Every passing month also means more in compensation that Boeing owes to the airlines scrambling to adjust their schedules for a lack of Max jets. As CEO, the Max’s return is Calhoun’s top priority.The thing is, a mechanism already exists that compensates executives for doing what’s expected of them in their job. It’s called a salary. Calhoun already is getting one of those to the tune of $1.4 million annually. He is also due to receive a yearly bonus with a target value of 180% of that salary – or about $2.5 million. That bonus will pay out at “no less” than the target in 2020, seemingly regardless of whether the Max is flying again. Calhoun will also receive long-term incentive awards — which are separate from the Max-related bonus — with a target value of 500% of base salary (about $7 million) and a supplemental award of restricted stock units valued at $10 million meant to compensate him for rewards he forfeited at Blackstone Group Inc. in order to take this job.Occasionally, you will hear the argument that executives need to be showered with money to make them willing to take on especially complicated situations. General Electric Co., which agreed to pay former vice-chairman John Rice $2 million a year plus health and equity benefits for a part-time role, comes to mind. I am skeptical that companies would have that hard of a time finding capable people willing to be the CEO of a major entity like Boeing or GE, no matter how much it is struggling. Most of the time, they are simply paying for the value of a well-known name. But regardless, those arguments have no place here. Calhoun has been on Boeing’s board since 2009. What happened with the Max is just as much a reflection on him as it is on Muilenburg. Salvaging his own reputation should have been incentive enough.The special $7 million bonus also drew the ire of three Democratic senators who called Monday for Boeing to scrap the payout, warning that it “represents a clear financial incentive for Mr. Calhoun to pressure regulators into ungrounding the 737 Max, as well as rush the investigations and reforms needed to guarantee public safety.” For a company that just last month was publicly dressed down by the Federal Aviation Administration for its overly optimistic timelines on the Max return and the regulator’s concern that Boeing was trying to pressure it into speeding up the process, this is an extraordinarily bold and tone-deaf move. Certainly a key part of returning the Max to service is smoothing over relations with the FAA and with Congress. So one could conceivably argue that just one day into his role, Calhoun is already not doing the job for which he is being so highly paid.The other directors on Boeing’s board blessed this compensation arrangement. To my knowledge, none of them have offered to pay back the fees they received while watching this train wreck unfold, even as they (rightly) canceled Muilenburg’s 2019 bonus. For all of Boeing’s protestations about how it’s finally turned over a new leaf when it comes to transparency and accountability, all you have to do is follow the money to know the truth.To contact the author of this story: Brooke Sutherland at bsutherland7@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Beth Williams at bewilliams@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Brooke Sutherland is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and industrial companies. She previously wrote an M&A column for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Benzinga

    London Stock Exchange To File $27B Refinitv Merger With The EU Authorities: Report

    The stock exchange company has been in talks with the Brussels-based bloc over the scope of its investigation into the merger, the FT reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The merger between Refinitiv, which is jointly owned by The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) and Thomson Reuters Corporation (NYSE: TRI), and the LSE Group was announced in August last year. Blackstone would own about 22% of the company, with LSE Group getting the rest 63%.

  • TheStreet.com

    MGM Resorts to Sell MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay Las Vegas Properties

    MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay resorts and casinos in Las Vegas will be sold to a joint venture that includes Blackstone Group.

  • Financial Times

    MGM Resorts sells casino property in $2.5bn deal

    Blackstone doubled down on its bet on real estate in the US gambling capital on Tuesday, agreeing to partner with an affiliate of casino operator MGM Resorts to buy the flagship MGM Grand property on the Las Ve­gas Strip for $2.5bn. “This transaction reflects our continuing strong conviction in Las Vegas,” said Jon Gray, president and chief operating officer of Blackstone.

  • Barrons.com

    Apollo and KKR Stocks Are Too Expensive, Analyst Says. It’s Time to Take Profits.

    Earnings for the companies haven’t improved nearly as much as their stock prices, leaving valuations stretched.

  • Moody's

    Buzz Merger Sub Ltd. -- Moody's assigns first-time B1 CFR to Buzz Merger Sub Ltd. (MagicLab) following Blackstone buyout; rates new secured debt at B1; outlook stable

    Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has assigned to Buzz Merger Sub Ltd. (d/b/a "MagicLab" or the "company") a B1 Corporate Family Rating (CFR) and B1-PD Probability of Default Rating (PDR). In connection with this rating action, Moody's assigned a B1 rating to MagicLab's proposed senior secured credit facilities, consisting of a $50 million revolving credit facility and $500 million term loan B. The rating outlook is stable. Net proceeds from the debt raise plus a $2.45 billion equity contribution from The Blackstone Group ("Blackstone"), co-investors and management (rollover equity) will be used to finance the $3 billion acquisition of MagicLab.

  • Blackstone Nears Deal to Buy Stake in Allcargo’s Unit
    Bloomberg

    Blackstone Nears Deal to Buy Stake in Allcargo’s Unit

    (Bloomberg) -- Blackstone Group Inc. has agreed to buy a stake in the warehousing unit of India’s Allcargo Logistics Ltd. for 3.8 billion rupees ($54 million) as the U.S. firm seeks to capture the demand in the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market.Allcargo’s board approved the investment on Monday, it said in an exchange filing, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. The U.S. private equity firm could further raise its stake over the next 12 months based on the achievement of pre-agreed performance milestones, which could leave Allcargo with a minority interest, the statement said.Shares of Allcargo jumped as much as 6.1% to the highest level since Nov. 8. The stock rose 4.4% at close.Blackstone is expanding into logistics in India to tap the growing demand for warehouses as companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc. invest billions of dollars in the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market. The introduction of a nationwide tax regime has also prompted demand for large storage spaces from retailers to ensure fast, last mile delivery of goods.Allcargo’s logistics division plans to build 5 million square feet of warehouses across India by 2021, the company said in a presentation in August. Consultancy EY predicted in a report last year that companies will invest $7.8 billion in warehouses in the South Asian nation by the end of 2020.(Updates the story with confirmation from Allcargo)To contact the reporters on this story: Baiju Kalesh in Mumbai at bkalesh@bloomberg.net;P R Sanjai in Mumbai at psanjai@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fion Li at fli59@bloomberg.net, Jeanette RodriguesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Legendary Wall Street investor warns of ‘several’ 5% market corrections in 2020
    MarketWatch

    Legendary Wall Street investor warns of ‘several’ 5% market corrections in 2020

    Blackstone’s Byron Wien predicts a tough year for FAANG stocks, long the leaders of this bull market.

  • Business Wire

    Blackstone Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Investor Call

    Blackstone (NYSE:BX) announced today that it will host its fourth quarter and full year 2019 investor conference call on January 30, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EST. You can listen to the call by dialing +1 (866) 318-8619 (U.S. domestic) or +1 (617) 399-5138 (international) passcode number 149 943 55.

  • Financial Times

    The hedge fund winners and losers of 2019

    With the exception of Bill Ackman, below, who had a banner year (and got married!) with a 58.1 per cent return, after a four year-long run of negative performance, many major US and European funds lagged the broader market.

  • Blackstone raises three-quarters of targeted $4.6 billion life sciences fund
    Reuters

    Blackstone raises three-quarters of targeted $4.6 billion life sciences fund

    Under its new president and chief operating officer, Jon Gray, Blackstone is seeking to diversify its investments beyond its traditional private equity, real estate, credit and hedge fund investments. Only few private equity firms have had the stomach to place bets on drug development. Bain Capital and KKR & Co Inc are other buyout firms with dedicated healthcare funds.

  • Blackstone Group (BX) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know
    Zacks

    Blackstone Group (BX) Outpaces Stock Market Gains: What You Should Know

    Blackstone Group (BX) closed at $56.76 in the latest trading session, marking a +1.54% move from the prior day.

  • Blackstone Group assembles land in Miami-Dade for large project
    American City Business Journals

    Blackstone Group assembles land in Miami-Dade for large project

    An affiliate of private equity giant Blackstone Group has added to its land assemblage in Medley as it lines up property for industrial development. Fordome Investment Group, a real estate investment firm led by Kristopher Rodriguez, sold the 2.2-acre site at 9800 N.W. 87th Ave. for $3.3 million to GPT NW 87th Avenue Owner LLC, part of the industrial arm of Blackstone (NYSE: BX). Blackstone now controls about 18.05 acres in the area, which is just west of U.S. 27.

  • Bloomberg

    Blackstone-KKR Hidden Hand in Ad Blitz Unleashes Washington Fury

    (Bloomberg) -- Confronted with the rare prospect of defeat on Capitol Hill, private equity titans Blackstone Group Inc. and KKR & Co. unleashed a national advertising blitz last year against legislation that threatened their investments in health-care companies valued at $16 billion.The $53.8 million campaign sought to derail a crackdown on surprise medical billing, in which patients are unexpectedly hit with exorbitant charges, often following visits to emergency rooms. Television ads depicted patients in trauma being denied care and urged viewers to contact lawmakers, dozens of whom were identified by name.The onslaught ended up generating a bi-partisan backlash, and a rebuke from President Donald Trump’s White House, in large part because Blackstone and KKR didn’t reveal that medical-staffing companies they owned were bankrolling the effort.“It was a dumb strategy,” said Representative Greg Walden, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating Blackstone and KKR’s investments in medical-staffing companies. “All it’s done is driven a bunch of us to double down. They would have been much better served to just come in and talk to us about their concerns.”Bad TimingThe furor comes at a time when private equity firms need allies in Washington. The industry is under attack from progressive Democrats, who accuse it of looting companies, putting Americans out of work and profiting from investments in unethical businesses. Among the chief adversaries is presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who has proposed making private-equity executives pay much higher taxes and tying their earnings to the success of companies they control.Those involved in the influence campaign say it was necessary -- even if it did irk some lawmakers -- because Blackstone and KKR have so much at stake.The bill they are fighting would effectively cap how much medical-staffing firms, which outsource doctors to hospitals, can charge patients. Blackstone completed an acquisition of TeamHealth in 2017, valuing the company at $6.1 billion. KKR bought Envision Healthcare, valued at $9.9 billion, a year later. Health-care policy analysts predict revenues would fall significantly if Congress capped the companies’ fees.QuickTake: Add ‘Surprise Billing’ to U.S. Health Care WorriesTeamHealth and Envision support competing legislation that would resolve payment disputes between medical providers and health-insurance companies through arbitration. They argue the cap would be a boon for insurers that would hurt patients by triggering doctor shortages.“A very broad coalition of doctors, patients, and bi-partisan members of Congress -- not just TeamHealth -- believes that arbitration is the right approach to end surprise medical bills,” Blackstone spokesman Matthew Anderson said in a statement. “By contrast, the insurance-industry-backed bill for government rate setting has generated widespread opposition from many quarters given concerns it would harm the availability of high-quality patient care, which is the real reason it has failed to gain support.”KKR’s Envision made similar points, saying in a statement that it “will continue advocating for an effective independent dispute resolution process that puts patients first.” KKR fully supports those efforts, Envision said.TeamHealth and Envision funded the tsunami of ads. Opponents such as Walden, who backs the bill that TeamHealth and Envision are trying to kill, concede the campaign slowed momentum on Capitol Hill.Ongoing FightBut the fight is far from over. In December, lawmakers tried to include a measure on surprise-medical billing in year-end legislation funding the federal government but couldn’t work out their differences. Key negotiators in the House and Senate have now set a deadline of May 2020 to strike a deal, at which point they intend to include a proposal in negotiations to extend funding for expiring health-care programs.TeamHealth and Envision influenced the debate via a front group called Doctor Patient Unity. One ominous ad showed an ambulance arriving at a hospital with a dark and empty emergency room -- all because of “government rate setting.”“The ads are disgusting and are only meant to take advantage of vulnerable Americans,” White House domestic policy adviser Joe Grogan, a former pharmaceutical industry lobbyist, said in a statement. “The administration remains undeterred as we meet with members of both parties to find a bi-partisan solution to end crushing surprise medical bills.”Calls from anxious voters flooded the offices of House and Senate members after the ads began to run. Once lawmakers started probing, they found out that Blackstone and KKR controlled the companies behind them. No advocacy group spent more than Doctor Patient Unity on a single issue in 2019, according to Advertising Analytics, which tracks political ads.“They’ve made a lot of enemies,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, said in an interview. “They deliberately misled the American public.”No CoverageSurprise medical billing has long been controversial. It happens when patients don’t realize that all the doctors who treat them during a hospital visit aren’t covered by their insurance.One proposal that was gaining traction last year would restrict out-of-network medical providers from billing patients the full amount for services. Instead, medical bills would be based on the median rates paid to in-network providers, likely hurting TeamHealth and Envision’s profits.With the debate heating up on Capitol Hill, Doctor Patient Unity started blanketing airwaves in July. Its biggest ad buys have been in states where lawmakers face tough re-elections this year, including North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado and Minnesota. Running the campaign is Narrative Strategies, a Washington-based communications and advocacy firm.‘Harmful Consequences’Greg Blair, a spokesman for Doctor Patient Unity at Narrative Strategies, said the group had to step up to counteract insurers, which he says have spent almost $50 million to lobby for legislation that would have “severely harmed patients.”“As the insurance industry pressed lawmakers to rush their legislation through Congress, our coalition worked to educate voters about the harmful consequences of rate setting,” Greg Blair said in a statement.At the Minnesota State Fair in August, Democratic Senator Tina Smith said voters flooded her booth to share how “completely confused” they were by Doctor Patient Unity’s campaign.Smith added that the group’s ads sent mixed messages. She felt targeted by an early version even though she was co-sponsoring the bill that TeamHealth and Envision supported. Then, with no disclosure of who was funding the ads, Doctor Patient began airing new ones thanking Smith.“You ought to at least have the guts to say who you are,” she said.Wearing BullseyeThe fight is erupting as Trump seeks re-election. Private-equity executives say privately that they expect to be wearing a bullseye in 2020, with critics shining a spotlight on policy wins the industry secured during his first term.House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters has already said she plans to hold a hearing early this year featuring executives from top firms. Meanwhile, progressive groups such as Americans for Financial Reform and United for Respect are funding anti-private equity campaigns.The scrutiny won’t be helpful should Congress turn its attention back to surprise-medical billing, something the firms’ opponents on the issue have pledged to do.“I’m going to do everything I can to keep surprise medical billing on the front burner,” retiring Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee said in an interview. “It’s a bill that almost everyone wants passed except a handful of people, including private equity firms that benefit from it.\--With assistance from Heather Perlberg and John Tozzi.To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Dexheimer in Washington at edexheimer@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jesse Westbrook at jwestbrook1@bloomberg.net, Gregory MottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.