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June 29 (Reuters) - A direct investing initiative that Blackstone Group LP is working on in its hedge funds group involves independent management companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website on Sunday, citing people familiar with the plans.
Blackstone, best known for its private equity and real estate deals, already manages $58.3 billion in assets at its BAAM hedge funds solution division. Most of it is invested in third-party funds not run by Blackstone, yet the firm also has $5.5 billion invested directly across its entire platform.
BAAM President Tomilson Hill told Blackstone's public investor day on June 12 that the firm was working on a direct investing initiative in which "talented risk takers" would be recruited into a "condominum-like structure managed by BAAM".
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing its sources, that the recruited traders will not be Blackstone employees but will be grouped in independent management companies. Combined, the teams' investments will form a multistrategy hedge fund to be pitched to wealthy clients, the financial newspaper added.
Blackstone is in final negotiations with the first teams that will start as soon as this autumn, the Wall Street Journal said. They will each start with as much as $500 million, including borrowed money, and place a relatively small number of large, highly concentrated wagers, it added.
The move is BAAM's latest effort to diversify beyond its traditional fund-of-funds business. It has also launched a fund that takes ownership stakes in other hedge funds, as well as offerings for individual investors.
Blackstone representatives did respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler)