NEW YORK Feb 19 Blackstone Group LP
President Tony James earned $64.2 million last week by selling a
fraction of his stake in the world's largest alternative asset
manager at a time when its shares are hovering near a five-year
James, who joined Blackstone in 2002 as co-founder Stephen
Schwarzman's right-hand man and is credited with much of the
company's expansion into asset classes beyond private equity,
sold 3.5 million shares, referred to as common units, between
Feb. 13 and Feb. 15, according to a filing submitted late on
Blackstone's common units traded as high as $19.69 on
Tuesday, their highest price since May 2008, as investors bet
that a pick-up in deal activity will allow the New York-based
company to profitably exit more of its investments and
distribute dividends to shareholders.
The stock sale earned James more than he made as a top
Blackstone executive in 2011, and leaves him with 7.8 million
common units. In addition to the common units, he also held
partnership units in Blackstone that totaled 34.1 million as of
Feb. 17, 2012, according to the latest annual report.
The exact number of partnership units James currently holds
in Blackstone is not yet available. His overall stake of around
4 percent, which comes mostly from the partnership units, is
unlikely to have changed substantially as a result of last
Blackstone declined to comment on James' stock sale.
James, also chief operating officer, holds part of his
Blackstone units in a family trust. He received $52.6 million
from salary, bonus and holdings in the private equity firm in
2011, according to the latest figures available. That compares
with $54.8 million in 2010.
Blackstone completed an initial public offering in 2007, a
move that provided liquidity to founders and senior executives
that allows them to cash in on their stakes.
Among industry peers, KKR & Co LP, Apollo Global
Management LLC and Carlyle Group LP followed
Blackstone's move to go public, while TPG Capital LP and Silver
Lake Partners LP have opted for private transactions, selling
small stakes in themselves to raise cash.