10-K 1 d10k.htm FORM 10-K Form 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

(Mark One)

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2010

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                  TO                 

Commission File Number: 001-33551

 

 

The Blackstone Group L.P.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Delaware   20-8875684

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

345 Park Avenue

New York, New York 10154

(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)

(212) 583-5000

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common units representing limited partner interests   New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.     Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.     Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein and will not be contained, to the best of the Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer  x

  

Accelerated filer  ¨    

Non-accelerated filer    ¨ (do not check if a smaller reporting company)

  

Smaller reporting company  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

The aggregate market value of the common units of the Registrant held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2010 was approximately $3,347.8 million, which includes non-voting common units with a value of approximately $1,042.8 million.

The number of the Registrant’s voting common units representing limited partner interests outstanding as of February 18, 2011 was 343,303,073. The number of the Registrant’s non-voting common units representing limited partner interests outstanding as of February 18, 2011 was 109,083,468.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

          Page  

PART I

  

ITEM 1.

  

BUSINESS

     5   

ITEM 1A.

  

RISK FACTORS

     20   

ITEM 1B.

  

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

     59   

ITEM 2.

  

PROPERTIES

     59   

ITEM 3.

  

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

     59   

ITEM 4.

  

(REMOVED AND RESERVED)

     60   

PART II

  

ITEM 5.

  

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

     61   

ITEM 6.

  

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

     64   

ITEM 7.

  

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

     66   

ITEM 7A.

  

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

     116   

ITEM 8.

  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

     119   

ITEM 9.

  

CHANGES AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

     183   

ITEM 9A.

  

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

     183   

ITEM 9B.

  

OTHER INFORMATION

     184   

PART III

  

ITEM 10.

  

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     185   

ITEM 11.

  

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

     190   

ITEM 12.

  

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

     205   

ITEM 13.

  

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

     208   

ITEM 14.

  

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES

     215   

PART IV

  

ITEM 15.

  

EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

     216   

SIGNATURES

     223   

 

2


Table of Contents

Forward-Looking Statements

This report may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which reflect our current views with respect to, among other things, our operations and financial performance. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. We believe these factors include but are not limited to those described under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this report, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our periodic filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), which are accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this report and in our other periodic filings. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

 

 

In this report, references to “Blackstone,” the “Partnership”, “we,” “us” or “our” refer to The Blackstone Group L.P. and its consolidated subsidiaries. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this report to the ownership of Mr. Stephen A. Schwarzman, our founder, and other Blackstone personnel include the ownership of personal planning vehicles and family members of these individuals.

“Blackstone Funds,” “our funds” and “our investment funds” refer to the private equity funds, real estate funds, funds of hedge funds, credit-oriented funds, collateralized loan obligation (“CLO”) vehicles, and closed-end mutual funds and management investment companies that are managed by Blackstone. “Our carry funds” refer to the private equity funds, real estate funds and certain of the credit-oriented funds (with multi-year drawdown, commitment-based structures that only pay carry on the realization of an investment) that are managed by Blackstone. “Our hedge funds” refer to our funds of hedge funds, certain of our real estate debt investment funds and certain other credit-oriented funds (including three publicly registered closed-end management investment companies), which are managed by Blackstone.

“Assets under management” refers to the assets we manage. Our assets under management equals the sum of:

 

  (a) the fair value of the investments held by our carry funds plus the capital that we are entitled to call from investors in those funds pursuant to the terms of their capital commitments to those funds (plus the fair value of co-investments arranged by us that were made by limited partners of our funds in portfolio companies of such funds and on which we receive fees or a carried interest allocation);

 

  (b) the net asset value of our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds and our closed-end mutual funds and registered investment companies;

 

  (c) the fair value of assets we manage pursuant to separately managed accounts; and

 

  (d) the amount of capital raised for our CLOs.

Our carry funds are commitment-based drawdown structured funds that do not permit investors to redeem their interests at their election. Our hedge funds generally have structures that afford an investor the right to withdraw or redeem their interests on a periodic basis (e.g., annually or quarterly), in most cases upon advance written notice, with the majority of our funds requiring from 60 days up to 95 days’ notice, depending on the fund and the liquidity profile of the underlying assets. Investment advisory agreements related to separately managed accounts may generally be terminated by an investor on 30 to 90 days’ notice.

 

3


Table of Contents

“Fee-earning assets under management” refers to the assets we manage on which we derive management and / or incentive fees. Our fee-earning assets under management equal the sum of:

 

  (a) for our Blackstone Capital Partners (“BCP”) and Blackstone Real Estate Partners (“BREP”) funds where the investment period has not expired, the amount of capital commitments;

 

  (b) for our BCP and BREP funds where the investment period has expired, the remaining amount of invested capital;

 

  (c) for our real estate debt investment funds (“BREDS”), the remaining amount of invested capital;

 

  (d) for our credit-oriented carry funds, the amount of invested capital (which may be calculated to include leverage) or net asset value;

 

  (e) the invested capital of co-investments arranged by us that were made by limited partners of our funds in portfolio companies of such funds and on which we receive fees;

 

  (f) the net asset value of our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds (except our credit-oriented closed-end registered investment companies) and our closed-end mutual funds;

 

  (g) the fair value of assets we manage pursuant to separately managed accounts;

 

  (h) the gross amount of underlying assets of our CLOs at cost; and

 

  (i) the gross amount of assets (including leverage) for our credit-oriented closed-end registered investment companies.

Our calculations of assets under management and fee-earning assets under management may differ from the calculations of other asset managers, and as a result this measure may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other asset managers. In addition, our calculation of assets under management includes commitments to, and the fair value of, invested capital in our funds from Blackstone and our personnel, regardless of whether such commitments or invested capital are subject to fees. Our definitions of assets under management or fee-earning assets under management are not based on any definition of assets under management or fee-earning assets under management that is set forth in the agreements governing the investment funds that we manage.

For our carry funds, total assets under management includes the fair value of the investments held, whereas fee-earning assets under management includes the amount of capital commitments or the remaining amount of invested capital at cost, generally depending on whether the investment period has or has not expired. As such, fee-earning assets under management may be greater than total assets under management when the aggregate fair value of the remaining investments is less than the cost of those investments.

This report does not constitute an offer of any Blackstone Fund.

 

4


Table of Contents

PART I

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Overview

Blackstone is a leading manager of private capital and provider of financial advisory services. We are one of the largest independent managers of private capital in the world, with assets under management of $128.1 billion as of December 31, 2010. Our alternative asset management businesses include the management of private equity funds, real estate funds, funds of hedge funds, credit-oriented funds, collateralized loan obligation (“CLO”) vehicles, separately managed accounts and publicly-traded closed-end mutual funds. We also provide a wide range of financial advisory services, including financial and strategic advisory, restructuring and reorganization and fund placement services.

We seek to deliver superior returns to investors in our funds through a disciplined, value-oriented investment approach. Since we were founded in 1985, we have cultivated strong relationships with clients in our financial advisory business, where we endeavor to provide objective and insightful solutions and advice that our clients can trust. We believe our scaled, diversified businesses, coupled with our long track record of investment performance, proven investment approach and strong client relationships, position us to continue to perform well in a variety of market conditions, expand our assets under management and add complementary businesses. Our businesses have yielded a significant positive impact on society through, for example, increases in employment, additional capital investment and research and development expense by our portfolio companies, increased tax revenue to federal and local governments and returns to our limited partners. Two of our primary limited partner constituencies are corporate and public pension funds. As a result, to the extent our funds perform well it supports a better retirement for hundreds of thousands of pensioners.

During 2010 many of the strategies and initiatives we have been pursuing to enhance our asset management and financial advisory businesses proved successful.

 

   

We purchased a 40% equity interest in Pátria Investments Limited and Pátria Investimentos Ltda, a leading Brazilian alternative asset manager and advisory firm that was founded in 1988. Pátria’s alternative asset management businesses manage over $4.3 billion in assets and include the management of private equity funds, real estate funds, infrastructure funds and hedge funds. Our partnership is designed to enable Blackstone’s fund investors and advisory clients to benefit from the business opportunities in Latin America’s largest economy. In addition, it will enhance our “intellectual library” by providing all of Blackstone’s businesses increased access to information and deal flow.

 

   

In January 2011, we substantially finalized our fund-raise for Blackstone Capital Partners VI L.P., our seventh private equity fund, despite a very difficult fund-raising environment for asset managers. Moreover, we were able to continue to attract investor capital across our investment funds generally as we were able to grow our fee-earning assets by 14% during 2010.

 

   

In November, we closed on an agreement to manage Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Asian real estate assets as part of enhancing our existing global real estate platform. As part of that agreement, we will also act as the new general partner for the Merrill Lynch Asian Real Estate Opportunity Fund. In the aggregate, this transaction provided us with $2.1 billion of additional assets to manage.

 

   

Our funds of hedge fund business continued to focus on its key tenets of diversification, risk management, due diligence and downside protection combined with customized and innovative investment solutions for investors. This contributed to that business continuing to be a leading global institutional funds of hedge funds investment manager with $32.9 billion in assets under management.

 

   

GSO raised capital from traditional institutional investors for a number of credit funds, as well as expanding its investor base by raising capital in the public markets for a closed-end registered

 

5


Table of Contents
 

investment company. This expanded GSO’s investor base and contributed to what we believe is one of the dominant credit investment platforms in the industry today with $31.0 billion in assets under management.

 

   

Our financial advisory practice continued to focus on growing its global capabilities and international recognition as evidenced by major advisory assignments in Europe and Asia.

 

   

Our placement business was able to successfully navigate an uncertain political and regulatory climate in the United States and return to positive revenue growth.

 

   

We issued $400 million 10-year 5.875% senior notes in the third quarter of 2010, the proceeds of which we expect to utilize to further our growth strategy.

 

   

We continued to reaffirm our commitment to corporate social responsibility with a five-year, $50 million pledge by The Blackstone Charitable Foundation to foster entrepreneurship and economic recovery in communities hardest hit by the global economic crisis.

 

   

In accordance with our sustained focus on conducting our business as a responsible corporate citizen, we reiterated our commitment to following the global Guidelines for Responsible Investment and enhanced our policies and procedures that incorporate environmental, health, safety, labor, governance and social issues into investment decision-making and ownership activities.

As of December 31, 2010, we had 106 senior managing directors and employed approximately 560 other investment and advisory professionals at our headquarters in New York and our offices in Atlanta, Beijing, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Mumbai, Paris, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney and Tokyo. We believe that the depth and breadth of the intellectual capital and experience of our professionals are key reasons why we have generated excellent returns while managing downside risk over many years for the investors in our funds. This track record in turn has allowed us to successfully and repeatedly raise additional assets from an increasingly wide variety of sophisticated investors.

Business Segments

Historically we reported our financial results across four business segments. They were: (a) Private Equity, (b) Real Estate, (c) Credit and Marketable Alternatives, which comprised our management of funds of hedge funds, credit-oriented funds and separately managed accounts, CLOs and publicly-traded closed-end mutual funds, and (d) Financial Advisory, which comprises our financial and strategic advisory services, restructuring and reorganization advisory services and Park Hill Group, which provides fund placement services for alternative investment funds.

In January 2011, we separated our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment into two new segments, Hedge Fund Solutions and Credit Businesses, and began reporting across five business segments: (a) Private Equity, (b) Real Estate, (c) Hedge Fund Solutions, (d) Credit Businesses and (e) Financial Advisory. The Hedge Fund Solutions segment, which is comprised primarily of Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, primarily manages funds of hedge funds and includes Indian-focused and Asian-focused closed-end mutual funds. The Credit Businesses segment, which principally includes GSO, manages credit-oriented funds, CLOs, separately managed accounts and debt-focused closed-end registered investment companies. We will report segment results under this structure commencing in the first quarter of 2011.

Information about our business segments should be read together with “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the historical financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

Private Equity Segment

Our Private Equity segment, established in 1987, is a global business with 114 investment professionals and offices in New York, London, Menlo Park, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai. We are a world leader in

 

6


Table of Contents

private equity investing, having managed five general private equity funds as well as one specialized fund focusing on communications-related investments. Last year we largely completed our fund-raising efforts for our seventh global private equity fund, Blackstone Capital Partners VI L.P., and we are currently investing it. In addition, we are in the process of raising an investment fund focused on clean technology assets. From an operation focused in our early years on consummating leveraged buyout acquisitions of U.S.-based companies, we have grown into a business pursuing transactions throughout the world and executing not only typical leveraged buyout acquisitions of seasoned companies but also transactions involving growth equity or start-up businesses in established industries, minority investments, corporate partnerships, distressed debt, structured securities and industry consolidations, in all cases in strictly friendly transactions. Our Private Equity segment’s multi-dimensional investment approach is guided by several core investment principles: corporate partnerships, sector expertise, a contrarian bias (e.g., investing in out-of-favor / under-appreciated industries), global scope, distressed securities investing, significant number of exclusive opportunities, superior financing expertise, operations oversight and a strong focus on value creation. Our existing Private Equity funds, which we refer to as the Blackstone Capital Partners (“BCP”) funds, invest primarily in control-oriented, privately negotiated investments and generally utilize leverage in consummating the investments they make. As of December 31, 2010, our Private Equity segment had $29.3 billion of assets under management, or 23% of our total assets under management, which does not include the assets under management of BCP VI referred to above. For more information concerning the revenues and fees we derive from our Private Equity segment, see “—Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” in this Item 1.

Real Estate Segment

We are a world leader in real estate investing with an assortment of real estate funds that are diversified geographically and across a variety of sectors. We launched our first real estate fund in 1994 and have managed six opportunistic real estate funds, two internationally focused opportunistic real estate funds, a European focused opportunistic real estate fund and a number of real estate debt-investment funds. Our real estate opportunity funds, which we refer to as the Blackstone Real Estate Partners (“BREP”) funds, have made significant investments in lodging, major urban office buildings and a variety of real estate operating companies. The BREP funds invest primarily in control-oriented, privately negotiated real estate investments and generally utilize leverage in consummating the investments they make. In addition, our real estate debt-investment funds, which we refer to generally as the Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (“BREDS”) funds, target non-controlling real estate debt-related investment opportunities in the public and private markets, primarily in the United States and Europe. In November 2010, we closed on an agreement to manage Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Asian real estate assets. As part of that agreement, we will also act as the new general partner for the Merrill Lynch Asian Real Estate Opportunity Fund. In the aggregate, this transaction provided us with $2.1 billion of additional fee-earnings assets under management. The Real Estate segment is comprised of 102 investment professionals with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Mumbai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul. Our Real Estate segment’s investing approach is guided by several core investment principles, many of which are similar to our Private Equity segment, including global scope, significant number of exclusive opportunities, superior financing expertise, operations oversight and a strong focus on value creation. As of December 31, 2010, our Real Estate segment had $33.2 billion of assets under management, or 26% of our total assets under management. For more information concerning the revenues and fees we derive from our Real Estate segment, see “—Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” in this Item 1.

Credit and Marketable Alternatives Segment

Our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment comprises our funds of hedge funds, credit-oriented funds, separately managed accounts and CLO vehicles and publicly-traded closed-end mutual funds and registered investment companies. As of December 31, 2010, our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment had $65.6 billion of assets under management, or 51% of our total assets under management. For more information concerning the revenues and fees we derive from our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment, see “—Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” in this Item 1.

 

7


Table of Contents

Hedge Fund Solutions (separate segment as of January 2011)

Our Hedge Fund Solutions segment is comprised of our Hedge Funds and our Indian-focused and Asian-focused closed-end mutual funds. As of December 31, 2010, our new Hedge Fund Solutions segment had $34.6 billion of assets under management, or 27% of our total assets under management.

Hedge Funds. Our funds of hedge funds group, which we refer to as Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (“BAAM”), was organized in 1990 and manages a variety of funds of hedge funds and separately managed accounts. Working with our clients over the past 21 years, BAAM has developed into a leading manager of institutional funds of hedge funds with 106 investment professionals and offices in New York, London and Hong Kong. BAAM’s overall investment philosophy is to protect and grow investors’ assets through both commingled and custom-tailored investment strategies designed to deliver compelling risk-adjusted returns and mitigate risk. Diversification, risk management, due diligence and a focus on downside protection are key tenets of our approach. Although certain underlying managers that BAAM invests with may utilize leverage in connection with the investments those managers make in their respective underlying hedge funds, BAAM does not utilize long-term leverage for the investments it makes in the underlying hedge funds. Our funds of hedge funds operation had $32.9 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2010. For more information concerning the revenues and fees we derive from our Hedge Fund Solutions segment, see “—Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” in this Item 1.

Closed-End Mutual Funds. In 2005, we were appointed the investment manager and adviser of two publicly-traded closed-end mutual funds called The India Fund and The Asia Tigers Fund. The India Fund, with $1.6 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2010, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “IFN.” The India Fund’s investment objective is long-term capital appreciation through investing primarily in the equity securities of Indian companies. The Asia Tigers Fund, with $72.1 million in assets under management as of December 31, 2010, trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “GRR.” The Asia Tigers Fund’s investment objective is long-term capital appreciation through investing primarily in the equity securities of Asian companies.

Credit Businesses (separate segment as of January 2011)

Our credit-oriented funds, CLOs, credit-focused separately managed accounts and publicly registered debt-focused investment companies are managed by our subsidiary, GSO Capital Partners (“GSO”), which we acquired in March 2008. GSO is a major participant in the leveraged finance markets with $31.0 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2010, or 24% of our total assets under management. Our credit-oriented businesses have 80 investment professionals and offices in New York, London and Houston. The credit-oriented funds we manage or advise include senior credit-oriented funds, distressed debt funds, mezzanine funds and general credit-oriented funds focused on the leveraged finance marketplace. In addition, GSO manages a number of credit-oriented separately managed accounts and publicly registered investment management companies. These vehicles have investment portfolios comprised of loans and securities spread across the capital structure, including senior debt, subordinated debt, preferred stock and common equity. GSO may utilize leverage in connection with the investments the credit-oriented funds, separately managed accounts or investment companies make. In addition, GSO manages 34 separate CLOs and with total assets under management of $16.0 billion focused primarily on senior secured debt issued by a diverse universe of non-investment grade companies.

Financial Advisory Segment

Our Financial Advisory segment comprises our financial and strategic advisory services, restructuring and reorganization advisory services and Park Hill Group, which provides fund placement services for alternative investment funds. Our financial advisory businesses are global businesses with 239 professionals and offices in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Menlo Park, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo.

 

8


Table of Contents

Financial and Strategic Advisory Services (“Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P.”). Our financial and strategic advisory business, “Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P.,” has been an independent provider of creative solutions in complex and critical financial advisory assignments for over 25 years. We focus on a wide range of transaction execution capabilities with respect to acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures, minority investments, asset swaps, divestitures, takeover defenses, corporate finance advisory, private placements and distressed sales with offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Atlanta, Boston, Menlo Park, Paris and Beijing. Recent clients include Aluminum Corporation of China, American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”), E.ON AG, GDF Suez S.A., Kraft Foods, Nestle S.A, Noble Group Limited, The Procter & Gamble Company, Publicis Groupe S.A., Thomson Reuters, and Xerox Corporation. The success of Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. has resulted from a highly experienced team focused on our core principles, including protecting client confidentiality, prioritizing our client’s interests, avoidance of conflicts and senior-level attention. The 20 senior managing directors in Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P. have an average of over 20 years of experience in providing corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions advice.

Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory Services. Our restructuring and reorganization advisory group is one of the leading advisers in both out-of-court restructurings and in-court bankruptcies. With offices in New York and London, our restructuring and reorganization team advises companies, creditors, corporate parents, hedge funds, financial sponsors and acquirers of troubled companies. This group is particularly active in large, complex and high-profile bankruptcies and restructurings. Some of the recent clients that we have advised include Abitibi Bowater, Actavis, Ambac Assurance Corporation, Center Parcs, DX Group, Flying J, Hawkeye, International Lease Finance Corporation, Merisant, Natural Products Group, Oerlikon and W.R. Grace. Senior-level attention, global emphasis and the ability to facilitate prompt, creative resolutions are critical ingredients in our restructuring and reorganization advisory approach. We have one of the most seasoned and experienced restructuring teams in the financial services industry, working on a significant share of the major restructuring assignments in this area. Our six senior managing directors have an average of 19 years of experience in restructuring assignments and employ the skills we feel are crucial to successful restructuring outcomes.

Fund Placement Services/Park Hill Group. Park Hill Group provides fund placement services for private equity funds, real estate funds, venture capital funds and hedge funds. Park Hill Group primarily provides placement services to unrelated third-party sponsored funds. It also assists us in raising capital for our own investment funds from time to time and providing insights into new alternative asset products and trends. Park Hill Group and our investment funds each benefit from the others’ relationships with both limited partners and other fund sponsors.

Financial and Other Information by Segment

Financial and other information by segment for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 is set forth in Note 20. “Segment Reporting” in the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” in “Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this filing.

Pátria Investments

On October 1, 2010, we purchased a 40% equity interest in Pátria Investments Limited and Pátria Investimentos Ltda. (collectively, “Pátria”). Pátria is a leading Brazilian alternative asset manager and advisory firm that was founded in 1988. Pátria’s alternative asset management businesses manage over $4.3 billion in assets and include the management of private equity funds ($1.4 billion), real estate funds ($0.7 million), an infrastructure fund ($1.5 billion) and hedge funds ($0.7 million). Pátria has approximately 140 employees and is led by a group of four managing partners. Our investment in Pátria is a minority, non-controlling investment, which we will record using the equity method of accounting. We have representatives on Pátria’s board of directors in proportion to our ownership, but we do not control the day-to-day management of the firm or the investment decisions of their funds, all of which will continue to reside with the four managing partners.

 

9


Table of Contents

Patria has raised three private equity funds and is in the process of raising a fourth, with a primary focus on high-growth industries in Brazil. Pátria has successfully built leading companies through its operational approach and add-on acquisitions. Within real estate, Pátria’s two funds center on Brazilian real estate development, particularly build-to-suit, sale leaseback and buy-lease transactions. Pátria’s infrastructure fund has concentrated on renewable energy generation, including early stage projects in Brazil. In addition, Pátria is in the process of raising a new infrastructure fund with a broad mandate for infrastructure throughout Brazil. The firm’s capital management group manages a variety of hedge funds with strategies in Brazilian and international equities, Brazilian credit opportunities and money markets. Pátria’s investors are diversified and span Brazilian institutional and high-net worth investors and international institutional investors. The funds generally have similar fee and carried interest arrangements as Blackstone investment funds.

Pátria’s advisory business focuses on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic alliances, restructuring and reorganizations, corporate finance, and financial/economic appraisals.

Investment Process and Risk Management

We maintain a rigorous investment process across all of our funds, accounts and other investment vehicles. Each fund, account or other vehicle has investment policies and procedures that generally contain requirements and limitations for investments, such as limitations relating to the amount that will be invested in any one investment and the types of industries or geographic regions in which the fund, account or other vehicle will invest.

Private Equity Funds

Our Private Equity investment professionals are responsible for selecting, evaluating, structuring, diligencing, negotiating, executing, managing and exiting investments, as well as pursuing operational improvements and value creation. After an initial selection, evaluation and diligence process, the relevant team of investment professionals (i.e., the deal team) will present a proposed transaction at a weekly review committee meeting comprised of senior managing directors of our Private Equity segment. Review committee meetings are led by an executive committee of several senior managing directors of our Private Equity segment. After discussing the contemplated transaction with the deal team, the review committee decides whether to give its preliminary approval to the deal team to continue pursuing the investment opportunity and investigate further any particular issues raised by the review committee during the process.

Once a proposed transaction has reached a more advanced stage, it undergoes a detailed interim review by the review committee of our private equity funds. Following assimilation of the review committee’s input and its decision to proceed with a proposed transaction, the proposed investment is vetted by the investment committee. The investment committee of our private equity funds is composed of Stephen A. Schwarzman, Hamilton E. James and selected senior managing directors of our Private Equity segment as appropriate based on the location and sector of the proposed transaction. The investment committee is responsible for approving all investment decisions made on behalf of our private equity funds. Both the review committee and the investment committee processes involve a consensus approach to decision making among committee members.

The investment professionals of our private equity funds are responsible for monitoring an investment once it is made and for making recommendations with respect to exiting an investment. In addition to members of a deal team and our portfolio operations group, which is responsible for monitoring and assisting in enhancing portfolio companies’ operations and value, all professionals in the Private Equity segment meet several times each year to review the performance of the funds’ portfolio companies.

Real Estate Funds

Our real estate operation has an investment committee similar to that described under “—Private Equity Funds.” The real estate investment committee, which includes Mr. Schwarzman, Mr. James and the senior

 

10


Table of Contents

managing directors in the Real Estate segment, scrutinizes potential transactions, provides guidance and instructions at the appropriate stage of each transaction and approves the making and disposition of each BREP fund investment. In addition, the committee approves significant illiquid investments by the BREDS funds.

The investment professionals of our real estate funds are responsible for monitoring an investment once it is made and for making recommendations with respect to exiting an investment. In addition to members of a deal team and our asset management group responsible for monitoring and assisting in enhancing portfolio companies’ operations and value, senior professionals in the Real Estate segment meet several times each year to review the performance of the funds’ portfolio companies and investments.

Funds of Hedge Funds

Before deciding to invest in a new hedge fund, our funds of hedge funds team conducts extensive due diligence, including an on-site “front office” review of the hedge fund’s performance, investment terms, investment strategy and investment personnel, a “back office” review of the hedge fund’s operations, processes, risk management and internal controls, industry reference checks and a legal review of the fund investment structures and legal documents. Once initial due diligence procedures are completed and the investment professionals are satisfied with the results of the review, the team will present the potential hedge fund investment to the investment committee of our funds of hedge funds operation. The investment committee is comprised of the senior managing directors on the investment team and other senior investment personnel. This committee meets formally at least once a month to review, and potentially approve, investment and divestment suggestions. If the investment committee approves a potential hedge fund investment, the executive committee of our funds of hedge funds operation, chaired by Blackstone Vice Chairman J. Tomilson Hill, will make the ultimate decision to approve an investment decision. Members of our funds of hedge funds team monitor and review existing hedge fund investments at least weekly. Additionally, Mr. Hill and other senior members of our funds of hedge funds teams meet weekly with Mr. Schwarzman and Mr. James to monitor and review our funds of hedge funds.

Mutual Funds

Our two Asia-focused closed-end mutual funds, The India Fund and The Asia Tigers Fund, are managed by Punita Kumar-Sinha, the Chief Investment Officer of the funds, with the support of 10 investment professionals located in India, Hong Kong and the United States. The investment process blends fundamental analysis and quantitative tools utilizing a knowledge base developed from corporate and government relationships in India and Asia. This approach includes frequent discussions with management and research based in the region, careful consideration of the macroeconomic and political environments, and the ongoing review of quantitative signals, tools and investment thesis to appropriately manage the funds in changing market conditions. Risk management includes the evaluation of stock specific and systemic risk, forecast tracking error and volatility and the determination of liquidity, position and industry concentration limits. The funds are supported by a dedicated Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and operations team.

Credit Businesses

Each of our credit-oriented funds has an investment committee similar to that described under “—Private Equity Funds.” The investment committees for the credit-oriented funds, each of which includes Bennett J. Goodman, J. Albert Smith III and Douglas I. Ostrover and senior members of the respective investment teams associated with each fund, review potential transactions, provide input regarding the scope of due diligence and approve recommended investments and dispositions. These investment committees have delegated certain abilities to approve investments and dispositions to credit committees within each operation which consist of the senior members of the respective investment teams associated with each fund. In addition, senior members of GSO, including Mr. Goodman, Mr. Smith III and Mr. Ostrover, meet weekly with Mr. Schwarzman and Mr. James to discuss investment and risk management activities and market conditions.

 

11


Table of Contents

The investment decisions for each of our CLOs and publicly registered investment management companies, are made by a separate investment committee, which is composed of the group’s senior managing directors and managing directors. The investment committee approves all assets prior to the initial investment by any investment vehicle in such asset. The investment team is staffed by 32 professionals, organized across areas of research, portfolio management, trading, and capital formation to ensure active management of the portfolios and to afford focus on all aspects of our CLOs and publicly registered investment management companies. Investment decisions follow a consensus-based approach and require unanimous approval of the investment committee. Industry-focused research analysts provide the committee with a formal and comprehensive review of any new investment recommendation, while our portfolio managers and trading professionals provide opinions on other technical aspects of the recommendation. Once approved, investments are subject to predetermined periodic reviews to assess their continued fit within the funds. Our research team constantly monitors the operating performance of the underlying issuers, while portfolio managers, in concert with our traders, focus on optimizing asset composition to maximize value for our investors.

Structure and Operation of Our Investment Funds

We conduct the sponsorship and management of our carry funds and other similar vehicles primarily through a partnership structure in which limited partnerships organized by us accept commitments and/or funds for investment from institutional investors and (to a limited extent) high net worth individuals. Such commitments are generally drawn down from investors on an as needed basis to fund investments over a specified term. All of our private equity and real estate funds are commitment structured funds, except for two of our real estate debt funds which are structured like hedge funds where all of the committed capital is funded on or promptly after the investor’s subscription date and cash proceeds resulting from the disposition of investments can be reused indefinitely for further investment, subject to certain investor withdrawal rights. Our credit-oriented funds are generally commitment structured funds or hedge funds where the investor’s capital is fully funded into the fund upon or soon after the subscription for interests in the fund. Three of our credit-oriented vehicles are publicly registered investment management companies. The CLO vehicles we manage are structured investment vehicles that are generally private companies with limited liability. Most of our funds of hedge funds are structured as funds where the investor’s capital is fully funded into the fund upon the subscription for interests in the fund. Our investment funds are generally organized as limited partnerships with respect to U.S. domiciled vehicles and limited liability (and other similar) companies with respect to non-U.S. domiciled vehicles. In the case of our separately managed accounts, the investor, rather than us, generally controls the investment vehicle that holds or has custody of the investments we advise the vehicle to make.

Our investment funds, separately managed accounts and other vehicles are generally advised by a Blackstone entity serving as investment adviser which is registered under the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940, or “Advisers Act.” Substantially all of the responsibility for the day-to-day operations of each investment vehicle is typically delegated to the Blackstone entity serving as investment adviser pursuant to an investment advisory (or similar) agreement. Generally, the material terms of our investment advisory agreements relate to the scope of services to be rendered by the investment adviser to the applicable vehicle, the calculation of management fees to be borne by investors in our investment vehicles, the calculation of and the manner and extent to which other fees received by the investment adviser from fund portfolio companies serve to offset or reduce the management fees payable by investors in our investment funds and certain rights of termination with respect to our investment advisory agreements. For a discussion of the management fees to which our investment advisers are entitled across our various types of investment funds, please see “—Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” below. With the exception of the registered investment companies described below, the investment vehicles themselves do not generally register as investment companies under the U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940, or “1940 Act,” in reliance on Section 3(c)(7) or Section 7(d) thereof or, typically in the case of vehicles formed prior to 1997, Section 3(c)(1) thereof. Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act exempts from its registration requirements investment vehicles privately placed in the United States whose securities are owned exclusively by persons who, at the time of acquisition of such securities, are “qualified purchasers” as defined under the 1940 Act. Section 3(c)(1) of the 1940 Act excepts from its registration requirements privately placed investment

 

12


Table of Contents

vehicles whose securities are beneficially owned by not more than 100 persons. In addition, under current interpretations of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), Section 7(d) of the 1940 Act exempts from registration any non-U.S. investment vehicle all of whose outstanding securities are beneficially owned either by non-U.S. residents or by U.S. residents that are qualified purchasers.

In some cases, one or more of our investment advisers advises funds registered under the 1940 Act. For example, one of our investment advisers advises the two publicly-traded closed-end mutual funds, The India Fund and The Asia Tigers Fund. In addition, GSO serves as an investment advisor to two publicly-traded closed-end investment management companies and as a sub-adviser to a registered investment advisor, which manages a closed-end investment management company called FS Investment Corporation that is registered as a business development company under the 1940 Act.

In addition to having an investment adviser, each investment fund that is a limited partnership, or “partnership” fund, also has a general partner that makes all operational and investment decisions relating to the conduct of the investment fund’s business. Furthermore, all decisions concerning the making, monitoring and disposing of investments are made by the general partner. The limited partners of the partnership funds take no part in the conduct or control of the business of the investment funds, have no right or authority to act for or bind the investment funds and have no influence over the voting or disposition of the securities or other assets held by the investment funds. These decisions are made by the investment fund’s general partner in its sole discretion. With the exception of certain of our funds of hedge funds and certain credit-oriented funds, third-party investors in our funds have the right to remove the general partner of the fund or to accelerate the liquidation date of the investment fund without cause by a simple majority vote. In addition, the governing agreements of our investment funds provide that in the event certain “key persons” in our investment funds do not meet specified time commitments with regard to managing the fund (for example, both of Stephen A. Schwarzman and Hamilton E. James in the case of our private equity funds), then investors in certain funds have the right to vote to terminate the investment period by a simple majority vote in accordance with specified procedures, accelerate the withdrawal of their capital on an investor-by-investor basis, or the fund’s investment period will automatically terminate and the vote of a simple majority of investors is required to restart it.

Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure

The investment adviser of each of our carry funds generally receives an annual management fee that ranges from 1% to 1.65% of the investment fund’s capital commitments during the investment period and from 0.75% to 1.75% of invested capital after the investment period, except that the investment advisers to certain of our credit-oriented and real estate debt carry funds receive an annual management fee that ranges from 1.0% to 1.5% of invested capital throughout the term of the fund. The investment adviser of each of our credit-oriented and certain of our real estate debt funds that are structured like a hedge fund generally receives an annual management fee that ranges from 0.75% to 2.0% of the fund’s net asset value and for general partners or similar entities a performance-based allocation fee (or similar incentive fee) equal to a range of 10% to 20% of the applicable fund’s net capital appreciation per annum, subject to certain net loss carry-forward provisions (known as a “high water mark”). The investment adviser of each of our funds of hedge funds and separately managed accounts that invest in hedge funds is generally entitled to a management fee with respect to each fund it manages ranging from 0.65% to 1.5% of assets under management per annum plus, in some cases, an incentive fee generally ranging from 5% to 10% of the applicable fund’s net appreciation per annum, subject to a highwater mark and in some cases a preferred return. The investment adviser of each of our CLOs receives annual management fees typically equal to 0.40% to 1.25% of each fund’s total assets, subject to certain performance measures related to the underlying assets the vehicle owns, and additional management fees which are incentive-based (that is, subject to meeting certain return criteria). The investment adviser of our credit-oriented separately managed accounts receives annual management fees typically equal to 0.35% to 1.50% of each account’s invested capital or net asset value. The investment adviser of our Indian-focused and Asian-focused closed-end mutual funds receives an annual management fee that ranges from 0.75% to 1.1% depending on the amount of assets in the applicable fund. The investment adviser to our three credit-oriented publicly

 

13


Table of Contents

registered closed-end management investment companies receives annual management fees typically equal to 1.5% of each company’s net asset value or total managed assets. In addition, for the business development company we sub-advise, we receive an incentive fee of 10% of the vehicle’s net appreciation per annum, subject to a preferred return.

The management fees we receive from our carry funds are payable on a regular basis (typically quarterly) in the contractually prescribed amounts noted above over the life of the fund and do not depend on the investment performance of the fund. The management fees we receive from our hedge funds have similar characteristics, except that such funds often afford investors increased liquidity through annual, semi-annual or quarterly withdrawal or redemption rights following the expiration of a specified period of time when capital may not be withdrawn (typically between one and three years) and the amount of management fees to which the investment adviser is entitled with respect thereto will proportionately increase as the net asset value of each investor’s capital account grows and will proportionately decrease as the net asset value of each investor’s capital account decreases. The management fees we receive from our separately managed accounts are generally paid on a regular basis (typically quarterly) and may alternatively be based on invested capital or proportionately increase or decrease based on the net asset value of the separately managed account. In each case the management fees we are paid for managing a separately managed account will generally be subject to contractual rights the investor has to terminate our management of an account on as short as 30 days’ prior notice. The management fees we receive from the publicly traded investment management companies we manage are generally paid on a regular basis (typically quarterly) and proportionately increase or decrease based on the net asset value of the investment management company. The management fees we are paid for managing the investment management company will generally be subject to contractual rights the company’s board of directors (or, in the case of the business development company we manage, the investment advisor) has to terminate our management of an account on as short as 30 days’ prior notice.

The general partner or an affiliate of each of our carry funds also receives carried interest from the investment fund. Carried interest entitles the general partner (or an affiliate) to a preferred allocation of income and gains from a fund. The carried interest is typically structured as a net profits interest in the applicable fund. In the case of our carry funds, carried interest is calculated on a “realized gain” basis, and each general partner is generally entitled to a carried interest equal to 20% of the net realized income and gains (generally taking into account unrealized losses) generated by such fund, except that the general partners (or affiliates) of certain of our credit-oriented and real estate debt funds are entitled to a carried interest that ranges from 10% to 15% depending on the specific fund. Net realized income or loss is not netted between or among funds. For most carry funds, the carried interest is subject to an annual preferred limited partner return ranging from 7.0% to 10.0%, subject to a catch-up allocation to the general partner. If, at the end of the life of a carry fund or earlier with respect to our real estate funds, as a result of diminished performance of later investments in a carry fund’s life, the carry fund has not achieved investment returns that (in most cases) exceed the preferred return threshold or (in all cases) the general partner receives in excess of 20% (10% or 15% in the case of certain of our credit-oriented and real estate debt carry funds) of the fund’s net profits over the life of the fund, we will be obligated to repay an amount equal to the carried interest that was previously distributed to us that exceeds the amounts to which we are ultimately entitled. This obligation is known as a “clawback” obligation and is an obligation of any person who directly received such carried interest, including us and our employees who participate in our carried interest plans. Although a portion of any distributions by us to our unitholders may include any carried interest received by us, we do not intend to seek fulfillment of any clawback obligation by seeking to have our unitholders return any portion of such distributions attributable to carried interest associated with any clawback obligation. The clawback obligation operates with respect to a given carry fund’s own net investment performance only and performance fees of other funds are not netted for determining this contingent obligation. Moreover, although a clawback obligation is several, the governing agreements of most of our funds provide that to the extent another recipient of carried interest (such as a current or former employee) does not fund his or her respective share, then we and our employees who participate in such carried interest plans may have to fund additional amounts (generally up to an additional 50%) beyond what we actually received in carried interest, although we will retain the right to pursue any remedies that we have under such governing agreements against those carried interest

 

14


Table of Contents

recipients who fail to fund their obligations. We have recorded a contingent repayment obligation equal to the amount that would be due on December 31, 2010, if the various carry funds were liquidated at their current carrying value. Our ability to generate carried interest is an important element of our business and carried interest has historically accounted for a very significant portion of our income.

For additional information concerning the clawback obligations we could face, see “—Item 1A. Risk Factors—We may not have sufficient cash to pay back ‘clawback’ obligations if and when they are triggered under the governing agreements with our investors.”

Many of our investment advisors, especially private equity and real estate advisors, receive customary fees (e.g., acquisition fees or origination fees) upon consummation of many of the funds’ transactions, receive monitoring fees from many of the funds’ portfolio companies for continued advice from the investment adviser, and may from time to time receive disposition and other fees in connection with their activities. The acquisition fees which they receive are generally calculated as a percentage (that generally can range up to 1%) of the total enterprise value of the acquired entity. Most of our carry funds are required to reduce the management fees charged to their limited partner investors by 50% to 100% of such transaction fees and certain other fees that they receive.

Capital Invested In and Alongside Our Investment Funds

To further align our interests with those of investors in our investment funds, we have invested the firm’s capital and that of our personnel in the investment funds we sponsor and manage. Minimum general partner capital commitments to our investment funds are determined separately with respect to our investment funds and, generally, are less than 5% of the assets of any particular fund. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Our Sources of Cash and Liquidity Needs” for more information regarding our minimum general partner capital commitments to our funds. We determine whether to make general partner capital commitments to our funds in excess of the minimum required commitments based on a variety of factors, including estimates regarding liquidity over the estimated time period during which commitments will be funded, estimates regarding the amounts of capital that may be appropriate for other opportunities or other funds we may be in the process of raising or are considering raising, prevailing industry standards with respect to sponsor commitments and our general working capital requirements. In some cases, we require our senior managing directors and other professionals to fund a portion of the general partner capital commitments to our funds. In other cases, we may from time to time on an annual basis offer to our senior managing directors and employees a part of the general partner commitments to our investment funds. Our general partner capital commitments are funded with cash and not with carried interest or deferral of management fees.

Investors in many of our funds also receive the opportunity to make additional “co-investments” with the investment funds. Our senior managing directors and employees, as well as Blackstone itself, also have the opportunity to make co-investments, which we refer to as “side-by-side investments,” with many of our carry funds. Co-investments and side-by-side investments are investments in portfolio companies or other assets on the same terms and conditions as those acquired by the applicable fund. Co-investments refer to investments arranged by us that are made by our limited partner investors (and other investors in some instances) in a portfolio company or other assets alongside an investment fund. In certain cases, limited partner investors may pay additional management fees or carried interest in connection with such co-investments. Side-by-side investments are similar to co-investments but are made by senior managing directors, employees and certain affiliates of Blackstone pursuant to a binding election, subject to certain limitations, submitted in January of each year for the estimated activity during the ensuing 12 months under which those persons are permitted to make investments alongside a particular carry fund in all transactions of that fund for that year. Our side-by-side investments are funded in cash and are not generally subject to management fees or carried interest.

 

15


Table of Contents

Competition

The asset management and financial advisory industries are intensely competitive, and we expect them to remain so. We compete both globally and on a regional, industry and niche basis. We compete on the basis of a number of factors, including investment performance, transaction execution skills, access to capital, access to and retention of qualified personnel, reputation, range of products and services, innovation and price.

Asset Management. We face competition both in the pursuit of outside investors for our investment funds and in acquiring investments in attractive portfolio companies and making other investments. Depending on the investment, we face competition primarily from sponsors managing other private equity funds, specialized investment funds, hedge funds and other pools of capital, other financial institutions including sovereign wealth funds, corporate buyers and other parties. Several of these competitors have significant amounts of capital and many of them have similar investment objectives to us, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities. Some of these competitors may also have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources or other resources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to investment opportunities. Competitors may also be subject to different regulatory regimes or rules that may provide them more flexibility or better access to pursue transactions or raise capital for their investment funds. In addition, some of these competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments that we want to make. Corporate buyers may be able to achieve synergistic cost savings with regard to an investment or be perceived by sellers as otherwise being more desirable bidders, which may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for an investment. Lastly, any increase in the allocation of amounts of capital to alternative investment strategies by institutional and individual investors could lead to a reduction in the size and duration of pricing inefficiencies that many of our investment funds seek to exploit.

Financial Advisory. Our competitors are other advisory, investment banking and financial firms. Our primary competitors in our financial advisory business are large financial institutions, many of which have far greater financial and other resources and much broader client relationships than us and (unlike us) have the ability to offer a wide range of products, from loans, deposit-taking and insurance to brokerage and a wide range of investment banking services, which may enhance their competitive position. Our competitors also have the ability to support investment banking, including financial advisory services, with commercial banking, insurance and other financial services and products in an effort to gain market share, which puts us at a competitive disadvantage and could result in pricing pressures that could materially adversely affect our revenue and profitability. In the current market environment, we are also seeing increased competition from independent boutique advisory firms focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions and other strategic advisory and/or restructuring services. In addition, Park Hill Group operates in a highly competitive environment and the barriers to entry into the fund placement business are low.

In all of our businesses, competition is also intense for the attraction and retention of qualified employees. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our businesses will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees.

For additional information concerning the competitive risks that we face, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Asset Management Business—The asset management business is intensely competitive” and “—Risks Related to Our Financial Advisory Business—We face strong competition from other financial advisory firms”.

Employees

As of December 31, 2010, we employed approximately 1,440 people, including our 106 senior managing directors and approximately 560 other investment and advisory professionals. We strive to maintain a work environment that fosters professionalism, excellence, integrity and cooperation among our employees.

 

16


Table of Contents

Regulatory and Compliance Matters

Our businesses, as well as the financial services industry generally, are subject to extensive regulation in the United States and elsewhere.

All of the investment advisers of our investment funds operating in the U.S. are registered as investment advisers with the SEC (other investment advisers are registered in non-U.S. jurisdictions). Registered investment advisers are subject to the requirements and regulations of the Advisers Act. Such requirements relate to, among other things, fiduciary duties to clients, maintaining an effective compliance program, solicitation agreements, conflicts of interest, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, disclosure requirements, limitations on agency cross and principal transactions between an adviser and advisory clients and general anti-fraud prohibitions.

Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P., a subsidiary of ours through which we conduct our financial advisory business, is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC, is a member of The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or “FINRA,” and is registered as a broker-dealer in 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Park Hill Group LLC is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC, is a member of FINRA and is registered as a broker-dealer in numerous states. Park Hill Group Real Estate Group LLC is also registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC, is a member of FINRA and is registered as a broker-dealer in numerous states. Our broker-dealer entities are subject to regulation and oversight by the SEC. In addition, FINRA, a self-regulatory organization that is subject to oversight by the SEC, adopts and enforces rules governing the conduct, and examines the activities, of its member firms, including our broker-dealer entities. State securities regulators also have regulatory or oversight authority over our broker-dealer entities.

Broker-dealers are subject to regulations that cover all aspects of the securities business, including sales methods, trade practices among broker-dealers, use and safekeeping of customers’ funds and securities, capital structure, record keeping, the financing of customers’ purchases and the conduct and qualifications of directors, officers and employees. In particular, as a registered broker-dealer and member of a self-regulatory organization, we are subject to the SEC’s uniform net capital rule, Rule 15c3-1. Rule 15c3-1 specifies the minimum level of net capital a broker-dealer must maintain and also requires that a significant part of a broker-dealer’s assets be kept in relatively liquid form. The SEC and various self-regulatory organizations impose rules that require notification when net capital falls below certain predefined criteria, limit the ratio of subordinated debt to equity in the regulatory capital composition of a broker-dealer and constrain the ability of a broker-dealer to expand its business under certain circumstances. Additionally, the SEC’s uniform net capital rule imposes certain requirements that may have the effect of prohibiting a broker-dealer from distributing or withdrawing capital and requiring prior notice to the SEC for certain withdrawals of capital.

Two of our subsidiaries, The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP and GSO Capital Partners International LLP (“GSO International”), are regulated by the U.K. Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) and are authorized investment managers in the United Kingdom. The U.K. Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, or “FSMA,” and rules promulgated thereunder govern all aspects of our investment business in the United Kingdom, including sales, research and trading practices, provision of investment advice, use and safekeeping of client funds and securities, regulatory capital, record keeping, margin practices and procedures, approval standards for individuals, anti-money laundering, periodic reporting and settlement procedures. Pursuant to the FSMA, certain of our subsidiaries are subject to regulations promulgated and administered by the U.K. Financial Services Authority.

In addition, each of the closed-end mutual funds and investment management companies we manage is registered under the 1940 Act as a closed-end investment company. The closed-end mutual funds and investment management companies and the entities that serve as those vehicles’ investment advisers are subject to the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder, which among other things regulate the relationship between a registered investment company and its investment adviser and prohibit or severely restrict principal transactions and joint transactions.

The SEC and various self-regulatory organizations have in recent years increased their regulatory activities in respect of asset management firms.

 

17


Table of Contents

Certain of our businesses are subject to compliance with laws and regulations of U.S. federal and state governments, non-U.S. governments (including, without limitation, India, Japan and Hong Kong), their respective agencies and/or various self-regulatory organizations or exchanges relating to, among other things, marketing of investment products, the privacy of client information, and any failure to comply with these regulations could expose us to liability and/or damage our reputation. Our businesses have operated for many years within a legal framework that requires our being able to monitor and comply with a broad range of legal and regulatory developments that affect our activities. However, additional legislation, changes in rules promulgated by self-regulatory organizations or changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules, either in the United States or elsewhere, may directly affect our mode of operation and profitability.

Rigorous legal and compliance analysis of our businesses and investments is important to our culture and risk management. In addition, disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting are documented, tested and assessed for design and operating effectiveness in compliance with the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. We strive to maintain a culture of compliance through the use of policies and procedures such as oversight compliance, codes of conduct, compliance systems, communication of compliance guidance and employee education and training. Our enterprise risk management function further analyzes our business, investment, and other key risks, reinforcing their importance in our environment. We have a compliance group that monitors our compliance with all of the regulatory requirements to which we are subject and manages our compliance policies and procedures. Our Chief Legal Officer supervises our compliance group, which is responsible for addressing all regulatory and compliance matters that affect our activities. Our compliance policies and procedures address a variety of regulatory and compliance risks such as the handling of material non-public information, position reporting, personal securities trading, valuation of investments on a fund-specific basis, document retention, potential conflicts of interest and the allocation of investment opportunities.

Our compliance group also monitors the information barriers that we maintain between each of our different businesses. We believe that our various businesses’ access to the intellectual knowledge and contacts and relationships that reside throughout our firm benefits all of our businesses. However, in order to maximize that access without compromising our compliance with the legal and contractual obligations to which we are subject, our compliance group oversees and monitors the communications between or among our firm’s different businesses to facilitate regulatory compliance.

The firm also has an Internal Audit department with a global mandate and dedicated resources that provides risk-based audit, Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance, and enterprise risk management functions. Internal Audit aims to provide reasonable, independent, and objective assurance to our management and the board of directors of our general partner that risks are well-managed and that controls are appropriate and effective.

There are a number of pending or recently enacted legislative and regulatory initiatives in the United States and in Europe that could significantly affect our business. Please see “Regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business” and “Recent regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business” in “Part I. Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business.”

 

18


Table of Contents

Available Information

The Blackstone Group L.P. is a Delaware limited partnership that was formed on March 12, 2007.

We file annual, quarterly and current reports and other information with the SEC. These filings are available to the public over the internet at the SEC’s web site at http://www.sec.gov. You may also read and copy any document we file at the SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room.

Our principal internet address is www.blackstone.com. We make available free of charge on or through www.blackstone.com our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. The contents of our website are not, however, a part of this report.

 

19


Table of Contents
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Risks Related to Our Business

Difficult market conditions can adversely affect our business in many ways, including by reducing the value or performance of the investments made by our investment funds, reducing the ability of our investment funds to raise or deploy capital and reducing the volume of the transactions involving our financial advisory business, each of which could materially reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our financial condition.

Our business is materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions or events throughout the world that are outside our control, including but not limited to changes in interest rates, availability of credit, inflation rates, economic uncertainty, changes in laws (including laws relating to taxation), trade barriers, commodity prices, currency exchange rates and controls and national and international political circumstances (including wars, terrorist acts or security operations). These factors may affect the level and volatility of securities prices and the liquidity and the value of investments, and we may not be able to or may choose not to manage our exposure to these market conditions and/or other events. In the event of a market downturn each of our businesses could be affected in different ways.

For example, the unprecedented turmoil in the global financial markets during 2008 and 2009 provoked significant volatility of securities prices, contraction in the availability of credit and the failure of a number of companies, including leading financial institutions, had a significant material adverse effect on our investment businesses, particularly our private equity and real estate businesses. During that period, many economies around the world, including the U.S. economy, experienced significant declines in employment, household wealth, and lending. Those events led to a significantly diminished availability of credit and an increase in the cost of financing. The lack of credit materially hindered the initiation of new, large-sized transactions for our private equity and real estate segments and adversely impacted our operating results in those periods. While the adverse effects of that period have abated, there continue to be lingering signs of economic weakness such as relatively high levels of unemployment in major markets such as the U.S. and Europe, and financial institutions have not yet provided debt financing in amounts and on the terms commensurate with what they provided prior to 2008.

Our funds may be affected by reduced opportunities to exit and realize value from their investments, by lower than expected returns on investments made prior to the deterioration of the credit markets and by the fact that we may not be able to find suitable investments for the funds to effectively deploy capital, which could adversely affect our ability to raise new funds. During periods of difficult market conditions or slowdowns (which may be across one or more industries, sectors or geographies), our funds’ portfolio companies may experience adverse operating performance, decreased revenues, financial losses, difficulty in obtaining access to financing and increased funding costs. Negative financial results in our investment funds’ portfolio companies may result in lower investment returns for our investment funds, which could materially and adversely affect our ability to raise new funds as well as our operating results and cash flow. To the extent the operating performance of those portfolio companies (as well as valuation multiples) do not improve or other portfolio companies experience adverse operating performance, our investment funds may sell those assets at values that are less than we projected or even a loss, thereby significantly affecting those investment funds’ performance and consequently our operating results and cash flow. During such periods of weakness, our investment funds’ portfolio companies may also have difficulty expanding their businesses and operations or meeting their debt service obligations or other expenses as they become due, including expenses payable to us. Furthermore, such negative market conditions could potentially result in a portfolio company entering bankruptcy proceedings, thereby potentially resulting in a complete loss of the fund’s investment in such portfolio company and a significant negative impact to the investment fund’s performance and consequently our operating results and cash flow, as well as to our reputation. In addition, negative market conditions would also increase the risk of default with respect to investments held by our investment funds that have significant debt investments, such as our credit-oriented funds. Although market conditions improved during 2010, we are unable to predict whether economic and market conditions will continue to improve. Even if such conditions do improve broadly and significantly over the long term, adverse conditions and/or other events in particular sectors may cause our performance to suffer further.

 

20


Table of Contents

Our operating performance may also be adversely affected by our fixed costs and other expenses and the possibility that we would be unable to scale back other costs within a time frame sufficient to match any decreases in revenue relating to changes in market and economic conditions. In order to reduce expenses in the face of a difficult economic environment, we may need to cut back or eliminate the use of certain services or service providers, or terminate the employment of a significant number of our personnel that, in each case, could be important to our business and without which our operating results could be adversely affected.

In addition, our financial advisory business can be materially affected by conditions in the global economy and various financial markets. For example, revenues generated by our financial advisory business are directly related to the volume and value of the transactions in which we are involved. During periods of unfavorable market or economic conditions, the volume and value of mergers and acquisitions transactions may decrease, thereby reducing the demand for our financial advisory services and increasing price competition among financial services companies seeking such engagements.

Changes in the debt financing markets could negatively impact the ability of our funds and their portfolio companies to obtain attractive financing or re-financing for their investments and could increase the cost of such financing if it is obtained, which could lead to lower-yielding investments and potentially decreasing our net income.

Any recurrence of the significant contraction in the market for debt financing that occurred in 2008 and 2009 or other adverse change to us relating to the terms of such debt financing with, for example, higher rates, higher equity requirements, and/or more restrictive covenants, particularly in the area of acquisition financings for private equity and real estate transactions, would have a material adverse impact on our business. In the event that our funds are unable to obtain committed debt financing for potential acquisitions or can only obtain debt at an increased interest rate or on unfavorable terms, our funds may have difficulty completing otherwise profitable acquisitions or may generate profits that are lower than would otherwise be the case, either of which could lead to a decrease in the investment income earned by us. Similarly, our funds’ portfolio companies regularly utilize the corporate debt markets in order to obtain financing for their operations. To the extent that the credit markets render such financing difficult to obtain or more expensive, this may negatively impact the operating performance of those portfolio companies and, therefore, the investment returns on our funds. In addition, to the extent that the markets make it difficult or impossible to refinance debt that is maturing in the near term, some of our portfolio companies may be unable to repay such debt at maturity and may be forced to sell assets, undergo a recapitalization or seek bankruptcy protection.

A decline in the pace or size of investment by our private equity and real estate funds or an increase in the amount of transaction and monitoring fees we share with our investors would result in our receiving less revenue from transaction and monitoring fees.

The transaction and monitoring fees that we earn are driven in part by the pace at which our private equity and real estate funds make investments and the size of those investments. Any decline in that pace or the size of such investments would reduce our transaction and monitoring fees. Many factors could cause such a decline in the pace of investment, including the inability of our investment professionals to identify attractive investment opportunities, competition for such opportunities among other potential acquirers, decreased availability of capital on attractive terms and our failure to consummate identified investment opportunities because of business, regulatory or legal complexities and adverse developments in the U.S. or global economy or financial markets. For example, the more limited financing options for large private equity and real estate investments resulting from the credit market dislocations in 2008 and 2009 have reduced the pace and size of investments by our private equity and real estate funds. In addition, we have confronted and expect to continue to confront requests from a variety of investors and groups representing investors to increase the percentage of transaction and monitoring fees we share with our investors. To the extent we accommodate such requests, and in certain cases we have and we expect to continue to do so, it would result in a decrease in the amount of fee revenue we earn.

 

21


Table of Contents

Our revenue, net income and cash flow are all highly variable, which may make it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis and may cause the price of our common units to decline.

Our revenue, net income and cash flow are all highly variable. For example, our cash flow may fluctuate significantly due to the fact that we receive carried interest from our carry funds only when investments are realized and achieve a certain preferred return. In addition, transaction fees received by our carry funds and fees received by our advisory business can vary significantly from quarter to quarter. We may also experience fluctuations in our results, including our revenue and net income, from quarter to quarter due to a number of other factors, including changes in the values of our funds’ investments, changes in the amount of distributions, dividends or interest paid in respect of investments, changes in our operating expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition and general economic and market conditions. Such variability may lead to volatility in the trading price of our common units and cause our results for a particular period not to be indicative of our performance in a future period. It may be difficult for us to achieve steady growth in net income and cash flow on a quarterly basis, which could in turn lead to large adverse movements in the price of our common units or increased volatility in our common unit price generally.

The timing and receipt of carried interest generated by our carry funds is uncertain and will contribute to the volatility of our results. Carried interest depends on our carry funds’ performance and opportunities for realizing gains, which may be limited. It takes a substantial period of time to identify attractive investment opportunities, to raise all the funds needed to make an investment and then to realize the cash value (or other proceeds) of an investment through a sale, public offering, recapitalization or other exit. Even if an investment proves to be profitable, it may be several years before any profits can be realized in cash (or other proceeds). We cannot predict when, or if, any realization of investments will occur. In addition, upon the realization of a profitable investment by any of our carry funds and prior to us receiving any carried interest in respect of that investment, 100% of the proceeds of that investment must generally be paid to the investors in that carry fund until they have recovered certain fees and expenses and achieved a certain return on all realized investments by that carry fund as well as a recovery of any unrealized losses. If we were to have a realization event in a particular quarter, it may have a significant impact on our results for that particular quarter which may not be replicated in subsequent quarters. We recognize revenue on investments in our investment funds based on our allocable share of realized and unrealized gains (or losses) reported by such investment funds, and a decline in realized or unrealized gains, or an increase in realized or unrealized losses, would adversely affect our revenue and possibly cash flow, which could further increase the volatility of our quarterly results. Because our carry funds have preferred return thresholds to investors that need to be met prior to Blackstone receiving any carried interest, substantial declines in the carrying value of the investment portfolios of a carry fund can significantly delay or eliminate any carried interest distributions paid to us in respect of that fund since the value of the assets in the fund would need to recover to their aggregate cost basis plus the preferred return over time before we would be entitled to receive any carried interest from that fund.

With respect to most of our funds of hedge funds and credit-oriented and real estate debt funds structured like hedge funds, our incentive income is paid annually or semi-annually, and the varying frequency of these payments will contribute to the volatility of our cash flow. Furthermore, we earn this incentive income only if the net asset value of a fund has increased or, in the case of certain funds, increased beyond a particular return threshold. Certain of these funds also have “high water marks” whereby we do not earn incentive income during a particular period even though the fund had positive returns in such period as a result of losses in prior periods. If one of these funds experiences losses, we will not be able to earn incentive income from the fund until it surpasses the previous high water mark. The incentive income we earn is therefore dependent on the net asset value of the fund, which could lead to significant volatility in our results.

We also earn a portion of our revenue from financial advisory engagements, and in many cases we are not paid until the successful consummation of the underlying transaction, restructuring or closing of the fund. As a result, our financial advisory revenue is highly dependent on market conditions and the decisions and actions of our clients, interested third parties and governmental authorities. If a transaction, restructuring or funding is not

 

22


Table of Contents

consummated, we often do not receive any financial advisory fees other than the reimbursement of certain out-of-pocket expenses, despite the fact that we may have devoted considerable resources to these transactions.

Because our revenue, net income and cash flow can be highly variable from quarter to quarter and year to year, we do not provide any guidance regarding our expected quarterly and annual operating results. The lack of guidance may affect the expectations of public market analysts and could cause increased volatility in our common unit price.

Adverse economic and market conditions may adversely affect our liquidity position, which could adversely affect our business operations in the future.

We use cash to (a) provide capital to facilitate the growth of our existing businesses, which principally includes funding our general partner and co-investment commitments to our funds; (b) provide capital for business expansion; (c) pay operating expenses and other obligations as they arise; (d) fund capital expenditures; (e) service interest payments on our debt and repay debt; (f) pay income taxes; and (g) make distributions to our unitholders and the holders of Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units. In addition to the cash we received in connection with our IPO, our $600 million debt offering in August 2009 and our $400 million debt offering in September 2010, our principal sources of cash are: (a) Net Fee Related Earnings from Operations, (b) Realized Performance Fees net of related profit sharing interests that are included in Compensation and (c) Blackstone Investment Income related to its investments in liquid funds and its net realized investment income on its illiquid investments. We have also entered into a $1 billion revolving credit facility with a final maturity date of March 23, 2013. Our long-term debt totaled $1 billion in borrowings from the 2009 and 2010 bond issuances and we had no borrowings outstanding against our $1 billion revolving credit facility. At the end of 2010, we had $588.6 million in cash, $1.1 billion invested in our Treasury cash management strategies, $285.2 million invested in liquid Blackstone funds and $1.6 billion invested in illiquid Blackstone funds.

If the global economy and conditions in the financing markets fail to improve or worsen, our fund investment performance could suffer, resulting in, for example, the payment of less or no carried interest to us. The payment of less or no carried interest could cause our cash flow from operations to significantly decrease, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity position and the amount of cash we have on hand to conduct our operations. Having less cash on hand could in turn require us to rely on other sources of cash (such as the capital markets which may not be available to us on acceptable terms) to conduct our operations, which include, for example, funding significant general partner and co-investment commitments to our carry funds. Furthermore, during adverse economic and market conditions, we might not be able to renew all or part of our existing revolving credit facility or find alternate financing on commercially reasonable terms. As a result, our uses of cash may exceed our sources of cash, thereby potentially affecting our liquidity position.

We depend on our founder and other key senior managing directors and the loss of their services would have a material adverse effect on our business, results and financial condition.

We depend on the efforts, skill, reputations and business contacts of our founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman, our President and Chief Operating Officer, Hamilton E. James, our Vice Chairman, J. Tomilson Hill, and other key senior managing directors, the information and deal flow they and other senior managing directors generate during the normal course of their activities and the synergies among the diverse fields of expertise and knowledge held by our professionals. Accordingly, our success will depend on the continued service of these individuals, who are not obligated to remain employed with us. Several key senior managing directors have left the firm in the past and others may do so in the future, and we cannot predict the impact that the departure of any key senior managing director will have on our ability to achieve our investment objectives. The loss of the services of any of them could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, net income and cash flows and could harm our ability to maintain or grow assets under management in existing funds or raise additional funds in the future. We have historically relied in part on the interests of these professionals in the investment funds’ carried interest and incentive fees to discourage them from leaving the firm. However, to the extent our

 

23


Table of Contents

investment funds perform poorly, thereby reducing the potential for carried interest and incentive fees, their interests in carried interest and incentive fees become less valuable to them and become less effective as incentives for them to continue to be employed at Blackstone.

Our senior managing directors and other key personnel possess substantial experience and expertise and have strong business relationships with investors in our funds, clients and other members of the business community. As a result, the loss of these personnel could jeopardize our relationships with investors in our funds, our clients and members of the business community and result in the reduction of assets under management or fewer investment opportunities.

Our publicly traded structure may adversely affect our ability to retain and motivate our senior managing directors and other key personnel and to recruit, retain and motivate new senior managing directors and other key personnel, both of which could adversely affect our business, results and financial condition.

Our most important asset is our people, and our continued success is highly dependent upon the efforts of our senior managing directors and other professionals. Our future success and growth depends to a substantial degree on our ability to retain and motivate our senior managing directors and other key personnel and to strategically recruit, retain and motivate new talented personnel. Most of our current senior managing directors and other senior personnel have equity interests in our business that are primarily partnership units in Blackstone Holdings (as defined under “Part III. Item 13. Certain Relationships, Related Transactions and Director Independence—Blackstone Holdings Partnership Agreements”) and which entitle such personnel to cash distributions. However, the value of such Blackstone Holdings partnership units and the distributions in respect of these equity interests may not be sufficient to retain and motivate our senior managing directors and other key personnel, nor may they be sufficiently attractive to strategically recruit, retain and motivate new talented personnel. Moreover, prior to our IPO, many of our senior managing directors and other senior personnel had interests in each of our underlying businesses which may have entitled to them to a larger amount of cash distributions than they receive in respect of Blackstone Holdings partnership units.

Additionally, the retention of an increasingly larger portion of the Blackstone Holdings partnership units held by senior managing directors is not dependent upon their continued employment with us as those equity interests continue to vest as time passes. Moreover, the minimum retained ownership requirements and transfer restrictions to which these interests are subject in certain instances lapse over time, may not be enforceable in all cases and can be waived. There is no guarantee that the non-competition and non-solicitation agreements to which our senior managing directors are subject, together with our other arrangements with them, will prevent them from leaving us, joining our competitors or otherwise competing with us or that these agreements will be enforceable in all cases. In addition, these agreements will expire after a certain period of time, at which point each of our senior managing directors would be free to compete against us and solicit investors in our funds, clients and employees.

We might not be able to provide future senior managing directors with equity interests in our business to the same extent or with the same tax consequences from which our existing senior managing directors previously benefited. For example, if legislation were to be enacted by the U.S. Congress or any state or local governments to treat carried interest as ordinary income rather than as capital gain for tax purposes, such legislation would materially increase the amount of taxes that we and possibly our unitholders would be required to pay, thereby adversely affecting our ability to recruit, retain and motivate our current and future professionals. See “—Risks Related to United States Taxation—Our structure involves complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. Our structure also is subject to potential legislative, judicial or administrative change and differing interpretations, possibly on a retroactive basis.”

Alternatively, the value of the units we may issue senior managing directors at any given time may subsequently fall (as reflected in the market price of our common units), which could counteract the incentives we are seeking to induce in them. Therefore, in order to recruit and retain existing and future senior managing

 

24


Table of Contents

directors, we may need to increase the level of compensation that we pay to them. Accordingly, as we promote or hire new senior managing directors over time, we may increase the level of compensation we pay to our senior managing directors, which would cause our total employee compensation and benefits expense as a percentage of our total revenue to increase and adversely affect our profitability. In addition, issuance of equity interests in our business in the future to senior managing directors and other personnel would dilute public common unitholders.

We strive to maintain a work environment that reinforces our culture of collaboration, motivation and alignment of interests with investors. If we do not continue to develop and implement the right processes and tools to manage our changing enterprise and maintain this culture, our ability to compete successfully and achieve our business objectives could be impaired, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our organizational documents do not limit our ability to enter into new lines of businesses, and we may expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses, each of which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our businesses.

Our plan, to the extent that market conditions permit, is to grow our investment and financial advisory businesses and expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses. Our organizational documents do not limit us to the investment management and financial advisory businesses. Accordingly, we may pursue growth through acquisitions of other investment management or advisory companies, acquisitions of critical business partners or other strategic initiatives. In addition, we expect opportunities will arise to acquire other alternative or traditional asset managers. To the extent we make strategic investments or acquisitions, undertake other strategic initiatives or enter into a new line of business, we will face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with (a) the required investment of capital and other resources, (b) the possibility that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk, (c) combining or integrating operational and management systems and controls and (d) the broadening of our geographic footprint, including the risks associated with conducting operations in non-U.S. jurisdictions. Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. If a new business generates insufficient revenues or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our results of operations will be adversely affected. Our strategic initiatives may include joint ventures, in which case we will be subject to additional risks and uncertainties in that we may be dependent upon, and subject to liability, losses or reputational damage relating to systems, controls and personnel that are not under our control.

If we are unable to consummate or successfully integrate additional development opportunities, acquisitions or joint ventures, we may not be able to implement our growth strategy successfully.

Our growth strategy is based, in part, on the selective development or acquisition of asset management businesses, advisory businesses or other businesses complementary to our business where we think we can add substantial value or generate substantial returns. The success of this strategy will depend on, among other things: (a) the availability of suitable opportunities; (b) the level of competition from other companies that may have greater financial resources; (c) our ability to value potential development or acquisition opportunities accurately and negotiate acceptable terms for those opportunities; (d) our ability to identify and enter into mutually beneficial relationships with venture partners; (e) and our ability to successfully integrate and oversee the operations of the new businesses. If we are not successful in implementing our growth strategy, our business, financial results and the market price for our common units may be adversely affected.

 

25


Table of Contents

The U.S. Congress recently considered legislation that, if enacted, would have (a) for taxable years beginning ten years after the date of enactment, precluded us from qualifying as a partnership or required us to hold carried interest through taxable subsidiary corporations and (b) taxed individual holders of common units with respect to certain income and gains at increased rates. If any similar legislation were to be enacted and apply to us, we could incur a material increase in our tax liability and a substantial portion of our income could be taxed at a higher rate to the individual holders of our common units.

On May 28, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would have, in general, treated income and gains, including gain on sale, attributable to an interest in an investment services partnership interest, or “ISPI”, as income subject to a new blended tax rate that is higher than the capital gains rate applicable to such income under current law, except to the extent such ISPI would have been considered under the legislation to be a qualified capital interest. Our common units that you hold and the interests that we hold in entities that are entitled to receive carried interest would likely have been classified as ISPIs for purposes of this legislation. In June 2010, the U.S. Senate considered but did not pass legislation that is generally similar to the legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It is unclear whether or when the U.S. Congress will reconsider similar legislation or what provisions will be included in any final legislation if enacted.

The House bill provided that, for taxable years beginning ten years after the date of enactment, income derived with respect to an ISPI that is not a qualified capital interest and that is treated as ordinary income under the rules discussed above would not meet the qualifying income requirements under the publicly traded partnership rules. Therefore, if similar legislation were to be enacted, following such ten-year period, we would be precluded from qualifying as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes or be required to hold all such ISPIs through corporations. If we were taxed as a U.S. corporation or held all ISPIs through U.S. corporations, our effective tax rate could increase significantly. The federal statutory rate for corporations is currently 35%. In addition, we could be subject to increased state and local taxes. Furthermore, you could be subject to tax on our conversion into a corporation or any restructuring required in order for us to hold our ISPIs through a corporation.

The Obama administration has indicated that it supports the adoption of the May 28, 2010 legislation or legislation that similarly changes the treatment of carried interest for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In its published revenue proposal for 2012, the Obama administration proposed that the current law regarding the treatment of carried interest be changed to subject such income to ordinary income tax (which would be taxed at a higher rate than the proposed blended rate under the House legislation). The Obama administration proposed similar changes in its published revenue proposals for 2010 and 2011.

Over the past several years, a number of similar legislative proposals have been introduced and, in certain cases, have been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2007, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress that would have taxed as corporations publicly traded partnerships that directly or indirectly derived income from investment advisor or asset management services. In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have generally (a) treated carried interest as non-qualifying income under the tax rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships, which could have precluded us from qualifying as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and (b) taxed carried interest as ordinary income for U.S. federal income taxes, rather than in accordance with the character of income derived by the underlying fund. In December 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed substantially similar legislation. Such legislation would have taxed carried interest as ordinary income starting in the year of enactment. The legislation passed by the House in December 2009 and certain other versions of the proposed legislation contained a transition rule that may have delayed the applicability of certain aspects of the legislation for a partnership that is a publicly traded partnership on the date of enactment of the legislation.

States and other jurisdictions have also considered legislation to increase taxes with respect to carried interest. For example, in 2010, the New York State Assembly passed a bill, which could have caused a non-resident of New York who holds our common units to be subject to New York state income tax on carried

 

26


Table of Contents

interest earned by entities in which we hold an indirect interest, thereby requiring the non-resident to file a New York state income tax return reporting such carried interest income. This legislation would have been retroactive to January 1, 2010. It is unclear whether or when similar legislation will be enacted. Finally, because of widespread state budget deficits, several states are evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise or other forms of taxation. If any state were to impose a tax upon us as an entity, our distribution to you would be reduced.

The potential requirement to convert our financial statements from being prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America to International Financial Reporting Standards may strain our resources and increase our annual expenses.

As a public entity, the SEC may require in the future that we report our financial results under International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) instead of under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”). IFRS is a set of accounting principles that has been gaining acceptance on a worldwide basis. These standards are published by the London-based International Accounting Standards Board (“IASB”) and are more focused on objectives and principles and less reliant on detailed rules than U.S. GAAP. Today, there remain significant and material differences in several key areas between U.S. GAAP and IFRS which would affect Blackstone. Additionally, U.S. GAAP provides specific guidance in classes of accounting transactions for which equivalent guidance in IFRS does not exist. The adoption of IFRS is highly complex and would have an impact on many aspects and operations of Blackstone, including but not limited to financial accounting and reporting systems, internal controls, taxes, borrowing covenants and cash management. It is expected that a significant amount of time, internal and external resources and expenses over a multi-year period would be required for this conversion.

Operational risks may disrupt our businesses, result in losses or limit our growth.

We rely heavily on our financial, accounting and other data processing systems. If any of these systems do not operate properly or are disabled, we could suffer financial loss, a disruption of our businesses, liability to our investment funds, regulatory intervention or reputational damage. In addition, we operate in businesses that are highly dependent on information systems and technology. Our information systems and technology may not continue to be able to accommodate our growth, and the cost of maintaining such systems may increase from its current level. Such a failure to accommodate growth, or an increase in costs related to such information systems, could have a material adverse effect on us.

Furthermore, we depend on our headquarters in New York City, where most of our personnel are located, for the continued operation of our business. A disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses, including a disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or directly affecting our headquarters, could have a material adverse impact on our ability to continue to operate our business without interruption. Our disaster recovery programs may not be sufficient to mitigate the harm that may result from such a disaster or disruption. In addition, insurance and other safeguards might only partially reimburse us for our losses, if at all.

Finally, we rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our business, including for certain information systems and technology and administration of our hedge funds. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures of their information systems and technology could impair the quality of the funds’ operations and could affect our reputation and hence adversely affect our businesses.

Extensive regulation of our businesses affects our activities and creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties. The possibility of increased regulatory focus could result in additional burdens on our business. Legislative or regulatory changes could adversely affect us.

Our asset management and financial advisory businesses are subject to extensive regulation. We are subject to regulation, including periodic examinations, by governmental and self regulatory organizations in the

 

27


Table of Contents

jurisdictions in which we operate around the world. Many of these regulators, including U.S. and foreign government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions in the United States, are empowered to conduct investigations and administrative proceedings that can result in fines, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including censure, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer or investment adviser from registration or memberships. Even if an investigation or proceeding did not result in a sanction or the sanction imposed against us or our personnel by a regulator were small in monetary amount, the adverse publicity relating to the investigation, proceeding or imposition of these sanctions could harm our reputation and cause us to lose existing clients or fail to gain new asset management or financial advisory clients. In addition, we regularly rely on exemptions from various requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or “Securities Act,” the Exchange Act, the U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or “1940 Act,” and the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, in conducting our asset management activities. These exemptions are sometimes highly complex and may in certain circumstances depend on compliance by third parties whom we do not control. If for any reason these exemptions were to become unavailable to us, we could become subject to regulatory action or third party claims and our business could be materially and adversely affected. See “—Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure—If The Blackstone Group L.P. were deemed an “investment company” under the 1940 Act, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our business”. Lastly, the requirements imposed by our regulators are designed primarily to ensure the integrity of the financial markets and to protect investors in our investment funds and are not designed to protect our common unitholders. Consequently, these regulations often serve to limit our activities and impose burdensome compliance requirements.

Regulatory changes in the United States could adversely affect our business.

As a result of the financial crisis and highly publicized financial scandals, investors have exhibited concerns over the integrity of the U.S. financial markets and the regulatory environment in which we operate in the United States. There has been an active debate over the appropriate extent of regulation and oversight of private investment funds and their managers. In addition, we may be adversely affected as a result of new or revised legislation or regulations imposed by the SEC or other U.S. governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations that supervise the financial markets. We also may be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules by these governmental authorities and self-regulatory organizations.

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) which imposes significant new regulations on almost every aspect of the U.S. financial services industry, including aspects of our business. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act includes the following provisions which could have an adverse impact on our ability to conduct our business:

 

   

The Dodd-Frank Act establishes the Financial Stability Oversight Council (the “FSOC”), a federal agency acting as the financial system’s systemic risk regulator with the authority to review the activities of non-bank financial companies predominantly engaged in financial activities that are designated as “systemically important.” Such designation is applicable to companies where material distress could pose risk to the financial stability of the United States. While the Federal Reserve Chairman has suggested that it would be rare for a private equity firm to be designated as systemically important, if such designation were to occur to us, we would be subject to significantly increased levels of regulation, which includes, without limitation, a requirement to adopt heightened standards relating to capital, leverage, liquidity, risk management, credit exposure reporting and concentration limits, restrictions on acquisitions and being subject to annual stress tests by the Federal Reserve Bank. In connection with the work of the FSOC, the SEC recently proposed a private fund systemic risk reporting rule which is designed to assist the FSOC in gathering information from many sectors of the financial system for monitoring risks. This proposed rule would require large private equity fund advisers, such as Blackstone, to submit reports focusing primarily on the extent of leverage incurred by their funds’ portfolio companies, the use of bridge financing and their funds’ investments in financial institutions.

 

28


Table of Contents
   

The Dodd-Frank Act, under what has become known as the “Volcker Rule,” generally prohibits bank holding companies (including foreign banks with U.S. branches) and banks (including their subsidiaries and affiliates) from investing in or sponsoring private equity funds or hedge funds. The Volcker Rule will become effective on July 21, 2012 and is subject to transition periods and exceptions for “permitted activities.” While there is substantial uncertainty regarding the availability of transition period relief and the general practical implications of the Volcker Rule, there could be adverse implications on our ability to raise funds from bank holding companies as a result of this prohibition.

 

   

The Dodd-Frank Act requires private equity and hedge fund advisers to register with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act, to maintain extensive records and to file reports if deemed necessary for purposes of systemic assessment by certain governmental bodies. As described elsewhere in this Form 10-K, all of the investment advisers of our investment funds operated in the U.S. are registered as investment advisers with the SEC.

In June 2010, the SEC approved Rule 206(4)-5 under the Advisers Act regarding “pay to play” practices by investment advisers involving campaign contributions and other payments to government clients and elected officials able to exert influence on such clients. The rule prohibits investment advisers from providing advisory services for compensation to a government client for two years, subject to very limited exceptions, after the investment adviser, its senior executives or its personnel involved in soliciting investments from government entities make contributions to certain candidates and officials in position to influence the hiring of an investment adviser by such government client. Advisers are required to implement compliance policies designed, among other matters, to track contributions by certain of the adviser’s employees and engagements of third parties that solicit government entities and to keep certain records in order to enable the SEC to determine compliance with the rule. Any failure on our part to comply with the rule could expose us to significant penalties and reputational damage. In addition, there have been similar rules on a state level regarding “pay to play” practices by investment advisers.

In September 2010, California enacted legislation, which became effective on January 1, 2011, requiring placement agents who solicit funds from the California state retirement systems, such as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to register as lobbyists. In addition to increased reporting requirements, the legislation prohibits placement agents from receiving contingent compensation for soliciting investments from California state retirement systems. Moreover, other states or municipalities may consider similar legislation as that enacted in California or adopt regulations or procedures with similar effect. These types of measures could materially and adversely impact our fund placement business.

Recent regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our business.

Similar to the environment in the United States, the current environment in jurisdictions outside the United States in which we operate, in particular Europe, has become subject to further regulation. Governmental regulators and other authorities in Europe have proposed or implemented a number of initiatives and additional rules and regulations that could adversely affect our business.

In October 2010, the EU Council of Ministers adopted a directive to amend the revised Capital Requirements Directive, (“CRD III”), which, among other things, requires EU member states to introduce stricter control on remuneration of key employees and risk takers within specific credit institutions and investment firms. The FSA has implemented CRD III by amending its remuneration code, although the extent of the regulatory impact will differ depending on a firm’s size and the nature of its activities. We currently operate two entities in the United Kingdom—The Blackstone Group International Partners LLP and GSO Capital Partners International LLP—neither of which is subject to the quantitative provisions of the remuneration code. Accordingly, we do not currently anticipate that implementation of the FSA remuneration code will have any material impact on us.

In November 2010, the European Parliament voted to approve the EU Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers, which establishes a new EU regulatory regime for alternative investment fund managers, including private equity and hedge fund managers. The EU Directive generally applies to managers with a registered office in the EU (or managing an EU-based fund vehicle), as well as non EU-based managers, such as

 

29


Table of Contents

our affiliates, that market securities of alternative investment funds in the EU. In general, the EU Directive will have a staged implementation over a period of years beginning in mid-2013 for EU-based managers (or EU-based funds) and no later than 2018 for non-EU based managers marketing non-EU-based funds into the EU. Even as early as 2013, we will need to comply with certain provisions of the EU Directive in order to market our investment funds into Europe, including compliance with disclosure and transparency guidelines and asset-stripping restrictions (which prohibit distributions to shareholders for 24 months following closing of an acquisition). Blackstone’s compliance with the EU Directive, which can be no later than 2018, will subject it to a number of additional requirements, including rules relating to the remuneration of certain personnel (principally adopting the provisions of CRD III referred to above), certain capital requirements for alternative investment fund managers, leverage oversight for each investment fund, liquidity management, and retention of depositaries for each investment fund. Compliance with the requirements of the EU Directive will impose additional compliance burdens and expense for us and could reduce our operating flexibility and fund-raising opportunities.

In Denmark and Germany, legislative amendments have been adopted which may limit deductibility of interest and other financing expenses in companies in which our funds have invested or may invest in the future. In brief, the Danish legislative amendments generally entail that annual net financing expenses in excess of a certain threshold amount (approximately €2.9 million in 2010) will be limited on the basis of earnings before interest and taxes and/or asset tax values. According to the German legislative amendments, interest expenses exceeding the interest income of the same fiscal year may be deducted only up to 30% of the (adjusted) taxable earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of the relevant German business (Betrieb) (subject to specific certain exemptions), while any additional non-deductible interest may, if at all, only be claimed in subsequent years. These measures will most likely adversely affect portfolio companies in those countries in which our funds have investments and limit the benefits of additional investments in those countries. Our investment businesses are subject to the risk that similar measures might be introduced in other countries in which our funds currently have investments or plan to invest in the future, or that other legislative or regulatory measures that negatively affect their respective portfolio investments might be promulgated in any of the countries in which they invest. Blackstone’s non-U.S. advisory entities are, to the extent required, registered with the relevant regulatory authority of the jurisdiction in which the advisory entity is domiciled. In addition, we voluntarily participate in several transparency initiatives, including those organized by the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association and others calling for the reporting of information concerning companies in which certain of our funds have investments. The reporting related to such initiatives may divert the attention of our personnel and the management teams of our portfolio companies. Moreover, sensitive business information relating to us or our portfolio companies could be publicly released.

Our use of leverage to finance our business will expose us to substantial risks, which are exacerbated by our funds’ use of leverage to finance investments.

We intend to use borrowings to finance our business operations as a public company. For example, in August 2009, we issued $600 million of ten-year senior notes at a rate of 6.625% per annum, and in September 2010, we issued $400 million of ten-year senior notes at a rate of 5.875% per annum. Borrowing to finance our businesses exposes us to the typical risks associated with the use of leverage, including those discussed below under “—Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments”. In order for us to utilize leverage to finance our business, we are dependent on financial institutions such as global banks extending credit to us on terms that are reasonable to us. There is no guarantee that such institutions will continue to extend credit to us or renew any existing credit agreements we may have with them, or that we will be able to refinance outstanding notes when they mature. We have a credit facility which provides for revolving credit borrowings that has a final maturity date of March 23, 2013. As borrowings under the facility or any other indebtedness mature, we may be required to either refinance them by entering into a new facility, which could result in higher borrowing costs, or issuing equity, which would dilute existing unitholders. We could also repay them by using cash on hand, cash provided by our continuing operations or cash from the sale of our assets. We could have difficulty entering into new facilities or issuing equity in the future on attractive terms, or at all. These risks are exacerbated by our funds’ use of leverage to finance investments.

 

30


Table of Contents

We are subject to substantial litigation risks and may face significant liabilities and damage to our professional reputation as a result of litigation allegations and negative publicity.

The investment decisions we make in our asset management business and the activities of our investment professionals on behalf of portfolio companies of our carry funds may subject them and us to the risk of third-party litigation arising from investor dissatisfaction with the performance of those investment funds, the activities of our portfolio companies and a variety of other litigation claims. For example, from time to time we and our portfolio companies have been subject to class action suits by shareholders in public companies that we have agreed to acquire that challenge our acquisition transactions and attempt to enjoin them.

In addition, to the extent investors in our investment funds suffer losses resulting from fraud, gross negligence, willful misconduct or other similar misconduct, investors may have remedies against us, our investment funds, our senior managing directors or our affiliates under the federal securities law and/or state law. While the general partners and investment advisers to our investment funds, including their directors, officers, other employees and affiliates, are generally indemnified to the fullest extent permitted by law with respect to their conduct in connection with the management of the business and affairs of our investment funds, such indemnity does not extend to actions determined to have involved fraud, gross negligence, willful misconduct or other similar misconduct.

Our financial advisory activities may also subject us to the risk of liabilities to our clients and third parties, including our clients’ stockholders, under securities or other laws in connection with corporate transactions on which we render advice.

If any lawsuits were brought against us and resulted in a finding of substantial legal liability, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations or cause significant reputational harm to us, which could seriously harm our business. We depend to a large extent on our business relationships and our reputation for integrity and high-caliber professional services to attract and retain investors and advisory clients and to pursue investment opportunities for our carry funds. As a result, allegations of improper conduct by private litigants or regulators, whether the ultimate outcome is favorable or unfavorable to us, as well as negative publicity and press speculation about us, our investment activities or the private equity industry in general, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation, which may be more damaging to our business than to other types of businesses.

Employee misconduct could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain clients and subjecting us to significant legal liability and reputational harm. Fraud and other deceptive practices or other misconduct at our portfolio companies could harm performance.

There is a risk that our employees could engage in misconduct that adversely affects our business. We are subject to a number of obligations and standards arising from our asset management business and our authority over the assets managed by our asset management business. The violation of these obligations and standards by any of our employees would adversely affect our clients and us. Our business often requires that we deal with confidential matters of great significance to companies in which we may invest or our financial advisory clients. If our employees were improperly to use or disclose confidential information, we could suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial position and current and future business relationships. It is not always possible to detect or deter employee misconduct, and the extensive precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in all cases. If one of our employees were to engage in misconduct or were to be accused of such misconduct, our business and our reputation could be adversely affected.

We will also be adversely affected if there is misconduct by senior management of portfolio companies in which our funds invest. Such misconduct might undermine our due diligence efforts with respect to such companies and it might negatively affect the valuation of a fund’s investments.

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have devoted greater resources to enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). In addition, the

 

31


Table of Contents

United Kingdom has recently significantly expanded the reach of its anti-bribery laws. While we have developed and implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure strict compliance by us and our personnel with the FCPA, such policies and procedures may not be effective in all instances to prevent violations. Any determination that we have violated the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws could subject us to, among other things, civil and criminal penalties, material fines, profit disgorgement, injunctions on future conduct, securities litigation and a general loss of investor confidence, any one of which could adversely affect our business prospects, financial position or the market value of our common units.

Risks Related to Our Asset Management Business

Poor performance of our investment funds would cause a decline in our revenue, income and cash flow, may obligate us to repay carried interest previously paid to us, and could adversely affect our ability to raise capital for future investment funds.

In the event that any of our investment funds were to perform poorly, our revenue, income and cash flow would decline because the value of our assets under management would decrease, which would result in a reduction in management fees, and our investment returns would decrease, resulting in a reduction in the carried interest and incentive fees we earn. Moreover, we could experience losses on our investments of our own principal as a result of poor investment performance by our investment funds. Furthermore, if, as a result of poor performance of later investments in a carry fund’s life, the fund does not achieve certain investment returns for the fund over its life, we will be obligated to repay the amount by which carried interest that was previously distributed to us exceeds amounts to which we are ultimately entitled.

Poor performance of our investment funds could make it more difficult for us to raise new capital. Investors in carry funds might decline to invest in future investment funds we raise and investors in hedge funds or other investment funds might withdraw their investments as a result of poor performance of the investment funds in which they are invested. Investors and potential investors in our funds continually assess our investment funds’ performance, and our ability to raise capital for existing and future investment funds and avoid excessive redemption levels will depend on our investment funds’ continued satisfactory performance. Accordingly, poor fund performance may deter future investment in our funds and thereby decrease the capital invested in our funds and ultimately, our management fee income. Alternatively, in the face of poor fund performance, investors could demand lower fees or fee concessions for existing or future funds which would likewise decrease our revenue. A significant number of fund sponsors have recently decreased the amount of fees they charged investors for managing existing or successor funds as a direct result of poor fund performance.

Our asset management business depends in large part on our ability to raise capital from third party investors. If we are unable to raise capital from third party investors, we would be unable to collect management fees or deploy their capital into investments and potentially collect transaction fees or carried interest, which would materially reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our financial condition.

Our ability to raise capital from third party investors depends on a number of factors, including certain factors that are outside our control. Certain factors, such as the performance of the stock market or the asset allocation rules or regulations or investment policies to which such third party investors are subject, could inhibit or restrict the ability of third party investors to make investments in our investment funds or the asset classes in which our investment funds invest. For example, during 2008 and 2009, many third party investors that invest in alternative assets and have historically invested in our investment funds experienced significant volatility in valuations of their investment portfolios, including a significant decline in the value of their overall private equity, real estate, venture capital and hedge fund portfolios, which affected our ability to raise capital from them. Coupled with a lack of realizations during that period from their existing private equity and real estate portfolios, many of these investors were left with disproportionately outsized remaining commitments to a number of investment funds, which significantly limited their ability to make new commitments to third party managed investment funds such as those managed by us. Although economic conditions have improved and many investors have increased the amount of commitments they are making to alternative investment funds,

 

32


Table of Contents

there is no assurance that this will continue. Moreover, as some existing investors cease or significantly curtail making commitments to alternative investment funds, we may need to identify and attract new investors in order to maintain or increase the size of our investment funds. There are no assurances that we can find or secure commitments from those new investors. For instance, we will soon raise capital for our seventh global real estate opportunity fund and if economic conditions were to deteriorate or if we are unable to find new investors, we might raise less than our desired amount for that fund. Moreover, as we seek to expand into other asset classes, such as funds that focus on the clean technology asset class, we may be unable to raise a sufficient amount of capital to adequately support such businesses. If we are unable to successfully raise capital, it could materially reduce our revenue and cash flow and adversely affect our financial condition.

In addition, in connection with raising new funds or making further investments in existing funds, we negotiate terms for such funds and investments with existing and potential investors. The outcome of such negotiations could result in our agreement to terms that are materially less favorable to us than for prior funds we have managed or funds managed by our competitors. Such terms could restrict our ability to raise investment funds with investment objectives or strategies that compete with existing funds, add additional expenses and obligations for us in managing the fund or increase our potential liabilities, all of which could ultimately reduce our revenues. In addition, certain institutional investors have publicly criticized certain fund fee and expense structures, including management fees and transaction and advisory fees. Although we have no obligation to modify any of our fees with respect to our existing funds, we may experience pressure to do so in our funds. For example, we have confronted and expect to continue to confront requests from a variety of investors and groups representing investors to decrease fees, which could result in a reduction in the fees and carried interest and incentive fees we earn.

Valuation methodologies for certain assets in our funds can be subject to significant subjectivity and the fair value of assets established pursuant to such methodologies may never be realized, which could result in significant losses for our funds.

There are often no readily ascertainable market prices for illiquid investments in our private equity, real estate and certain of our credit-oriented funds. We determine the value of the investments of each of our private equity, real estate and credit-oriented funds at least quarterly based on the fair value of such investments. The fair value of investments of a private equity, real estate or credit-oriented fund is generally determined using several methodologies described in the investment funds’ valuation policies.

Investments for which market prices are not observable include private investments in the equity of operating companies or real estate properties. Fair values of such investments are determined by reference to projected net earnings, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”), the discounted cash flow method, public market or private transactions, valuations for comparable companies and other measures which, in many cases, are unaudited at the time received. In determining fair values of real estate investments, we also consider projected operating cash flows, sales of comparable assets, replacement costs and capitalization rates (“cap rates”) analyses. Valuations may be derived by reference to observable valuation measures for comparable companies or assets (e.g., multiplying a key performance metric of the investee company or asset, such as EBITDA, by a relevant valuation multiple observed in the range of comparable companies or transactions), adjusted by management for differences between the investment and the referenced comparables, and in some instances by reference to option pricing models or other similar methods. Additionally, where applicable, projected distributable cash flow through debt maturity will also be considered in support of the investment’s carrying value. Private investments may also be valued at cost for a period of time after an acquisition as the best indicator of fair value. These valuation methodologies involve a significant degree of management judgment.

In certain cases debt and equity securities are valued on the basis of prices from an orderly transaction between market participants provided by reputable dealers or pricing services. In determining the value of a particular investment, pricing services may use certain information with respect to transactions in such investments, quotations from dealers, pricing matrixes, market transactions in comparable investments and various relationships between investments.

 

33


Table of Contents

The determination of fair value using these methodologies takes into consideration a range of factors including but not limited to the price at which the investment was acquired, the nature of the investment, local market conditions, trading values on public exchanges for comparable securities, current and projected operating performance and financing transactions subsequent to the acquisition of the investment. These valuation methodologies involve a significant degree of management judgment. For example, as to investments that we share with another sponsor, we may apply a different valuation methodology than the other sponsor does or derive a different value than the other sponsor has derived on the same investment. These differences might cause some investors to question our valuations.

Because there is significant uncertainty in the valuation of, or in the stability of the value of illiquid investments, the fair values of such investments as reflected in an investment fund’s net asset value do not necessarily reflect the prices that would actually be obtained by us on behalf of the investment fund when such investments are realized. Realizations at values significantly lower than the values at which investments have been reflected in prior fund net asset values would result in losses for the applicable fund, a decline in asset management fees and the loss of potential carried interest and incentive fees. Changes in values attributed to investments from quarter to quarter may result in volatility in the net asset values and results of operations and cash flow that we report from period to period. Also, a situation where asset values turn out to be materially different than values reflected in prior fund net asset values could cause investors to lose confidence in us, which would in turn result in difficulty in raising additional funds or redemptions from our hedge funds.

The historical returns attributable to our funds should not be considered as indicative of the future results of our funds or of our future results or of any returns expected on an investment in our common units.

The historical and potential future returns of the investment funds that we manage are not directly linked to returns on our common units. Therefore, any continued positive performance of the investment funds that we manage will not necessarily result in positive returns on an investment in our common units. However, poor performance of the investment funds that we manage would cause a decline in our revenue from such investment funds, and would therefore have a negative effect on our performance and in all likelihood the returns on an investment in our common units.

Moreover, with respect to the historical returns of our investment funds:

 

   

market conditions during previous periods were significantly more favorable for generating positive performance, particularly in our private equity and real estate businesses, than the market conditions we experienced in the past three years and may continue to experience for the foreseeable future;

 

   

the rates of returns of our carry funds reflect unrealized gains as of the applicable measurement date that may never be realized, which may adversely affect the ultimate value realized from those funds’ investments;

 

   

the rates of returns of our BCP and BREP funds in some years were positively influenced by a number of investments that experienced rapid and substantial increases in value following the dates on which those investments were made, which may not occur with respect to future investments;

 

   

in recent years, there has been increased competition for private equity investment opportunities resulting from the increased amount of capital invested in alternative investment funds and high liquidity in debt markets;

 

   

our investment funds’ returns in some years benefited from investment opportunities and general market conditions that may not repeat themselves (including, for example, particularly favorable borrowing conditions in the debt markets during 2005, 2006 and early 2007), and our current or future investment funds might not be able to avail themselves of comparable investment opportunities or market conditions; and

 

   

the rates of return reflect our historical cost structure, which may vary in the future due to various factors enumerated elsewhere in this report and other factors beyond our control, including changes in laws.

 

34


Table of Contents

In addition, future returns will be affected by the applicable risks described elsewhere in this Form 10-K, including risks of the industries and businesses in which a particular fund invests.

Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.

Many of our carry funds’ investments rely heavily on the use of leverage, and our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on investments will depend on our ability to access sufficient sources of indebtedness at attractive rates. For example, in many private equity investments, indebtedness may constitute approximately 70% or more of a portfolio company’s or real estate asset’s total debt and equity capitalization, including debt that may be incurred in connection with the investment. The absence of available sources of sufficient senior debt financing for extended periods of time could therefore materially and adversely affect our private equity and real estate businesses. In addition, an increase in either the general levels of interest rates or in the risk spread demanded by sources of indebtedness would make it more expensive to finance those businesses’ investments. Increases in interest rates could also make it more difficult to locate and consummate private equity investments because other potential buyers, including operating companies acting as strategic buyers, may be able to bid for an asset at a higher price due to a lower overall cost of capital or their ability to benefit from a higher amount of cost savings following the acquisition of the asset. In addition, a portion of the indebtedness used to finance private equity investments often includes high-yield debt securities issued in the capital markets. Availability of capital from the high-yield debt markets is subject to significant volatility, and there may be times when we might not be able to access those markets at attractive rates, or at all, when completing an investment.

Investments in highly leveraged entities are inherently more sensitive to declines in revenues, increases in expenses and interest rates and adverse economic, market and industry developments. The incurrence of a significant amount of indebtedness by an entity could, among other things:

 

   

give rise to an obligation to make mandatory prepayments of debt using excess cash flow, which might limit the entity’s ability to respond to changing industry conditions to the extent additional cash is needed for the response, to make unplanned but necessary capital expenditures or to take advantage of growth opportunities;

 

   

limit the entity’s ability to adjust to changing market conditions, thereby placing it at a competitive disadvantage compared to its competitors who have relatively less debt;

 

   

allow even moderate reductions in operating cash flow to render it unable to service its indebtedness, leading to a bankruptcy or other reorganization of the entity and a loss of part or all of the equity investment in it;

 

   

limit the entity’s ability to engage in strategic acquisitions that might be necessary to generate attractive returns or further growth; and

 

   

limit the entity’s ability to obtain additional financing or increase the cost of obtaining such financing, including for capital expenditures, working capital or general corporate purposes.

As a result, the risk of loss associated with a leveraged entity is generally greater than for companies with comparatively less debt. For example, many investments consummated by private equity sponsors during 2005, 2006 and 2007 that utilized significant amounts of leverage subsequently experienced severe economic stress and, in certain cases, defaulted on their debt obligations due to a decrease in revenues and cash flow precipitated by the subsequent economic downturn during 2008 and 2009.

When our BCP and BREP funds’ existing portfolio investments reach the point when debt incurred to finance those investments mature in significant amounts and must be either repaid or refinanced, those investments may materially suffer if they have generated insufficient cash flow to repay maturing debt and there is insufficient capacity and availability in the financing markets to permit them to refinance maturing debt on

 

35


Table of Contents

satisfactory terms, or at all. If a limited availability of financing for such purposes were to persist for an extended period of time, when significant amounts of the debt incurred to finance our private equity and real estate funds’ existing portfolio investments came due, these funds could be materially and adversely affected.

Many of the hedge funds in which our funds of hedge funds invest and our credit-oriented funds and CLOs may choose to use leverage as part of their respective investment programs and regularly borrow a substantial amount of their capital. The use of leverage poses a significant degree of risk and enhances the possibility of a significant loss in the value of the investment portfolio. A fund may borrow money from time to time to purchase or carry securities or may enter into derivative transactions (such as total return swaps) with counterparties that have embedded leverage. The interest expense and other costs incurred in connection with such borrowing may not be recovered by appreciation in the securities purchased or carried and will be lost—and the timing and magnitude of such losses may be accelerated or exacerbated—in the event of a decline in the market value of such securities. Gains realized with borrowed funds may cause the fund’s net asset value to increase at a faster rate than would be the case without borrowings. However, if investment results fail to cover the cost of borrowings, the fund’s net asset value could also decrease faster than if there had been no borrowings.

Increases in interest rates could also decrease the value of fixed-rate debt investments that our investment funds make.

Any of the foregoing circumstances could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

The asset management business is intensely competitive.

The asset management business is intensely competitive, with competition based on a variety of factors, including investment performance, the quality of service provided to clients, investor liquidity and willingness to invest, fund terms (including fees), brand recognition and business reputation. Our asset management business competes with a number of private equity funds, specialized investment funds, hedge funds, funds of hedge funds and other sponsors managing pools of capital, as well as corporate buyers, traditional asset managers, commercial banks, investment banks and other financial institutions (including sovereign wealth funds). A number of factors serve to increase our competitive risks:

 

   

a number of our competitors in some of our businesses have greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources and more personnel than we do;

 

   

some of our funds may not perform as well as competitors’ funds or other available investment products;

 

   

several of our competitors have significant amounts of capital, and many of them have similar investment objectives to ours, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities and may reduce the size and duration of pricing inefficiencies that many alternative investment strategies seek to exploit;

 

   

some of these competitors may also have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to investment opportunities;

 

   

some of our competitors may be subject to less regulation and accordingly may have more flexibility to undertake and execute certain businesses or investments than we can and/or bear less compliance expense than we do;

 

   

some of our competitors may have more flexibility than us in raising certain types of investment funds under the investment management contracts they have negotiated with their investors;

 

   

some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments that we want to make;

 

36


Table of Contents
   

there are relatively few barriers to entry impeding new alternative asset fund management firms, and the successful efforts of new entrants into our various businesses, including former “star” portfolio managers at large diversified financial institutions as well as such institutions themselves, is expected to continue to result in increased competition;

 

   

some of our competitors may have better expertise or be regarded by investors as having better expertise in a specific asset class or geographic region than we do;

 

   

our competitors that are corporate buyers may be able to achieve synergistic cost savings in respect of an investment, which may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for an investment;

 

   

some investors may prefer to invest with an investment manager that is not publicly traded or is smaller with only one or two investment products that it manages; and

 

   

other industry participants will from time to time seek to recruit our investment professionals and other employees away from us.

We may lose investment opportunities in the future if we do not match investment prices, structures and terms offered by competitors. Alternatively, we may experience decreased rates of return and increased risks of loss if we match investment prices, structures and terms offered by competitors. Moreover, if we are forced to compete with other alternative asset managers on the basis of price, we may not be able to maintain our current fund fee and carried interest terms. We have historically competed primarily on the performance of our funds, and not on the level of our fees or carried interest relative to those of our competitors. However, there is a risk that fees and carried interest in the alternative investment management industry will decline, without regard to the historical performance of a manager. Fee or carried interest income reductions on existing or future funds, without corresponding decreases in our cost structure, would adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

In addition, the attractiveness of our investment funds relative to investments in other investment products could decrease depending on economic conditions. This competitive pressure could adversely affect our ability to make successful investments and limit our ability to raise future investment funds, either of which would adversely impact our business, revenue, results of operations and cash flow.

The due diligence process that we undertake in connection with investments by our investment funds may not reveal all facts that may be relevant in connection with an investment.

Before making investments in private equity and other investments, we conduct due diligence that we deem reasonable and appropriate based on the facts and circumstances applicable to each investment. When conducting due diligence, we may be required to evaluate important and complex business, financial, tax, accounting, environmental and legal issues. Outside consultants, legal advisors, accountants and investment banks may be involved in the due diligence process in varying degrees depending on the type of investment. Nevertheless, when conducting due diligence and making an assessment regarding an investment, we rely on the resources available to us, including information provided by the target of the investment and, in some circumstances, third-party investigations. The due diligence investigation that we will carry out with respect to any investment opportunity may not reveal or highlight all relevant facts (including fraud) that may be necessary or helpful in evaluating such investment opportunity. Moreover, such an investigation will not necessarily result in the investment being successful.

In connection with the due diligence that our funds of hedge funds conduct in making and monitoring investments in third party hedge funds, we rely on information supplied by third party hedge funds or by service providers to such third party hedge funds. The information we receive from them may not be accurate or complete and therefore we may not have all the relevant facts necessary to properly assess and monitor our funds’ investment in a particular hedge fund.

 

37


Table of Contents

Our asset management activities involve investments in relatively high-risk, illiquid assets, and we may fail to realize any profits from these activities for a considerable period of time or lose some or all of our principal investments.

Many of our investment funds invest in securities that are not publicly traded. In many cases, our investment funds may be prohibited by contract or by applicable securities laws from selling such securities for a period of time. Our investment funds will generally not be able to sell these securities publicly unless their sale is registered under applicable securities laws, or unless an exemption from such registration is available. The ability of many of our investment funds, particularly our BCP funds, to dispose of investments is heavily dependent on the public equity markets. For example, the ability to realize any value from an investment may depend upon the ability to complete an initial public offering of the portfolio company in which such investment is held. Even if the securities are publicly traded, large holdings of securities can often be disposed of only over a substantial length of time, exposing the investment returns to risks of downward movement in market prices during the intended disposition period. Accordingly, under certain conditions, our investment funds may be forced to either sell securities at lower prices than they had expected to realize or defer—potentially for a considerable period of time—sales that they had planned to make. We have made and expect to continue to make significant principal investments in our current and future investment funds. Contributing capital to these investment funds is risky, and we may lose some or the entire principal amount of our investments.

We have engaged in large-sized investments, which involve certain complexities and risks that are not encountered in small and medium-sized investments.

Our BCP and BREP funds have invested and plan to continue to invest in large transactions. The size of these investments involves certain complexities and risks that are not encountered in small- and medium-sized investments. For example, larger transactions may be more difficult to finance, and exiting larger deals may present challenges in many cases. In addition, larger transactions may entail greater scrutiny by regulators, labor unions and other third parties.

Larger transactions may be structured as “consortium transactions” due to the size of the investment and the amount of capital required to be invested. A consortium transaction involves an equity investment in which two or more private equity firms serve together or collectively as equity sponsors. We participated in a significant number of consortium transactions in prior years due to the increased size of many of the transactions in which we were involved. Consortium transactions generally entail a reduced level of control by Blackstone over the investment because governance rights must be shared with the other private equity investors. Accordingly, we may not be able to control decisions relating to the investment, including decisions relating to the management and operation of the company and the timing and nature of any exit, which could result in the risks described in “—Our investment funds make investments in companies that we do not control.”

Any of these factors could increase the risk that our larger investments could be less successful. The consequences to our investment funds of an unsuccessful larger investment could be more severe given the size of the investment.

We often pursue investment opportunities that involve business, regulatory, legal or other complexities.

As an element of our investment style, we may pursue unusually complex investment opportunities. This can often take the form of substantial business, regulatory or legal complexity that would deter other investment managers. Our tolerance for complexity presents risks, as such transactions can be more difficult, expensive and time-consuming to finance and execute; it can be more difficult to manage or realize value from the assets acquired in such transactions; and such transactions sometimes entail a higher level of regulatory scrutiny or a greater risk of contingent liabilities. Any of these risks could harm the performance of our funds.

Our investment funds make investments in companies that we do not control.

Investments by most of our investment funds will include debt instruments and equity securities of companies that we do not control. Such instruments and securities may be acquired by our investment funds

 

38


Table of Contents

through trading activities or through purchases of securities from the issuer. In addition, our private equity and real estate funds may acquire minority equity interests (particularly in consortium transactions, as described in “—We have engaged in large-sized investments, which involve certain complexities and risks that are not encountered in small and medium-sized investments”) and may also dispose of a portion of their majority equity investments in portfolio companies over time in a manner that results in the investment funds retaining a minority investment. Those investments will be subject to the risk that the company in which the investment is made may make business, financial or management decisions with which we do not agree or that the majority stakeholders or the management of the company may take risks or otherwise act in a manner that does not serve our interests. If any of the foregoing were to occur, the values of investments by our investment funds could decrease and our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow could suffer as a result.

We expect to make investments in companies that are based outside of the United States, which may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in companies that are based in the United States.

Many of our investment funds generally invest a significant portion of their assets in the equity, debt, loans or other securities of issuers located outside the United States, and we expect that international investments will increase as a proportion of certain of our funds’ portfolios in the future. Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain factors not typically associated with investing in U.S. securities, including risks relating to:

 

   

currency exchange matters, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates and costs associated with conversion of investment principal and income from one currency into another;

 

   

less developed or efficient financial markets than in the United States, which may lead to potential price volatility and relative illiquidity;

 

   

the absence of uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and disclosure requirements and less government supervision and regulation;

 

   

differences in the legal and regulatory environment or enhanced legal and regulatory compliance;

 

   

political hostility to investments by foreign or private equity investors;

 

   

less publicly available information in respect of companies in non-U.S. markets;

 

   

certain economic and political risks, including potential exchange control regulations and restrictions on our non-U.S. investments and repatriation of profits on investments or of capital invested, the risks of political, economic or social instability, the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation and adverse economic and political developments; and

 

   

the possible imposition of non-U.S. taxes or withholding on income and gains recognized with respect to such securities.

There can be no assurance that adverse developments with respect to such risks will not adversely affect our assets that are held in certain countries or the returns from these assets.

We may not have sufficient cash to pay back “clawback” obligations if and when they are triggered under the governing agreements with our investors.

If, at the end of the life of a carry fund (or earlier with respect to certain of our real estate funds), as a result of diminished performance of later investments in any carry fund’s life, the carry fund has not achieved investment returns that (in most cases) exceed the preferred return threshold or (in all cases) the general partner receives in excess of 20% (10% or 15% in the case of certain of our credit-oriented and real estate debt carry funds) of the fund’s net profits over the life of the fund, we will be obligated to repay an amount equal to the extent to which carried interest that was previously distributed to us exceeds the amounts to which we are ultimately entitled. This obligation is known as a clawback obligation and is an obligation of any person who directly received such carried interest, including us and our employees who participate in our carried interest

 

39


Table of Contents

plans. Although a portion of any distributions by us to our unitholders may include any carried interest received by us, we do not intend to seek fulfillment of any clawback obligation by seeking to have our unitholders return any portion of such distributions attributable to carried interest associated with any clawback obligation. The clawback obligation operates with respect to a given carry fund’s own net investment performance only and performance fees of other funds are not netted for determining this contingent obligation. To the extent one or more clawback obligations were to occur for any one or more carry funds, we might not have available cash at the time such clawback obligation is triggered to repay the carried interest and satisfy such obligation. If we were unable to repay such carried interest, we would be in breach of the governing agreements with our investors and could be subject to liability. Moreover, although a clawback obligation is several, the governing agreements of most of our funds provide that to the extent another recipient of carried interest (such as a current or former employee) does not fund his or her respective share, then we and our employees who participate in such carried interest plans may have to fund additional amounts (generally up to an additional 50%) beyond what we actually received in carried interest, although we will retain the right to pursue any remedies that we have under such governing agreements against those carried interest recipients who fail to fund their obligations.

Investments by our investment funds will in most cases rank junior to investments made by others.

In most cases, the companies in which our investment funds invest will have indebtedness or equity securities, or may be permitted to incur indebtedness or to issue equity securities, that rank senior to our investment. By their terms, such instruments may provide that their holders are entitled to receive payments of dividends, interest or principal on or before the dates on which payments are to be made in respect of our investment. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a company in which an investment is made, holders of securities ranking senior to our investment would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before distributions could be made in respect of our investment. After repaying senior security holders, the company may not have any remaining assets to use for repaying amounts owed in respect of our investment. To the extent that any assets remain, holders of claims that rank equally with our investment would be entitled to share on an equal and ratable basis in distributions that are made out of those assets. Also, during periods of financial distress or following an insolvency, the ability of our investment funds to influence a company’s affairs and to take actions to protect their investments may be substantially less than that of the senior creditors.

Investors in our hedge funds may redeem their investments in these funds. In addition, the investment management agreements related to our separately managed accounts may permit the investor to terminate our management of such account on short notice. Lastly, investors in our other investment funds have the right to cause these investment funds to be dissolved. Any of these events would lead to a decrease in our revenues, which could be substantial.

Investors in our hedge funds may generally redeem their investments on an annual, semi-annual or quarterly basis following the expiration of a specified period of time when capital may not be withdrawn (typically between one and three years), subject to the applicable fund’s specific redemption provisions. In a declining market, the pace of redemptions and consequent reduction in our assets under management could accelerate. The decrease in revenues that would result from significant redemptions in our hedge funds could have a material adverse effect on our business, revenues, net income and cash flows.

We currently manage a significant portion of investor assets through separately managed accounts whereby we earn management and incentive fees, and we intend to continue to seek additional separately managed account mandates. The investment management agreements we enter into in connection with managing separately managed accounts on behalf of certain clients may be terminated by such clients on as little as 30 days’ prior written notice. In addition, the boards of directors of the investment management companies we manage, or the advisor in respect of the registered business development company we sub-advise, could terminate our advisory engagement of those companies, on as little as 30 days’ prior written notice. In the case of any such terminations, the management and incentive fees we earn in connection with managing such account or company would immediately cease, which could result in a significant adverse impact on our revenues.

 

40


Table of Contents

The governing agreements of all of our investment funds (with the exception of certain of our funds of hedge funds) provide that, subject to certain conditions, third-party investors in those funds will have the right to remove the general partner of the fund or to accelerate the liquidation date of the investment fund without cause by a simple majority vote, resulting in a reduction in management fees we would earn from such investment funds and a significant reduction in the amounts of total carried interest and incentive fees from those funds. Carried interest and incentive fees could be significantly reduced as a result of our inability to maximize the value of investments by an investment fund during the liquidation process or in the event of the triggering of a “clawback” obligation. Finally, the applicable funds would cease to exist. In addition, the governing agreements of our investment funds provide that in the event certain “key persons” in our investment funds do not meet specified time commitments with regard to managing the fund (for example, both of Stephen A. Schwarzman and Hamilton E. James in the case of our private equity funds), then investors in certain funds have the right to vote to terminate the investment period by a simple majority vote in accordance with specified procedures, accelerate the withdrawal of their capital on an investor-by-investor basis, or the fund’s investment period will automatically terminate and the vote of a simple majority of investors is required to restart it. In addition to having a significant negative impact on our revenue, net income and cash flow, the occurrence of such an event with respect to any of our investment funds would likely result in significant reputational damage to us.

In addition, because all of our investment funds have advisers that are registered under the Advisers Act, the management agreements of all of our investment funds would be terminated upon an “assignment,” without investor consent, of these agreements, which may be deemed to occur in the event these advisers were to experience a change of control. We cannot be certain that consents required for assignments of our investment management agreements will be obtained if a change of control occurs. In addition, with respect to our publicly traded closed-end mutual funds, each investment fund’s investment management agreement must be approved annually by the independent members of such investment fund’s board of directors and, in certain cases, by its stockholders, as required by law. Termination of these agreements would cause us to lose the fees we earn from such investment funds.

Third party investors in our investment funds with commitment-based structures may not satisfy their contractual obligation to fund capital calls when requested by us, which could adversely affect a fund’s operations and performance.

Investors in all of our carry funds (and certain of our hedge funds) make capital commitments to those funds that we are entitled to call from those investors at any time during prescribed periods. We depend on investors fulfilling their commitments when we call capital from them in order for those funds to consummate investments and otherwise pay their obligations (for example, management fees) when due. We have not had investors fail to honor capital calls to any meaningful extent. Any investor that did not fund a capital call would generally be subject to several possible penalties, including having a significant amount of its existing investment forfeited in that fund. However, the impact of the penalty is directly correlated to the amount of capital previously invested by the investor in the fund and if an investor has invested little or no capital, for instance early in the life of the fund, then the forfeiture penalty may not be as meaningful. Investors may also negotiate for lesser or reduced penalties at the outset of the fund, thereby inhibiting our ability to enforce the funding of a capital call. If investors were to fail to satisfy a significant amount of capital calls for any particular fund or funds, the operation and performance of those funds could be materially and adversely affected.

Certain policies and procedures implemented to mitigate potential conflicts of interest and address certain regulatory requirements may reduce the synergies across our various businesses.

Because of our various lines of asset management and advisory businesses, we will be subject to a number of actual and potential conflicts of interest and subject to greater regulatory oversight than that to which we would otherwise be subject if we had just one line of business. In addressing these conflicts and regulatory requirements across our various businesses, we have implemented certain policies and procedures (for example, information walls) that may reduce the positive synergies that we cultivate across these businesses. For example,

 

41


Table of Contents

we may come into possession of material non-public information with respect to issuers in which we may be considering making an investment or issuers that are our advisory clients. As a consequence, we may be precluded from providing such information or other ideas to our other businesses that might be of benefit to them.

Our failure to deal appropriately with conflicts of interest in our investment business could damage our reputation and adversely affect our businesses.

As we have expanded and as we continue to expand the number and scope of our businesses, we increasingly confront potential conflicts of interest relating to our funds’ investment activities. Certain of our funds may have overlapping investment objectives, including funds that have different fee structures, and potential conflicts may arise with respect to our decisions regarding how to allocate investment opportunities among those funds. For example, a decision to acquire material non-public information about a company while pursuing an investment opportunity for a particular fund gives rise to a potential conflict of interest when it results in our having to restrict the ability of other funds to take any action. Also, our decision to pursue a fund investment opportunity could preclude our ability to obtain a related advisory assignment, and vice versa. In addition, conflicts of interest may exist in the valuation of our investments and regarding decisions about the allocation of specific investment opportunities among us and our funds and the allocation of fees and costs among us, our funds and their portfolio companies. Lastly, in certain, infrequent instances we may purchase an investment alongside one of our investment funds or sell an investment to one of our investment funds and conflicts may arise in respect of the allocation, pricing and timing of such investments and the ultimate disposition of such investments. To the extent we failed to appropriately deal with any such conflicts, it could negatively impact our reputation and ability to raise additional funds or result in potential litigation against us.

Risk management activities may adversely affect the return on our funds’ investments.

When managing our exposure to market risks, we may (on our own behalf or on behalf of our funds) from time to time use forward contracts, options, swaps, caps, collars and floors or pursue other strategies or use other forms of derivative instruments to limit our exposure to changes in the relative values of investments that may result from market developments, including changes in prevailing interest rates, currency exchange rates and commodity prices. The success of any hedging or other derivative transactions generally will depend on our ability to correctly predict market changes, the degree of correlation between price movements of a derivative instrument, the position being hedged, the creditworthiness of the counterparty and other factors. As a result, while we may enter into a transaction in order to reduce our exposure to market risks, the transaction may result in poorer overall investment performance than if it had not been executed. Such transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the value of a hedged position increases.

Our real estate funds are subject to the risks inherent in the ownership and operation of real estate and the construction and development of real estate.

Investments in our real estate funds will be subject to the risks inherent in the ownership and operation of real estate and real estate related businesses and assets. These risks include those associated with the burdens of ownership of real property, general and local economic conditions, changes in supply of and demand for competing properties in an area (as a result, for instance, of overbuilding), fluctuations in the average occupancy and room rates for hotel properties, the financial resources of tenants, changes in building, environmental and other laws, energy and supply shortages, various uninsured or uninsurable risks, natural disasters, changes in government regulations (such as rent control), changes in real property tax rates, changes in interest rates, the reduced availability of mortgage funds which may render the sale or refinancing of properties difficult or impracticable, negative developments in the economy that depress travel activity, environmental liabilities, contingent liabilities on disposition of assets, terrorist attacks, war and other factors that are beyond our control. In addition, if our real estate funds acquire direct or indirect interests in undeveloped land or underdeveloped real

 

42


Table of Contents

property, which may often be non-income producing, they will be subject to the risks normally associated with such assets and development activities, including risks relating to the availability and timely receipt of zoning and other regulatory or environmental approvals, the cost and timely completion of construction (including risks beyond the control of our fund, such as weather or labor conditions or material shortages) and the availability of both construction and permanent financing on favorable terms.

Certain of our investment funds may invest in securities of companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties, including companies involved in bankruptcy or other reorganization and liquidation proceedings. Such investments are subject to a greater risk of poor performance or loss.

Certain of our investment funds, especially our credit-oriented funds, may invest in business enterprises involved in work-outs, liquidations, spin-offs, reorganizations, bankruptcies and similar transactions and may purchase high risk receivables. An investment in such business enterprises entails the risk that the transaction in which such business enterprise is involved either will be unsuccessful, will take considerable time or will result in a distribution of cash or a new security the value of which will be less than the purchase price to the fund of the security or other financial instrument in respect of which such distribution is received. In addition, if an anticipated transaction does not in fact occur, the fund may be required to sell its investment at a loss. Investments in troubled companies may also be adversely affected by U.S. federal and state laws relating to, among other things, fraudulent conveyances, voidable preferences, lender liability and a bankruptcy court’s discretionary power to disallow, subordinate or disenfranchise particular claims. Investments in securities and private claims of troubled companies made in connection with an attempt to influence a restructuring proposal or plan of reorganization in a bankruptcy case may also involve substantial litigation. Because there is substantial uncertainty concerning the outcome of transactions involving financially troubled companies, there is a potential risk of loss by a fund of its entire investment in such company. Moreover, a major economic recession could have a materially adverse impact on the value of such securities. In addition, adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may also decrease the value and liquidity of securities rated below investment grade or otherwise adversely affect our reputation.

Certain of our fund investments may be concentrated in certain asset types or in a geographic region, which could exacerbate any negative performance of those funds to the extent those concentrated investments perform poorly.

The governing agreements of our investment funds contain only limited investment restrictions and only limited requirements as to diversification of fund investments, either by geographic region or asset type. For example, over 80% of the investments of our real estate funds (based on current fair values) are in office building and hotel assets. During periods of difficult market conditions or slowdowns in these sectors, the decreased revenues, difficulty in obtaining access to financing and increased funding costs experienced by our real estate funds may be exacerbated by this concentration of investments, which would result in lower investment returns for our real estate funds.

The financial projections of our portfolio companies could prove inaccurate.

Our funds generally establish the capital structure of portfolio companies on the basis of financial projections prepared by the management of such portfolio companies. These projected operating results will normally be based primarily on judgments of the management of the portfolio companies. In all cases, projections are only estimates of future results that are based upon assumptions made at the time that the projections are developed. General economic conditions, which are not predictable, along with other factors may cause actual performance to fall short of the financial projections that were used to establish a given portfolio company’s capital structure. Because of the leverage we typically employ in our investments, this could cause a substantial decrease in the value of our equity holdings in the portfolio company. The inaccuracy of financial projections could thus cause our funds’ performance to fall short of our expectations.

 

43


Table of Contents

Contingent liabilities could harm fund performance.

We may cause our funds to acquire an investment that is subject to contingent liabilities. Such contingent liabilities could be unknown to us at the time of acquisition or, if they are known to us, we may not accurately assess or protect against the risks that they present. Acquired contingent liabilities could thus result in unforeseen losses for our funds. In addition, in connection with the disposition of an investment in a portfolio company, a fund may be required to make representations about the business and financial affairs of such portfolio company typical of those made in connection with the sale of a business. A fund may also be required to indemnify the purchasers of such investment to the extent that any such representations are inaccurate. These arrangements may result in the incurrence of contingent liabilities by a fund, even after the disposition of an investment. Accordingly, the inaccuracy of representations and warranties made by a fund could harm such fund’s performance.

Our funds may be forced to dispose of investments at a disadvantageous time.

Our funds may make investments that they do not advantageously dispose of prior to the date the applicable fund is dissolved, either by expiration of such fund’s term or otherwise. Although we generally expect that investments will be disposed of prior to dissolution or be suitable for in-kind distribution at dissolution, and the general partners of the funds have only a limited ability to extend the term of the fund with the consent of fund investors or the advisory board of the fund, as applicable, our funds may have to sell, distribute or otherwise dispose of investments at a disadvantageous time as a result of dissolution. This would result in a lower than expected return on the investments and, perhaps, on the fund itself.

Hedge fund investments are subject to numerous additional risks.

Investments by our funds of hedge funds in other hedge funds, as well as investments by our credit-oriented and real estate debt hedge funds, are subject to numerous additional risks, including the following:

 

   

Certain of the funds are newly established funds without any operating history or are managed by management companies or general partners who may not have as significant track records as an independent manager.

 

   

Generally, there are few limitations on the execution of the hedge funds’ investment strategies, which are subject to the sole discretion of the management company or the general partner of such funds.

 

   

Hedge funds may engage in short selling, which is subject to the theoretically unlimited risk of loss because there is no limit on how much the price of a security may appreciate before the short position is closed out. A fund may be subject to losses if a security lender demands return of the lent securities and an alternative lending source cannot be found or if the fund is otherwise unable to borrow securities that are necessary to hedge its positions.

 

   

Hedge funds are exposed to the risk that a counterparty will not settle a transaction in accordance with its terms and conditions because of a dispute over the terms of the contract (whether or not bona fide) or because of a credit or liquidity problem, thus causing the fund to suffer a loss. Counterparty risk is accentuated for contracts with longer maturities where events may intervene to prevent settlement, or where the fund has concentrated its transactions with a single or small group of counterparties. Generally, hedge funds are not restricted from dealing with any particular counterparty or from concentrating any or all of their transactions with one counterparty. Moreover, the funds’ internal consideration of the creditworthiness of their counterparties may prove insufficient. The absence of a regulated market to facilitate settlement may increase the potential for losses.

 

   

Credit risk may arise through a default by one of several large institutions that are dependent on one another to meet their liquidity or operational needs, so that a default by one institution causes a series of defaults by the other institutions. This “systemic risk” may adversely affect the financial intermediaries (such as clearing agencies, clearing houses, banks, securities firms and exchanges) with which the hedge funds interact on a daily basis.

 

44


Table of Contents
   

The efficacy of investment and trading strategies depend largely on the ability to establish and maintain an overall market position in a combination of financial instruments. A hedge fund’s trading orders may not be executed in a timely and efficient manner due to various circumstances, including systems failures or human error. In such event, the funds might only be able to acquire some but not all of the components of the position, or if the overall position were to need adjustment, the funds might not be able to make such adjustment. As a result, the funds would not be able to achieve the market position selected by the management company or general partner of such funds, and might incur a loss in liquidating their position.

 

   

Hedge funds are subject to risks due to potential illiquidity of assets. Hedge funds may make investments or hold trading positions in markets that are volatile and which may become illiquid. Timely divestiture or sale of trading positions can be impaired by decreased trading volume, increased price volatility, concentrated trading positions, limitations on the ability to transfer positions in highly specialized or structured transactions to which they may be a party, and changes in industry and government regulations. It may be impossible or costly for hedge funds to liquidate positions rapidly in order to meet margin calls, withdrawal requests or otherwise, particularly if there are other market participants seeking to dispose of similar assets at the same time or the relevant market is otherwise moving against a position or in the event of trading halts or daily price movement limits on the market or otherwise. Moreover, these risks may be exacerbated for our funds of hedge funds. For example, if one of our funds of hedge funds were to invest a significant portion of its assets in two or more hedge funds that each had illiquid positions in the same issuer, the illiquidity risk for our funds of hedge funds would be compounded. For example, in 2008 many hedge funds, including some of our hedge funds, experienced significant declines in value. In many cases, these declines in value were both provoked and exacerbated by margin calls and forced selling of assets. Moreover, certain of our funds of hedge funds were invested in third party hedge funds that halted redemptions in the face of illiquidity and other issues, which precluded those funds of hedge funds from receiving their capital back on request.

 

   

Hedge fund investments are subject to risks relating to investments in commodities, futures, options and other derivatives, the prices of which are highly volatile and may be subject to the theoretically unlimited risk of loss in certain circumstances, including if the fund writes a call option. Price movements of commodities, futures and options contracts and payments pursuant to swap agreements are influenced by, among other things, interest rates, changing supply and demand relationships, trade, fiscal, monetary and exchange control programs and policies of governments and national and international political and economic events and policies. The value of futures, options and swap agreements also depends upon the price of the commodities underlying them. In addition, hedge funds’ assets are subject to the risk of the failure of any of the exchanges on which their positions trade or of their clearinghouses or counterparties. Most U.S. commodities exchanges limit fluctuations in certain commodity interest prices during a single day by imposing “daily price fluctuation limits” or “daily limits,” the existence of which may reduce liquidity or effectively curtail trading in particular markets.

Risks Related to Our Financial Advisory Business

Financial advisory fees are not long-term contracted sources of revenue and are not predictable.

The fees earned by our financial advisory business are typically payable upon the successful completion of a particular transaction or restructuring. A decline in our financial advisory engagements or the market for advisory services would adversely affect our business.

Our financial advisory business operates in a highly competitive environment where typically there are no long-term contracted sources of revenue. Each revenue generating engagement typically is separately solicited, awarded and negotiated. In addition, many businesses do not routinely engage in transactions requiring our services. As a consequence, our fee-paying engagements with many clients are not predictable and high levels of financial advisory revenue in one quarter are not necessarily predictive of continued high levels of financial advisory revenue in future periods. In addition to the fact that most of our financial advisory engagements are

 

45


Table of Contents

single, non-recurring engagements, we lose clients each year as a result of a client’s decision to retain other financial advisors, the sale, merger or restructuring of a client, a change in a client’s senior management and various other causes. Moreover, in any given year our financial advisory engagements may be limited to a relatively smaller number of clients and an even smaller number of those clients may account for a disproportionate percentage of our financial advisory revenues in any such year. As a result, the adverse impact on our results of operations of one lost engagement or the failure of one transaction or restructuring on which we are advising to be completed could be significant. Revenue volumes in our financial advisory business tend to be affected by economic and capital market conditions, with greater merger activity—and therefore higher revenues in our Financial and Strategic Advisory Services business—generally resulting when the economy is growing, and more bankruptcies and restructurings—and therefore higher revenues in our Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory Services business—generally resulting in weak economic periods. Accordingly, our financial advisory revenue can fluctuate up or down considerably depending on economic conditions.

The fees earned by Park Hill Group, our fund placement business, are generally recognized by us for accounting purposes upon the successful subscription by an investor in a client’s fund and/or the closing of that fund. However, those fees are typically actually paid by a Park Hill Group client over a period of time (e.g., two to three years) following such successful subscription by an investor in a client’s fund and/or the closing of that fund with interest. There is a risk that during that period of time, Park Hill Group may not be able to collect on all or a portion of the fees Park Hill is due for the placement services it has already provided to such client. For instance, a Park Hill client’s fund may be liquidated prior to the time that all or a portion of the fees due to Park Hill for its placement services are due to be paid. Moreover, to the extent fewer assets are raised for funds or interest by investors in alternative asset funds declines, the fees earned by Park Hill Group would be adversely affected. During 2009, a difficult year for fund-raising for funds in the alternative asset class, Park Hill experienced a material decline in revenue due to fewer placement mandates and fewer assets being raised.

We face strong competition from other financial advisory firms.

The financial advisory industry is intensely competitive, and we expect it to remain so. We compete on the basis of a number of factors, including the quality of our employees, transaction execution, our products and services, innovation and reputation and price. We have always experienced intense competition over obtaining advisory mandates, and we may experience pricing pressures in our financial advisory business in the future as some of our competitors seek to obtain increased market share by reducing fees. Our primary competitors in our financial advisory business are large financial institutions, many of which have far greater financial and other resources and much broader client relationships than us and (unlike us) have the ability to offer a wide range of products, from loans, deposit taking and insurance to brokerage and a wide range of investment banking services, which may enhance their competitive position. They also have the ability to support investment banking, including financial advisory services, with commercial banking, insurance and other financial services and products in an effort to gain market share, which puts us at a competitive disadvantage and could result in pricing pressures that could materially adversely affect our revenue and profitability. In the current market environment, we are also seeing increased competition from independent boutique advisory firms focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions advisory and/or restructuring services. In addition, Park Hill Group operates in a highly competitive environment and the barriers to entry into the fund placement business are low.

Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure

Our common unitholders do not elect our general partner or vote on our general partner’s directors and have limited ability to influence decisions regarding our business.

Our general partner, Blackstone Group Management L.L.C., which is owned by our senior managing directors, manages all of our operations and activities. Blackstone Group Management L.L.C. has a board of directors that is responsible for the oversight of our business and operations. Our general partner’s board of directors is elected in accordance with its limited liability company agreement, where our senior managing directors have agreed that our founder, Stephen A. Schwarzman, will have the power to appoint and remove the

 

46


Table of Contents

directors of our general partner. The limited liability company agreement of our general partner provides that at such time as Mr. Schwarzman should cease to be a founder, Hamilton E. James will thereupon succeed Mr. Schwarzman as the sole founding member of our general partner, and thereafter such power will revert to the members of our general partner (our senior managing directors) holding a majority in interest in our general partner.

Our common unitholders do not elect our general partner or its board of directors and, unlike the holders of common stock in a corporation, have only limited voting rights on matters affecting our business and therefore limited ability to influence decisions regarding our business. Furthermore, if our common unitholders are dissatisfied with the performance of our general partner, they have little ability to remove our general partner. Our general partner may not be removed unless that removal is approved by the vote of the holders of not less than two-thirds of the voting power of our outstanding common units and special voting units (including common units and special voting units held by the general partner and its affiliates) and we receive an opinion of counsel regarding limited liability matters. As of December 31, 2010, Blackstone Partners L.L.C., an entity wholly owned by our senior managing directors, had 69.4% of the voting power of The Blackstone Group L.P. limited partners. Therefore, our senior managing directors have the ability to remove or block any removal of our general partner and thus control The Blackstone Group L.P.

Blackstone personnel collectively own a controlling interest in us and will be able to determine the outcome of those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of the limited partners.

Our senior managing directors generally have sufficient voting power to determine the outcome of those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of the limited partners of the Blackstone Group L.P., including any attempt to remove our general partner.

Our common unitholders’ voting rights are further restricted by the provision in our partnership agreement stating that any common units held by a person that beneficially owns 20% or more of any class of The Blackstone Group L.P. common units then outstanding (other than our general partner and its affiliates, or a direct or subsequently approved transferee of our general partner or its affiliates) cannot be voted on any matter. In addition, our partnership agreement contains provisions limiting the ability of our common unitholders to call meetings or to acquire information about our operations, as well as other provisions limiting the ability of our common unitholders to influence the manner or direction of our management. Our partnership agreement also does not restrict our general partner’s ability to take actions that may result in our being treated as an entity taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal (and applicable state) income tax purposes. Furthermore, the common unitholders are not entitled to dissenters’ rights of appraisal under our partnership agreement or applicable Delaware law in the event of a merger or consolidation, a sale of substantially all of our assets or any other transaction or event. In addition, we have the right to acquire all of our then-outstanding common units if not more than 10% of our common units are held by persons other than our general partner and its affiliates.

As a result of these matters and the provisions referred to under “—Our common unitholders do not elect our general partner or vote on our general partner’s directors and have limited ability to influence decisions regarding our business”, our common unitholders may be deprived of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common units in the future through a sale of The Blackstone Group L.P., and the trading prices of our common units may be adversely affected by the absence or reduction of a takeover premium in the trading price.

We are a limited partnership and as a result fall within exceptions from certain corporate governance and other requirements under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange.

We are a limited partnership and fall within exceptions from certain corporate governance and other requirements of the rules of the New York Stock Exchange. Pursuant to these exceptions, limited partnerships may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements of the New York Stock Exchange, including the requirements (a) that a majority of the board of directors of our general partner consist of

 

47


Table of Contents

independent directors, (b) that we have a nominating/corporate governance committee that is composed entirely of independent directors and (c) that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors. In addition, we are not required to hold annual meetings of our common unitholders. We will continue to avail ourselves of these exceptions. Accordingly, common unitholders generally do not have the same protections afforded to equityholders of entities that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the New York Stock Exchange.

Potential conflicts of interest may arise among our general partner, its affiliates and us. Our general partner and its affiliates have limited fiduciary duties to us and our common unitholders, which may permit them to favor their own interests to the detriment of us and our common unitholders.

Conflicts of interest may arise among our general partner and its affiliates, on the one hand, and us and our common unitholders, on the other hand. As a result of these conflicts, our general partner may favor its own interests and the interests of its affiliates over the interests of our common unitholders. These conflicts include, among others, the following:

 

   

our general partner determines the amount and timing of our investments and dispositions, indebtedness, issuances of additional partnership interests and amounts of reserves, each of which can affect the amount of cash that is available for distribution to our common unitholders;

 

   

our general partner is allowed to take into account the interests of parties other than us in resolving conflicts of interest, which has the effect of limiting its duties (including fiduciary duties) to our common unitholders. For example, our subsidiaries that serve as the general partners of our investment funds have fiduciary and contractual obligations to the investors in those funds and certain of our subsidiaries engaged in our advisory business have contractual duties to their clients, as a result of which we expect to regularly take actions that might adversely affect our near-term results of operations or cash flow;

 

   

because our senior managing directors hold their Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units directly or through entities that are not subject to corporate income taxation and The Blackstone Group L.P. holds Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units through wholly owned subsidiaries, some of which are subject to corporate income taxation, conflicts may arise between our senior managing directors and The Blackstone Group L.P. relating to the selection and structuring of investments;

 

   

other than as set forth in the non-competition and non-solicitation agreements to which our senior managing directors are subject, which may not be enforceable, affiliates of our general partner and existing and former personnel employed by our general partner are not prohibited from engaging in other businesses or activities, including those that might be in direct competition with us;

 

   

our general partner has limited its liability and reduced or eliminated its duties (including fiduciary duties) under the partnership agreement, while also restricting the remedies available to our common unitholders for actions that, without these limitations, might constitute breaches of duty (including fiduciary duty). In addition, we have agreed to indemnify our general partner and its affiliates to the fullest extent permitted by law, except with respect to conduct involving bad faith, fraud or willful misconduct. By purchasing our common units, common unitholders will have agreed and consented to the provisions set forth in our partnership agreement, including the provisions regarding conflicts of interest situations that, in the absence of such provisions, might constitute a breach of fiduciary or other duties under applicable state law;

 

   

our partnership agreement does not restrict our general partner from causing us to pay it or its affiliates for any services rendered, or from entering into additional contractual arrangements with any of these entities on our behalf, so long as the terms of any such additional contractual arrangements are fair and reasonable to us as determined under the partnership agreement;

 

   

our general partner determines how much debt we incur and that decision may adversely affect our credit ratings;

 

48


Table of Contents
   

our general partner determines which costs incurred by it and its affiliates are reimbursable by us;

 

   

our general partner controls the enforcement of obligations owed to us by it and its affiliates; and

 

   

our general partner decides whether to retain separate counsel, accountants or others to perform services for us.

See “Part III. Item 13. Certain Relationships, Related Transactions and Director Independence” and “Part III. Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance—Partnership Management and Governance—Conflicts Committee.”

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that reduce or eliminate duties (including fiduciary duties) of our general partner and limit remedies available to common unitholders for actions that might otherwise constitute a breach of duty. It will be difficult for a common unitholder to successfully challenge a resolution of a conflict of interest by our general partner or by its conflicts committee.

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that waive or consent to conduct by our general partner and its affiliates that might otherwise raise issues about compliance with fiduciary duties or applicable law. For example, our partnership agreement provides that when our general partner is acting in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner, it may act without any fiduciary obligations to us or our common unitholders whatsoever. When our general partner, in its capacity as our general partner, is permitted to or required to make a decision in its “sole discretion” or “discretion” or that it deems “necessary or appropriate” or “necessary or advisable,” then our general partner is entitled to consider only such interests and factors as it desires, including its own interests, and has no duty or obligation (fiduciary or otherwise) to give any consideration to any interest of or factors affecting us or any limited partners and will not be subject to any different standards imposed by the partnership agreement, the Delaware Limited Partnership Act or under any other law, rule or regulation or in equity. These modifications of fiduciary duties are expressly permitted by Delaware law. Hence, we and our common unitholders only have recourse and are able to seek remedies against our general partner if our general partner breaches its obligations pursuant to our partnership agreement. Unless our general partner breaches its obligations pursuant to our partnership agreement, we and our common unitholders do not have any recourse against our general partner even if our general partner were to act in a manner that was inconsistent with traditional fiduciary duties. Furthermore, even if there has been a breach of the obligations set forth in our partnership agreement, our partnership agreement provides that our general partner and its officers and directors are not liable to us or our common unitholders for errors of judgment or for any acts or omissions unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that the general partner or its officers and directors acted in bad faith or engaged in fraud or willful misconduct. These modifications are detrimental to the common unitholders because they restrict the remedies available to common unitholders for actions that without those limitations might constitute breaches of duty (including fiduciary duty).

Whenever a potential conflict of interest exists between us and our general partner, our general partner may resolve such conflict of interest. If our general partner determines that its resolution of the conflict of interest is on terms no less favorable to us than those generally being provided to or available from unrelated third parties or is fair and reasonable to us, taking into account the totality of the relationships between us and our general partner, then it will be presumed that in making this determination, our general partner acted in good faith. A common unitholder seeking to challenge this resolution of the conflict of interest would bear the burden of overcoming such presumption. This is different from the situation with Delaware corporations, where a conflict resolution by an interested party would be presumed to be unfair and the interested party would have the burden of demonstrating that the resolution was fair.

Also, if our general partner obtains the approval of the conflicts committee of our general partner, the resolution will be conclusively deemed to be fair and reasonable to us and not a breach by our general partner of any duties it may owe to us or our common unitholders. This is different from the situation with Delaware

 

49


Table of Contents

corporations, where a conflict resolution by a committee consisting solely of independent directors may, in certain circumstances, merely shift the burden of demonstrating unfairness to the plaintiff. Common unitholders, in purchasing our common units, are deemed as having consented to the provisions set forth in the partnership agreement, including provisions regarding conflicts of interest situations that, in the absence of such provisions, might be considered a breach of fiduciary or other duties under applicable state law. As a result, common unitholders will, as a practical matter, not be able to successfully challenge an informed decision by the conflicts committee. See “Part III. Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance—Partnership Management and Governance—Conflicts Committee.”

The control of our general partner may be transferred to a third party without common unitholder consent.

Our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or consolidation without the consent of our common unitholders. Furthermore, at any time, the members of our general partner may sell or transfer all or part of their limited liability company interests in our general partner without the approval of the common unitholders, subject to certain restrictions as described elsewhere in this annual report. A new general partner may not be willing or able to form new investment funds and could form funds that have investment objectives and governing terms that differ materially from those of our current investment funds. A new owner could also have a different investment philosophy, employ investment professionals who are less experienced, be unsuccessful in identifying investment opportunities or have a track record that is not as successful as Blackstone’s track record. If any of the foregoing were to occur, we could experience difficulty in making new investments, and the value of our existing investments, our business, our results of operations and our financial condition could materially suffer.

We intend to pay regular distributions to our common unitholders, but our ability to do so may be limited by our holding partnership structure, applicable provisions of Delaware law and contractual restrictions.

Our current intention is to distribute to our common unitholders substantially all of The Blackstone Group L.P.’s net after-tax share of our annual Distributable Earnings in excess of amounts determined by our general partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of our business, to make appropriate investments in our business and our funds, to comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements, or to provide for future distributions to our unitholders for any ensuing quarter. The declaration and payment of any distributions will be at the sole discretion of our general partner, which may change our distribution policy at any time. The Blackstone Group L.P. is a holding partnership and has no material assets other than the ownership of the partnership units in Blackstone Holdings held through wholly owned subsidiaries. The Blackstone Group L.P. has no independent means of generating revenue. Accordingly, we intend to cause Blackstone Holdings to make distributions to its partners, including The Blackstone Group L.P.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries, to fund any distributions The Blackstone Group L.P. may declare on the common units. Distributable Earnings is a non-GAAP measure intended to show the amount of our net realized earnings.

Our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders will depend on a number of factors, including among others general economic and business conditions, our strategic plans and prospects, our business and investment opportunities, our financial condition and operating results, working capital requirements and anticipated cash needs, contractual restrictions and obligations including fulfilling our current and future capital commitments, legal, tax and regulatory restrictions, restrictions and other implications on the payment of distributions by us to our common unitholders or by our subsidiaries to us and such other factors as our general partner may deem relevant.

All of the foregoing is subject to the qualification that the declaration and payment of any distributions are at the sole discretion of our general partner and our general partner may change our distribution policy at any time.

Under the Delaware Limited Partnership Act, we may not make a distribution to a partner if after the distribution all our liabilities, other than liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interests and

 

50


Table of Contents

liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of our assets. If we were to make such an impermissible distribution, any limited partner who received a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Limited Partnership Act would be liable to us for the amount of the distribution for three years. In addition, the terms of our revolving credit facility or other financing arrangements may from time to time include covenants or other restrictions that could constrain our ability to make distributions.

We expect to record significant net losses for a number of years as a result of the amortization of finite-lived intangible assets and non-cash equity-based compensation.

As part of the reorganization related to our initial public offering we acquired interests in our business from our predecessor owners. This transaction has been accounted for partially as a transfer of interests under common control and partially as an acquisition of non-controlling interests. We accounted for the acquisition of the non-controlling interests using the purchase method of accounting, and reflected the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the tangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed as goodwill and other intangible assets on our statement of financial condition. As of December 31, 2010, we have recorded $779.3 million of finite-lived intangible assets (in addition to $1.7 billion of goodwill). We are amortizing these finite-lived intangibles over their estimated useful lives, which range between five and fifteen years, using the straight-line method. In addition, as part of the reorganization at the time of our IPO, Blackstone personnel received an aggregate of 827,516,625 Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units, of which 439,711,537 were unvested. The grant date fair value of the unvested Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units (which was $31) is being charged to expense as the Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units vest over the assumed service periods, which range up to eight years, on a straight-line basis. The amortization of these finite-lived intangible assets and of this non-cash equity-based compensation will increase our expenses substantially during the relevant periods.

We are required to pay our senior managing directors for most of the benefits relating to any additional tax depreciation or amortization deductions we may claim as a result of the tax basis step-up we received as part of the reorganization we implemented in connection with our IPO or receive in connection with future exchanges of our common units and related transactions.

As part of the reorganization we implemented in connection with our IPO, we purchased interests in our business from our pre-IPO owners. In addition, holders of partnership units in Blackstone Holdings (other than The Blackstone Group L.P.’s wholly owned subsidiaries), subject to the vesting and minimum retained ownership requirements and transfer restrictions set forth in the partnership agreements of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships, may up to four times each year (subject to the terms of the exchange agreement) exchange their Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units for The Blackstone Group L.P. common units on a one-for-one basis. A Blackstone Holdings limited partner must exchange one partnership unit in each of the four Blackstone Holdings partnerships to effect an exchange for a common unit. The purchase and subsequent exchanges are expected to result in increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of Blackstone Holdings that otherwise would not have been available. These increases in tax basis may increase (for tax purposes) depreciation and amortization and therefore reduce the amount of tax that certain of The Blackstone Group L.P.’s wholly owned subsidiaries that are taxable as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which we refer to as the “corporate taxpayers,” would otherwise be required to pay in the future, although the IRS may challenge all or part of that tax basis increase, and a court could sustain such a challenge.

One of the corporate taxpayers has entered into a tax receivable agreement with our senior managing directors and other pre-IPO owners that provides for the payment by the corporate taxpayer to the counterparties of 85% of the amount of cash savings, if any, in U.S. federal, state and local income tax or franchise tax that the corporate taxpayers actually realize as a result of these increases in tax basis and of certain other tax benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the tax receivable agreement. In addition, additional tax receivable agreements have been executed, and others may continue to be executed, with newly admitted Blackstone senior managing directors and certain others who

 

51


Table of Contents

receive Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units. This payment obligation is an obligation of the corporate taxpayer and not of Blackstone Holdings. As such, the cash distributions to public common unitholders may vary from holders of Blackstone Holdings units (held by Blackstone personnel and others) to the extent payments are made under the tax receivable agreements to selling holders of Blackstone Holdings units. As the payments reflect actual tax savings received by Blackstone entities, there may be a timing difference between the tax savings received by Blackstone entities and the cash payments to selling holders of Blackstone Holdings units. While the actual increase in tax basis, as well as the amount and timing of any payments under this agreement, will vary depending upon a number of factors, including the timing of exchanges, the price of our common units at the time of the exchange, the extent to which such exchanges are taxable and the amount and timing of our income, we expect that as a result of the size of the increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of Blackstone Holdings, the payments that we may make under the tax receivable agreements will be substantial. The payments under a tax receivable agreement are not conditioned upon a tax receivable agreement counterparty’s continued ownership of us. We may need to incur debt to finance payments under the tax receivable agreement to the extent our cash resources are insufficient to meet our obligations under the tax receivable agreements as a result of timing discrepancies or otherwise.

Although we are not aware of any issue that would cause the IRS to challenge a tax basis increase, the tax receivable agreement counterparties will not reimburse us for any payments previously made under the tax receivable agreement. As a result, in certain circumstances payments to the counterparties under the tax receivable agreement could be in excess of the corporate taxpayers’ actual cash tax savings. The corporate taxpayers’ ability to achieve benefits from any tax basis increase, and the payments to be made under the tax receivable agreements, will depend upon a number of factors, as discussed above, including the timing and amount of our future income.

If The Blackstone Group L.P. were deemed an “investment company” under the 1940 Act, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our business.

An entity will generally be deemed to be an “investment company” for purposes of the 1940 Act if: (a) it is or holds itself out as being engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities; or (b) absent an applicable exemption, it owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis. We believe that we are engaged primarily in the business of providing asset management and financial advisory services and not in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. We also believe that the primary source of income from each of our businesses is properly characterized as income earned in exchange for the provision of services. We hold ourselves out as an asset management and financial advisory firm and do not propose to engage primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Accordingly, we do not believe that The Blackstone Group L.P. is an “orthodox” investment company as defined in section 3(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act and described in clause (a) in the first sentence of this paragraph. Furthermore, The Blackstone Group L.P. does not have any material assets other than its equity interests in certain wholly owned subsidiaries, which in turn will have no material assets (other than intercompany debt) other than general partner interests in the Blackstone Holdings partnerships. These wholly owned subsidiaries are the sole general partners of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships and are vested with all management and control over the Blackstone Holdings partnerships. We do not believe the equity interests of The Blackstone Group L.P. in its wholly owned subsidiaries or the general partner interests of these wholly owned subsidiaries in the Blackstone Holdings partnerships are investment securities. Moreover, because we believe that the capital interests of the general partners of our funds in their respective funds are neither securities nor investment securities, we believe that less than 40% of The Blackstone Group L.P.’s total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis are comprised of assets that could be considered investment securities. Accordingly, we do not believe The Blackstone Group L.P. is an inadvertent investment company by virtue of the 40% test in section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act as described in clause (b) in the first sentence of this paragraph. In addition, we believe The Blackstone Group L.P. is not an investment company under section 3(b)(1) of the 1940 Act because it is primarily engaged in a non-investment company business.

 

52


Table of Contents

The 1940 Act and the rules thereunder contain detailed parameters for the organization and operation of investment companies. Among other things, the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder limit or prohibit transactions with affiliates, impose limitations on the issuance of debt and equity securities, generally prohibit the issuance of options and impose certain governance requirements. We intend to conduct our operations so that The Blackstone Group L.P. will not be deemed to be an investment company under the 1940 Act. If anything were to happen which would cause The Blackstone Group L.P. to be deemed to be an investment company under the 1940 Act, requirements imposed by the 1940 Act, including limitations on our capital structure, ability to transact business with affiliates (including us) and ability to compensate key employees, could make it impractical for us to continue our business as currently conducted, impair the agreements and arrangements between and among The Blackstone Group L.P., Blackstone Holdings and our senior managing directors, or any combination thereof, and materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may be required to limit the amount of investments that we make as a principal or otherwise conduct our business in a manner that does not subject us to the registration and other requirements of the 1940 Act.

Risks Related to Our Common Units

Our common unit price may decline due to the large number of common units eligible for future sale and for exchange.

The market price of our common units could decline as a result of sales of a large number of common units in the market in the future or the perception that such sales could occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell common units in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. We had a total of 343,303,073 voting common units outstanding as of February 18, 2011. Subject to the lock-up restrictions described below, we may issue and sell in the future additional common units. Limited partners of Blackstone Holdings own an aggregate of 640,170,462 Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units outstanding as of February 18, 2011. In connection with our initial public offering, we entered into an exchange agreement with holders of Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units (other than The Blackstone Group L.P.’s wholly owned subsidiaries) so that these holders, subject to the vesting and minimum retained ownership requirements and transfer restrictions set forth in the partnership agreements of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships, may up to four times each year (subject to the terms of the exchange agreement) exchange their Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units for The Blackstone Group L.P. common units on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for splits, unit distributions and reclassifications. A Blackstone Holdings limited partner must exchange one partnership unit in each of the four Blackstone Holdings partnerships to effect an exchange for a common unit. The common units we issue upon such exchanges would be “restricted securities,” as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act, unless we register such issuances. However, we have entered into a registration rights agreement with the limited partners of Blackstone Holdings that would require us to register these common units under the Securities Act. See “Part III. Item 13. Certain Relationships, Related Transactions and Director Independence—Transactions with Related Persons—Registration Rights Agreement”. While the partnership agreements of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships and related agreements contractually restrict the ability of Blackstone personnel to transfer the Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units or The Blackstone Group L.P. common units they hold and require that they maintain a minimum amount of equity ownership during their employ by us, these contractual provisions may lapse over time or be waived, modified or amended at any time.

In addition, in June 2007, we entered into an agreement with Beijing Wonderful Investments, an investment vehicle established and controlled by The People’s Republic of China, pursuant to which we sold to it 101,334,234 non-voting common units for $3.00 billion at a purchase price per common unit of $29.605. Beijing Wonderful Investments will be able to sell these common units subject to certain transfer restrictions. We have agreed to provide Beijing Wonderful Investments with registration rights to effect certain sales.

As of February 18, 2011, we had granted 30,571,950 outstanding deferred restricted common units and 15,460,142 outstanding deferred restricted Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units, which are subject to specified

 

53


Table of Contents

vesting requirements, to our non-senior managing director professionals and senior managing directors under our 2007 Equity Incentive Plan. The aggregate number of common units and Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units covered by our 2007 Equity Incentive Plan is increased on the first day of each fiscal year during its term by a number of units equal to the positive difference, if any, of (a) 15% of the aggregate number of common units and Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units outstanding on the last day of the immediately preceding fiscal year (excluding Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units held by The Blackstone Group L.P. or its wholly-owned subsidiaries) minus (b) the aggregate number of common units and Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units covered by our 2007 Equity Incentive Plan as of such date (unless the administrator of the 2007 Equity Incentive Plan should decide to increase the number of common units and Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units covered by the plan by a lesser amount). An aggregate of 157,046,304 additional common units and Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units were available for grant under our 2007 Equity Incentive Plan as of February 19, 2011. We have filed a registration statement and intend to file additional registration statements on Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register common units covered by our 2007 Equity Incentive Plan (including pursuant to automatic annual increases). Any such Form S-8 registration statement will automatically become effective upon filing. Accordingly, common units registered under such registration statement will be available for sale in the open market.

In addition, our partnership agreement authorizes us to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership securities and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to partnership securities for the consideration and on the terms and conditions established by our general partner in its sole discretion without the approval of any limited partners. In accordance with the Delaware Limited Partnership Act and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may also issue additional partnership interests that have certain designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to common units. Similarly, the Blackstone Holdings partnership agreements authorize the wholly owned subsidiaries of The Blackstone Group L.P. which are the general partners of those partnerships to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership securities of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships with such designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to the Blackstone Holdings partnerships units, and which may be exchangeable for our common units.

The market price of our common units may be volatile, which could cause the value of your investment to decline.

Securities markets worldwide experience significant price and volume fluctuations. This market volatility, as well as general economic, market or political conditions, could reduce the market price of common units in spite of our operating performance. In addition, our operating results could be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors, and in response the market price of our common units could decrease significantly. You may be unable to resell your common units at or above the price you paid for them.

Risks Related to United States Taxation

Our structure involves complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. Our structure also is subject to potential legislative, judicial or administrative change and differing interpretations, possibly on a retroactive basis.

The U.S. federal income tax treatment of common unitholders depends in some instances on determinations of fact and interpretations of complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. The U.S. federal income tax rules are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or “IRS,” and the U.S. Treasury Department, frequently resulting in revised interpretations of established concepts, statutory changes, revisions to regulations and other modifications and interpretations. The IRS pays close attention to the proper application of tax laws to partnerships. The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of an investment in our common units may be modified by administrative, legislative or judicial interpretation at any time, and any such action may affect

 

54


Table of Contents

investments and commitments previously made. Changes to the U.S. federal income tax laws and interpretations thereof could make it more difficult or impossible to meet the exception for us to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes that is not taxable as a corporation (referred to as the “Qualifying Income Exception”), affect or cause us to change our investments and commitments, affect the tax considerations of an investment in us, change the character or treatment of portions of our income (including, for instance, the treatment of carried interest as ordinary income rather than capital gain) and adversely affect an investment in our common units. For example, as discussed above under “—The U.S. Congress recently considered legislation that, if enacted, would have (a) for taxable years beginning ten years after the date of enactment, precluded us from qualifying as a partnership or required us to hold carried interest through taxable subsidiary corporations and (b) taxed individual holders of common units with respect to certain income and gains at increased rates. If any similar legislation were to be enacted and apply to us, we could incur a material increase in our tax liability and a substantial portion of our income could be taxed at a higher rate to the individual holders of our common units”, the U.S. Congress recently considered various legislative proposals to treat all or part of the capital gain and dividend income that is recognized by an investment partnership and allocable to a partner affiliated with the sponsor of the partnership (i.e., a portion of the carried interest) as ordinary income to such partner for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Our organizational documents and governing agreements permit our general partner to modify our amended and restated limited partnership agreement from time to time, without the consent of the common unitholders, to address certain changes in U.S. federal income tax regulations, legislation or interpretation. In some circumstances, such revisions could have a material adverse impact on some or all common unitholders. Moreover, we will apply certain assumptions and conventions in an attempt to comply with applicable rules and to report income, gain, deduction, loss and credit to common unitholders in a manner that reflects such common unitholders’ beneficial ownership of partnership items, taking into account variation in unitholder ownership interests during each taxable year because of trading activity. More specifically, our allocations of items of taxable income and loss between transferors and transferees of our units will be determined annually, will be prorated on a monthly basis and will be subsequently apportioned among the unitholders in proportion to the number of units owned by each of them determined as of the opening of trading of our units on the New York Stock Exchange on the first business day of every month. As a result, a unitholder transferring units may be allocated income, gain, loss and deductions realized after the date of transfer. However, those assumptions and conventions may not be in compliance with all aspects of applicable tax requirements. It is possible that the IRS will assert successfully that the conventions and assumptions used by us do not satisfy the technical requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and/or Treasury regulations and could require that items of income, gain, deductions, loss or credit, including interest deductions, be adjusted, reallocated or disallowed in a manner that adversely affects common unitholders.

If we were treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax or state tax purposes, then our distributions to our common unitholders would be substantially reduced and the value of our common units would be adversely affected.

The value of our common units depends in part on our being treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which requires that 90% or more of our gross income for every taxable year consist of qualifying income, as defined in Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code and that The Blackstone Group L.P. not be registered under the 1940 Act. Qualifying income generally includes dividends, interest, capital gains from the sale or other disposition of stocks and securities and certain other forms of investment income. We may not meet these requirements or current law may change so as to cause, in either event, us to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes or otherwise subject to U.S. federal income tax. Moreover, the anticipated after-tax benefit of an investment in our common units depends largely on our being treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We have not requested, and do not plan to request, a ruling from the IRS on this or any other matter affecting us.

If we were treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would pay U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income at the corporate tax rate. Distributions to our common unitholders would generally be

 

55


Table of Contents

taxed again as corporate distributions, and no income, gains, losses, deductions or credits would flow through to you. Because a tax would be imposed upon us as a corporation, our distributions to our common unitholders would be substantially reduced, likely causing a substantial reduction in the value of our common units.

Current law may change, causing us to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal or state income tax purposes or otherwise subjecting us to entity level taxation. See “—The U.S. Congress recently considered legislation that, if enacted, would have (a) for taxable years beginning ten years after the date of enactment, precluded us from qualifying as a partnership or required us to hold carried interest through taxable subsidiary corporations and (b) taxed individual holders of common units with respect to certain income and gains at increased rates. If any similar legislation were to be enacted and apply to us, we could incur a material increase in our tax liability and a substantial portion of our income could be taxed at a higher rate to the individual holders of our common units.” For example, because of widespread state budget deficits, several states are evaluating ways to subject partnerships to entity level taxation through the imposition of state income, franchise or other forms of taxation. If any state were to impose a tax upon us as an entity, our distributions to our common unitholders would be reduced.

Our common unitholders may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on their share of our taxable income, regardless of whether they receive any cash distributions from us.

As long as 90% of our gross income for each taxable year constitutes qualifying income as defined in Section 7704 of the Internal Revenue Code and we are not required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act on a continuing basis, we will be treated, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as a partnership and not as an association or a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation. Accordingly, each unitholder will be required to take into account its allocable share of items of income, gain, loss and deduction of the Partnership. Distributions to a unitholder will generally be taxable to the unitholder for U.S. federal income tax purposes only to the extent the amount distributed exceeds the unitholder’s tax basis in the unit. That treatment contrasts with the treatment of a shareholder in a corporation. For example, a shareholder in a corporation who receives a distribution of earnings from the corporation will generally report the distribution as dividend income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In contrast, a holder of our units who receives a distribution of earnings from us will not report the distribution as dividend income (and will treat the distribution as taxable only to the extent the amount distributed exceeds the unitholder’s tax basis in the units), but will instead report the holder’s allocable share of items of our income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, our common unitholders may be subject to U.S. federal, state, local and possibly, in some cases, foreign income taxation on their allocable share of our items of income, gain, loss, deduction and credit (including our allocable share of those items of any entity in which we invest that is treated as a partnership or is otherwise subject to tax on a flow through basis) for each of our taxable years ending with or within your taxable year, regardless of whether or not a common unitholder receives cash distributions from us.

Our common unitholders may not receive cash distributions equal to their allocable share of our net taxable income or even the tax liability that results from that income. In addition, certain of our holdings, including holdings, if any, in a Controlled Foreign Corporation, or “CFC,” and a Passive Foreign Investment Company, or “PFIC,” may produce taxable income prior to the receipt of cash relating to such income, and common unitholders that are U.S. taxpayers will be required to take such income into account in determining their taxable income. In the event of an inadvertent termination of our partnership status for which the IRS has granted us limited relief, each holder of our common units may be obligated to make such adjustments as the IRS may require to maintain our status as a partnership. Such adjustments may require persons holding our common units to recognize additional amounts in income during the years in which they hold such units.

 

56


Table of Contents

The Blackstone Group L.P.’s interest in certain of our businesses are held through Blackstone Holdings I/II GP Inc. or Blackstone Holdings IV GP L.P., which are treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes; such corporations may be liable for significant taxes and may create other adverse tax consequences, which could potentially adversely affect the value of your investment.

In light of the publicly traded partnership rules under U.S. federal income tax law and other requirements, The Blackstone Group L.P. holds its interest in certain of our businesses through Blackstone Holdings I/II GP Inc. or Blackstone Holdings IV GP L.P., which are treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Each such corporation could be liable for significant U.S. federal income taxes and applicable state, local and other taxes that would not otherwise be incurred, which could adversely affect the value of our common units.

Complying with certain tax-related requirements may cause us to invest through foreign or domestic corporations subject to corporate income tax or enter into acquisitions, borrowings, financings or arrangements we may not have otherwise entered into.

In order for us to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and not as an association or publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation, we must meet the Qualifying Income Exception discussed above on a continuing basis and we must not be required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act. In order to effect such treatment, we (or our subsidiaries) may be required to invest through foreign or domestic corporations subject to corporate income tax, or enter into acquisitions, borrowings, financings or other transactions we may not have otherwise entered into. This may adversely affect our ability to operate solely to maximize our cash flow.

Tax gain or loss on disposition of our common units could be more or less than expected.

If a holder of our common units sells the common units it holds, it will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and the adjusted tax basis in those common units. Prior distributions to such common unitholder in excess of the total net taxable income allocated to such common unitholder, which decreased the tax basis in its common units, will in effect become taxable income to such common unitholder if the common units are sold at a price greater than such common unitholder’s tax basis in those common units, even if the price is less than the original cost. A portion of the amount realized, whether or not representing gain, may be ordinary income to such common unitholder.

If we were not to make, or cause to be made, an otherwise available election under Section 754 of the Internal Revenue Code to adjust our asset basis or the asset basis of certain of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships, a holder of common units could be allocated more taxable income in respect of those common units prior to disposition than if such an election were made.

We currently do not intend to make, or cause to be made, an election to adjust asset basis under Section 754 of the Internal Revenue Code with respect to us, Blackstone Holdings III L.P. or Blackstone Holdings IV L.P. If no such election is made, there will generally be no adjustment to the basis of the assets of Blackstone Holdings III L.P. or Blackstone Holdings IV L.P. upon our acquisition of interests in Blackstone Holdings III L.P. or Blackstone Holdings IV L.P. in connection with our initial public offering, or to our assets or to the assets of Blackstone Holdings III L.P. or Blackstone Holdings IV L.P. upon a subsequent transferee’s acquisition of common units from a prior holder of such common units, even if the purchase price for those interests or units, as applicable, is greater than the share of the aggregate tax basis of our assets or the assets of Blackstone Holdings III L.P. or Blackstone Holdings IV L.P. attributable to those interests or units immediately prior to the acquisition. Consequently, upon a sale of an asset by us, Blackstone Holdings III L.P. or Blackstone Holdings IV L.P., gain allocable to a holder of common units could include built-in gain in the asset existing at the time we acquired those interests, or such holder acquired such units, which built-in gain would otherwise generally be eliminated if a Section 754 election had been made.

 

57


Table of Contents

Non-U.S. persons face unique U.S. tax issues from owning common units that may result in adverse tax consequences to them.

In light of our investment activities, we will be treated as engaged in a U.S. trade or business for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which may cause some portion of our income to be treated as effectively connected income with respect to non-U.S. holders, or “ECI.” Moreover, dividends paid by an investment that we make in a real estate investment trust, or “REIT,” that are attributable to gains from the sale of U.S. real property interests and sales of certain investments in interests in U.S. real property, including stock of certain U.S. corporations owning significant U.S. real property, may be treated as ECI with respect to non-U.S. holders. In addition, certain income of non-U.S. holders from U.S. sources not connected to any such U.S. trade or business conducted by us could be treated as ECI. To the extent our income is treated as ECI, non-U.S. holders generally would be subject to withholding tax on their allocable shares of such income, would be required to file a U.S. federal income tax return for such year reporting their allocable shares of income effectively connected with such trade or business and any other income treated as ECI, and would be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular U.S. tax rates on any such income (state and local income taxes and filings may also apply in that event). Non-U.S. holders that are corporations may also be subject to a 30% branch profits tax on their allocable share of such income. In addition, certain income from U.S. sources that is not ECI allocable to non-U.S. holders may be reduced by withholding taxes imposed at the highest effective applicable tax rate.

Tax-exempt entities face unique tax issues from owning common units that may result in adverse tax consequences to them.

In light of our investment activities, we will be treated as deriving income that constitutes “unrelated business taxable income,” or “UBTI.” Consequently, a holder of common units that is a tax-exempt organization may be subject to “unrelated business income tax” to the extent that its allocable share of our income consists of UBTI. A tax-exempt partner of a partnership could be treated as earning UBTI if the partnership regularly engages in a trade or business that is unrelated to the exempt function of the tax-exempt partner, if the partnership derives income from debt-financed property or if the partnership interest itself is debt-financed.

We cannot match transferors and transferees of common units, and we have therefore adopted certain income tax accounting positions that may not conform with all aspects of applicable tax requirements. The IRS may challenge this treatment, which could adversely affect the value of our common units.

Because we cannot match transferors and transferees of common units, we have adopted depreciation, amortization and other tax accounting positions that may not conform with all aspects of existing Treasury regulations. A successful IRS challenge to those positions could adversely affect the amount of tax benefits available to our common unitholders. It also could affect the timing of these tax benefits or the amount of gain on the sale of common units and could have a negative impact on the value of our common units or result in audits of and adjustments to our common unitholders’ tax returns.

The sale or exchange of 50% or more of our capital and profit interests will result in the termination of our partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We will be considered to have been terminated for U.S. federal income tax purposes if there is a sale or exchange of 50% or more of the total interests in our capital and profits within a 12-month period. Our termination would, among other things, result in the closing of our taxable year for all common unitholders and could result in a deferral of depreciation deductions allowable in computing our taxable income.

Common unitholders will be subject to state and local taxes and return filing requirements as a result of investing in our common units.

In addition to U.S. federal income taxes, our common unitholders are subject to other taxes, including state and local taxes, unincorporated business taxes and estate, inheritance or intangible taxes that are imposed by the various jurisdictions in which we do business or own property now or in the future, even if our common

 

58


Table of Contents

unitholders do not reside in any of those jurisdictions. Our common unitholders are likely to be required to file state and local income tax returns and pay state and local income taxes in some or all of these jurisdictions. Further, common unitholders may be subject to penalties for failure to comply with those requirements. It is the responsibility of each common unitholder to file all U.S. federal, state and local tax returns that may be required of such common unitholder. Our counsel has not rendered an opinion on the state or local tax consequences of an investment in our common units.

We do not expect to be able to furnish to each unitholder specific tax information within 90 days after the close of each calendar year, which means that holders of common units who are U.S. taxpayers should anticipate the need to file annually a request for an extension of the due date of their income tax return. In addition, it is possible that common unitholders may be required to file amended income tax returns.

It will most likely require longer than 90 days after the end of our fiscal year to obtain the requisite information from all lower-tier entities so that K-1s may be prepared for the Partnership. For this reason, holders of common units who are U.S. taxpayers should anticipate the need to file annually with the IRS (and certain states) a request for an extension past April 15 or the otherwise applicable due date of their income tax return for the taxable year. In addition, it is possible that a common unitholder will be required to file amended income tax returns as a result of adjustments to items on the corresponding income tax returns of the partnership. Any obligation for a unitholder to file amended income tax returns for that or any other reason, including any costs incurred in the preparation or filing of such returns, are the responsibility of each common unitholder.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

Our principal executive offices are located in leased office space at 345 Park Avenue, New York, New York. We also lease other office space in New York for GSO and we lease our offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, San Francisco, London, Paris, Mumbai, Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo and Hong Kong. We do not own any real property. We consider these facilities to be suitable and adequate for the management and operations of our business.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We may from time to time be involved in litigation and claims incidental to the conduct of our business. Our businesses are also subject to extensive regulation, which may result in regulatory proceedings against us. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” above. We are not currently subject to any pending judicial, administrative or arbitration proceedings that we expect to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.

In December 2007, a purported class of shareholders in public companies acquired by one or more private equity firms filed a lawsuit against sixteen private equity firms and investment banks, including The Blackstone Group L.P., in the United States District Court in Massachusetts. The suit alleges that from mid-2003 defendants have violated antitrust laws by allegedly conspiring to rig bids, restrict the supply of private equity financing, fix the prices for target companies at artificially low levels, and divide up an alleged market for private equity services for leveraged buyouts. The complaint seeks injunctive relief on behalf of all persons who sold securities to any of the defendants in leveraged buyout transactions. The amended complaint also includes seven purported sub-classes of plaintiffs seeking damages and/or restitution and comprised of shareholders of seven companies.

In the spring of 2008, six substantially identical complaints were brought against Blackstone and some of its executive officers purporting to be class actions on behalf of purchasers of common units in Blackstone’s June 2007 initial public offering. These suits were subsequently consolidated into one complaint filed in the

 

59


Table of Contents

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in October 2008 against Blackstone, Stephen A. Schwarzman (Blackstone’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer), Peter G. Peterson (Blackstone’s former Senior Chairman), Hamilton E. James (Blackstone’s President and Chief Operating Officer) and Michael A. Puglisi (Blackstone’s Chief Financial Officer at the time of the IPO). The amended complaint alleged that (1) the IPO prospectus was false and misleading for failing to disclose that (a) certain investments made by Blackstone’s private equity funds were performing poorly at the time of the IPO and were materially impaired and (b) prior to the IPO the U.S. real estate market had started to deteriorate, adversely affecting the value of Blackstone’s real estate investments; and (2) the financial statements in the IPO prospectus were materially inaccurate principally because they overstated the value of the investments referred to in clause (1). The plaintiffs seek damages, costs, rescission and other relief.

Blackstone believes that the foregoing suits are totally without merit and intends to defend them vigorously.

 

ITEM 4. (REMOVED AND RESERVED)

 

60


Table of Contents

PART II

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Our common units representing limited partner interests are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BX.” Our common units began trading on the NYSE on June 22, 2007.

The number of holders of record of our common units as of February 18, 2011 was 71. This does not include the number of unitholders that hold shares in “street name” through banks or broker-dealers.

Cash Distribution Policy

With respect to fiscal year 2010, we have paid three quarterly distributions of $0.10 per common unit (aggregating $0.30 per common unit) to record holders of common units and we have declared an additional distribution of $0.32 per common unit to common unitholders in respect of the fourth quarter of 2010 payable on March 31, 2011 to holders of record of common units at the close of business on March 15, 2011. We have also paid three quarterly distributions of $0.10 per Blackstone Holdings partnership unit (aggregating $0.30 per Blackstone Holdings unit) and we have declared a distribution of $0.35 per unit in respect of 2010 to be paid to the Blackstone personnel and others who are limited partners of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships, payable on March 31, 2011 to holders of record of Blackstone Holdings partnership units at the close of business on March 15, 2011. These distributions related to fiscal year 2010 represented our net after-tax share of our annual Distributable Earnings in excess of amounts determined by our general partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of our business, to make appropriate investments in our business and our funds, to comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements, or to provide for future distributions to our common unitholders for any ensuing quarter.

As previously disclosed, public common unitholders were entitled to a priority distribution of up to $1.20 per common unit per year ahead of Blackstone personnel and others regarding distributions made in respect of fiscal periods from July 1, 2007 through December 31, 2009. On December 31, 2009, that distribution priority ended. With respect to fiscal year 2009, we paid four quarterly distributions of $0.30 (aggregating $1.20 per common unit) to record holders of common units.

The following table sets forth the high and low intra-day sales prices per unit of our common units, for the periods indicated, as reported by the NYSE:

 

     Sales Price  
     2010      2009  
     High      Low      High      Low  

First Quarter

   $ 15.10      $ 12.03      $ 9.19      $ 3.55  

Second Quarter

   $ 15.49      $ 9.34      $ 14.44      $ 6.89  

Third Quarter

   $ 12.72      $ 8.93      $ 15.38      $ 8.54  

Fourth Quarter

   $ 14.65      $ 12.30      $ 17.22      $ 12.71  

Blackstone uses Distributable Earnings for purposes of determining the distributions to our unitholders. Distributable Earnings is a non-GAAP measure intended to show the amount of our net realized earnings. Distributable Earnings, which is a component of Economic Net Income, is the sum across all Total Reportable Segments of (a) Total Management and Advisory Fees, (b) Interest and Dividend Revenue, (c) Other Revenue, (d) Realized Performance Fees, and (e) Realized Investment Income (Loss) less (a) Compensation, (b) Realized Performance Fee Compensation, (c) Other Operating Expenses and (d) Cash Taxes.

Our current intention is to distribute to our common unitholders substantially all of The Blackstone Group L.P.’s net after-tax share of our annual Distributable Earnings in excess of amounts determined by our general

 

61


Table of Contents

partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of our business, to make appropriate investments in our business and our funds, to comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements, or to provide for future distributions to our unitholders for any ensuing quarter. Because we will not know what our Distributable Earnings will be for any fiscal year until the end of such year, we expect that our first three quarterly distributions in respect of any given year will be based on our anticipated annualized Net Fee Related Earnings. As such, the distributions for the first three quarters are expected to be smaller than the final quarterly distribution in respect of such year, which we expect to also include realized Performance Fees net of related compensation and realized net investment income.

In most years the aggregate amounts of our distributions to unitholders will not equal our Distributable Earnings for that year. Distributable Earnings will only be a starting point for our determination of the amount to be distributed to unitholders because as noted above, in determining the amount to be distributed we will subtract from Distributable Earnings any amounts determined by our general partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of our business, to make appropriate investments in our business and our funds, to comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements, or to provide for future distributions to our unitholders for any ensuing quarter.

All of the foregoing is subject to the qualification that the declaration and payment of any distributions are at the sole discretion of our general partner and our general partner may change our distribution policy at any time.

Because The Blackstone Group L.P. is a holding partnership and has no material assets other than its ownership of partnership units in Blackstone Holdings held through wholly-owned subsidiaries, we fund distributions by The Blackstone Group L.P., if any, in three steps:

 

   

First, we cause Blackstone Holdings to make distributions to its partners, including The Blackstone Group L.P.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries. If Blackstone Holdings makes such distributions, the limited partners of Blackstone Holdings will be entitled to receive equivalent distributions pro rata based on their partnership interests in Blackstone Holdings (except as set forth in the following paragraph);

 

   

Second, we cause The Blackstone Group L.P.’s wholly-owned subsidiaries to distribute to The Blackstone Group L.P. their share of such distributions, net of the taxes and amounts payable under the tax receivable agreement by such wholly-owned subsidiaries; and

 

   

Third, The Blackstone Group L.P. distributes its net share of such distributions to our common unitholders on a pro rata basis.

Because the wholly-owned subsidiaries of The Blackstone Group L.P. must pay taxes and make payments under the tax receivable agreements described in Note 16. “Related Party Transactions” in the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” in Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, the amounts ultimately distributed by The Blackstone Group L.P. to its common unitholders are expected to be less, on a per unit basis, than the amounts distributed by the Blackstone Holdings partnerships to the Blackstone personnel and others who are limited partners of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships in respect of their Blackstone Holdings partnership units.

In addition, the partnership agreements of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships provide for cash distributions, which we refer to as “tax distributions,” to the partners of such partnerships if the wholly-owned subsidiaries of The Blackstone Group L.P. which are the general partners of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships determine that the taxable income of the relevant partnership will give rise to taxable income for its partners. Generally, these tax distributions will be computed based on our estimate of the net taxable income of the relevant partnership allocable to a partner multiplied by an assumed tax rate equal to the highest effective marginal combined U.S. federal, state and local income tax rate prescribed for an individual or corporate resident in New York, New York (taking into account the nondeductibility of certain expenses and the character of our income). The Blackstone Holdings partnerships will make tax distributions only to the extent distributions from such partnerships for the relevant year were otherwise insufficient to cover such estimated assumed tax liabilities.

 

62


Table of Contents

Under the Delaware Limited Partnership Act, we may not make a distribution to a partner if after the distribution all our liabilities, other than liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interests and liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of our assets. If we were to make such an impermissible distribution, any limited partner who received a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Limited Partnership Act would be liable to us for the amount of the distribution for three years. In addition, the terms of our revolving credit facility or other financing arrangements may from time to time include covenants or other restrictions that could constrain our ability to make distributions.

Unit Repurchases in the Fourth Quarter of 2010

In January 2008, the Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $500 million of Blackstone common units and Blackstone Holdings Partnership Units. Under this unit repurchase program, units may be repurchased in open market transactions, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise. The unit repurchase program may be suspended or discontinued at any time and does not have a final specified date. No purchases of our common units were made by us or on our behalf during the quarter ended December 31, 2010. See “— Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements—Note 14. Net Loss Per Common Unit” and “Part II. Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Our Sources of Cash and Liquidity Needs” for further information regarding this unit repurchase program.

As permitted by our policies and procedures governing transactions in our securities by our directors, executive officers and other employees, from time to time some of these persons may establish plans or arrangements complying with Rule 10b5 -1 under the Exchange Act, and similar plans and arrangements relating to our common units and Holdings units.

 

63


Table of Contents
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The consolidated and combined statements of financial condition and income data as of and for the five years ended December 31, 2010 have been derived from our consolidated and combined financial statements. The audited Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition as of December 31, 2010 and 2009 and Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009 and 2008 are included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The audited Consolidated and Combined Statements of Financial Condition as of December 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006 and Consolidated and Combined Statements of Operations for the years ended December 31, 2007 and 2006 are not included in this Form 10-K. Historical results are not necessarily indicative of results for any future period.

The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “—Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Form 10-K:

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2010     2009     2008     2007     2006  
     (Dollars in Thousands)  

Revenues

          

Management and Advisory Fees

   $ 1,584,748     $ 1,482,226     $ 1,476,357     $ 1,566,047     $ 1,077,139  

Performance Fees

     937,834       221,090       (1,247,320     1,126,640       1,267,764  

Investment Income (Loss)

     561,161       40,604       (622,877     333,762       259,736  

Interest and Dividend Revenue and Other

     35,599       29,779       44,479       23,699       12,790  
                                        

Total Revenues

     3,119,342       1,773,699       (349,361     3,050,148       2,617,429  
                                        

Expenses

          

Compensation and Benefits (a)

     3,610,189       3,777,606       3,859,787       2,256,647       250,067  

General, Administrative and Other

     466,358       443,573       440,776       324,200       122,395  

Interest Expense

     41,229       13,384       23,008       32,080       36,932  

Fund Expenses

     26,214       7,296       63,031       151,917       143,695  
                                        

Total Expenses

     4,143,990       4,241,859       4,386,602       2,764,844       553,089  
                                        

Other Income (Loss)

          

Net Gains (Losses) from Fund Investment Activities

     501,994       176,694       (872,336     5,423,132       6,090,145  
                                        

Income (Loss) Before Provision (Benefit) for Taxes

     (522,654     (2,291,466     (5,608,299     5,708,436       8,154,485  

Provision (Benefit) for Taxes

     84,669       99,230       (14,145     47,693       31,934  
                                        

Net Income (Loss)

     (607,323     (2,390,696     (5,594,154     5,660,743       8,122,551  

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Redeemable Non- Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities

     84,837       131,097       (632,495     628,354       593,328  

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities

     346,312       (14,328     (159,828     4,510,881       5,263,018  

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Non-Controlling Interests in Blackstone Holdings

     (668,444     (1,792,174     (3,638,799     857,022       2,266,205  
                                        

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to The Blackstone Group L.P.

   $ (370,028   $ (715,291   $ (1,163,032   $ (335,514   $ —     
                                        

 

64


Table of Contents
     Year Ended December 31,  
     2010     2009     2008     2007     2006  
                       June 19, 2007
through
December 31, 2007
       

Net Loss Per Common Unit, Basic and Diluted (b)

          

Common Units

   $ (1.02        
                

Common Units Entitled to Priority Distributions

     $ (2.46   $ (4.32   $ (1.28   $  N/A   
                                  

Common Units Not Entitled to Priority Distributions

     $ (3.71     $(3.06)      $ N/A        $ N/A   
                                  

Distributions Declared (c)

   $ 0.60     $ 0.90     $ 1.20     $ 0.30      $ N/A   
                                        

 

  (a) Prior to the IPO in June 2007, our compensation and benefits expense reflected compensation (primarily salary and bonus) paid or accrued solely to our non-senior managing director employees. Subsequent to our IPO, our compensation and benefits expense reflects (a) employee compensation and benefits expense paid and payable to our employees, including our senior managing directors, (b) equity-based compensation associated with grants of equity-based awards to senior managing directors, other employees and selected other individuals engaged in our businesses, including the amortization of all equity granted to existing employees at the time of the IPO, and (c) performance payment arrangements for Blackstone personnel and profit sharing interests in carried interest.
  (b) Prior to our IPO in June 2007, we did not have any Blackstone common units. Accordingly, we had no earnings per common unit for the prior periods.
  (c) Distributions declared reflects the calendar date of declaration for each distribution; the fourth quarter distribution, if any, for any fiscal year will be declared and paid in the subsequent fiscal year. For fiscal year 2010 we have declared a final fourth quarter distribution per common unit of $0.32 which will be paid in 2011.

 

     As of December 31,  
     2010      2009      2008      2007      2006  
     (Dollars in Thousands)  

Statement of Financial Condition Data

              

Total Assets (a)

   $ 18,844,605      $ 9,409,024      $ 9,489,057      $ 13,175,245      $ 33,891,044  

Senior Notes

   $ 1,010,911      $ 588,624      $ —         $ —         $ —     

Total Liabilities (a)

   $ 10,591,248      $ 2,865,491      $ 3,370,612      $ 2,890,960      $ 2,373,273  

Redeemable Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities

   $ 600,836      $ 526,311      $ 362,462      $ 2,438,266      $ 6,060,444  

Partners’ Capital

   $ 7,652,521      $ 6,017,222      $ 5,755,983      $ 7,846,019      $ 25,457,327  

 

  (a) The decrease in total assets from December 31, 2006 to December 31, 2009, 2008 and 2007 is due to the deconsolidation of the Blackstone Funds following the granting of certain liquidation or removal of the general partner rights to unaffiliated investors in each respective fund following Blackstone’s IPO. The increase in total assets and total liabilities from December 31, 2009 to December 31, 2010 is due to the acquisition of certain CLO vehicles described in “—Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Significant Transactions—Acquisition of Management Agreements Related to CLO Vehicles”.

 

65


Table of Contents
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with The Blackstone Group L.P.’s consolidated financial statements and the related notes included within this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our Business

Blackstone is one of the largest independent managers of private capital in the world. We also provide a wide range of financial advisory services, including financial advisory, restructuring and reorganization advisory and fund placement services.

Our business is organized into four business segments:

 

   

Private Equity. We are a world leader in private equity investing, having managed five general private equity funds, as well as one specialized fund focusing on media and communications-related investments, since we established this business in 1987. In January 2011 we closed on our seventh private equity fund. We are also in the process of raising an investment fund focused on clean technology investments. Through our private equity funds we pursue transactions throughout the world, including leveraged buyout acquisitions of seasoned companies, transactions involving growth equity or start-up businesses in established industries, minority investments, corporate partnerships, distressed debt, structured securities and industry consolidations, in all cases in strictly friendly transactions.

 

   

Real Estate. We are a world leader in real estate investing with an assortment of real estate funds that are diversified geographically and across a variety of sectors. We launched our first real estate fund in 1994 and have managed six opportunistic real estate funds, two internationally focused real estate funds, a European focused real estate fund and a number of real estate debt investment funds. In addition, in November 2010, we commenced our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia Assets. Our real estate funds have made significant investments in lodging, major urban office buildings and a variety of real estate operating companies. In addition, our debt investment funds target non-controlling real estate debt related investment opportunities in the public and private markets, primarily in the United States and Europe.

 

   

Credit and Marketable Alternatives. Our credit and marketable alternatives segment is comprised of our management of funds of hedge funds, credit-oriented funds, collateralized loan obligation (“CLO”) vehicles and publicly-traded closed-end mutual funds and registered investment companies. Our funds of hedge funds operation was organized in 1990 and has developed into a leading manager of institutional fund of hedge fund assets across a wide variety of strategies. Our credit-oriented funds and CLOs are managed by our subsidiary, GSO Capital Partners (“GSO”), a major participant in the leveraged finance market. GSO manages a variety of credit-oriented funds including senior credit-oriented funds, distressed debt funds, mezzanine funds and general credit-oriented funds. These products are intended to provide investors with greater levels of current income and for certain products, a greater level of liquidity.

In January 2011, Blackstone separated its Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment into two new segments: Hedge Fund Solutions and Credit Businesses. Please see “—Segment Analysis, Credit and Marketable Alternatives Segment Separation” in this Item 7. for additional information.

 

   

Financial Advisory. Our financial advisory segment serves a diverse and global group of clients with financial advisory services, restructuring and reorganization advisory services and fund placement services for alternative investment funds.

We generate our revenue from fees earned pursuant to contractual arrangements with funds, fund investors and fund portfolio companies (including management, transaction and monitoring fees), and from financial advisory services, restructuring and reorganization advisory services and fund placement services for alternative

 

66


Table of Contents

investment funds. We invest in the funds we manage and, in most cases, receive a preferred allocation of income (i.e., a “Carried Interest”) or an incentive fee from an investment fund in the event that specified cumulative investment returns are achieved. The composition of our revenues will vary based on market conditions and the cyclicality of the different businesses in which we operate. Net investment gains and investment income generated by the Blackstone Funds, principally private equity and real estate funds, are driven by value created by our operating and strategic initiatives as well as overall market conditions. Our funds initially record fund investments at cost and then such investments are subsequently recorded at fair value. Fair values are affected by changes in the fundamentals of the portfolio company, the portfolio company’s industry, the overall economy and other market conditions.

Business Environment

World equity and debt markets continued to move higher in 2010 as the economic recovery progressed, although the pace and magnitude of the recovery varied by region. In developing markets, economic growth was robust throughout the year, characterized by increasing levels of domestic consumption and higher employment. In the U.S. and other developed economies, improvement was more muted due to sustained high levels of unemployment. However, better-than-average growth in corporate earnings, improving economic data, and further fiscal and monetary stimulus helped drive a sustained increase in equities starting in the second half of the year.

Credit indices rose in 2010 as well, benefiting from strong corporate earnings as well as higher demand and liquidity. High yield credit spreads narrowed modestly, while LIBOR and Treasury rates remained at historically low levels. Average leveraged loan prices rose from 87% of par at the end of 2009 to 94% at year-end 2010.

In commercial real estate, the fundamental picture improved in 2010. In the office sector, occupancy appears to be rising in most markets due to a combination of the modest economic recovery coupled with historically low levels of new supply. Some markets, such as New York and London, are demonstrating increases in both occupancy and rents. In the hospitality sector, hotels are rebounding from the sharp decline in demand they suffered in the 2008-2009 period. Industry RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room), an important hospitality industry metric, grew 9.1% in the fourth quarter, and experienced positive growth since March 2010, following nearly two years of declines.

Commodity prices materially increased in 2010, with precious metals and agricultural products rising particularly sharply. Many commodities finished 2010 at new all-time highs or multi-year highs. The U.S. dollar rose against each of the Euro and Pound Sterling by 8% and 5%, respectively. Monetary policy has remained accommodative in the U.S., although certain foreign governments have taken action to counter inflationary pressures or control budge deficits. The outlook for global monetary policy is uncertain.

Blackstone’s businesses are materially affected by conditions in the financial markets and economic conditions in the U.S., Western Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the world.

Significant Transactions

Blackstone Issuance of $400 million 5.875% Notes Due in 2021

On September 15, 2010, Blackstone Holdings Finance Co. L.L.C., an indirect subsidiary of the Partnership, issued $400 million of senior notes due March 15, 2021. The Notes, which were issued at a discount, have an interest rate of 5.875% per annum.

Blackstone Purchase of a 40% Equity Interest in Pátria

On October 1, 2010, the Partnership purchased a non-controlling equity interest representing 40% of Pátria Investments Limited and Pátria Investimentos Ltda. Pátria is one of Latin America’s leading alternative asset managers and advisory firms. As of December 31, 2010, Pátria had $4.3 billion in total assets under management across private equity, real estate, infrastructure and hedge funds.

 

67


Table of Contents

Acquisition of Management Agreements Related to CLO Vehicles

On April 1, 2010 and July 20, 2010, the Partnership acquired, through GSO, management agreements relating to certain CLO vehicles previously managed by Callidus Capital Management, LLC. The acquisition of the management agreements resulted in the consolidation of certain of the respective CLO vehicles, as applicable under GAAP consolidation guidance. On April 1, 2010, the fair value of the consolidated CLO assets and liabilities managed under such contracts was $2.7 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively. On July 20, 2010, the fair value of the consolidated CLO assets and liabilities related to the additional CLO managed under such contract was $117.6 million and $110.8 million, respectively. There was no material impact to the Consolidated Statement of Operations or the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows.

Key Financial Measures and Indicators

Our key financial measures and indicators are discussed below.

Revenues

Revenues primarily consist of management and advisory fees, performance fees, investment income, interest and dividend revenue and other. Please refer to “Part I. Item 1. Business, Incentive Arrangements / Fee Structure” and “—Critical Accounting Policies, Revenue Recognition” for additional information regarding the manner in which Base Management Fees and Performance Fees are generated.

Management and Advisory Fees—Management and Advisory Fees are comprised of management fees, including base management fees, transaction and other fees, management fee reductions and offsets, and advisory fees.

The Partnership earns base management fees from limited partners of funds in each of its managed funds, at a fixed percentage of assets under management, net asset value, total assets, committed capital or invested capital. Base management fees are based on contractual terms specified in the underlying investment advisory agreements.

Transaction and other fees (including monitoring fees) are fees charged directly to funds and portfolio companies. The investment advisory agreements generally require that the investment advisor reduce the amount of management fees payable by the limited partners to the Partnership (“management fee reductions”) by an amount equal to a portion of the transaction and other fees directly paid to the Partnership by the portfolio companies. The amount of the reduction varies by fund, the type of fee paid by the portfolio company and the previously incurred expenses of the fund.

Management fee offsets are reductions to management fees payable by our limited partners, which are granted based on the amount they reimburse Blackstone for placement fees.

Advisory fees consist of advisory retainer and transaction-based fee arrangements related to merger, acquisition, restructuring and divestiture activities and fund placement services for alternative investment funds. Advisory retainer fees are recognized when services for the transactions are complete, in accordance with terms set forth in individual agreements. Transaction-based fees are recognized when (a) there is evidence of an arrangement with a client, (b) agreed upon services have been provided, (c) fees are fixed or determinable and (d) collection is reasonably assured. Fund placement fees are recognized as earned upon the acceptance by a fund of capital or capital commitments.

Accrued but unpaid Management and Advisory Fees, net of management fee reductions and management fee offsets, as of the reporting date, are included in Accounts Receivable or Due From Affiliates in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.

 

68


Table of Contents

Performance Fees—Performance fees earned on the performance of Blackstone’s hedge fund structures are recognized based on fund performance during the period, subject to the achievement of minimum return levels, or high water marks, in accordance with the respective terms set out in each hedge fund’s governing agreements. Accrued but unpaid performance fees charged directly to investors in Blackstone’s offshore hedge funds as of the reporting date are recorded within Due from Affiliates in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition. Performance fees arising on Blackstone’s onshore hedge funds are allocated to the general partner. Accrued but unpaid performance fees on onshore funds as of the reporting date are reflected in Investments in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.

In certain fund structures, specifically in private equity, real estate and certain credit-oriented funds (“Carry Funds”), performance fees (“Carried Interest”) are allocated to the general partner based on cumulative fund performance to date, subject to a preferred return to limited partners. At the end of each reporting period, the Partnership calculates the Carried Interest that would be due to the Partnership for each fund, pursuant to the fund agreements, as if the fair value of the underlying investments were realized as of such date, irrespective of whether such amounts have been realized. As the fair value of underlying investments varies between reporting periods, it is necessary to make adjustments to amounts recorded as Carried Interest to reflect either (a) positive performance resulting in an increase in the Carried Interest allocated to the general partner or (b) negative performance that would cause the amount due to the Partnership to be less than the amount previously recognized as revenue, resulting in a negative adjustment to Carried Interest allocated to the general partner. In each scenario, it is necessary to calculate the Carried Interest on cumulative results compared to the Carried Interest recorded to date and make the required positive or negative adjustments. The Partnership ceases to record negative Carried Interest allocations once previously recognized Carried Interest allocations for such fund have been fully reversed. The Partnership is not obligated to pay guaranteed returns or hurdles, and therefore, cannot have negative Carried Interest over the life of a fund. Accrued but unpaid Carried Interest as of the reporting date is reflected in Investments in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.

Carried Interest is realized when an underlying investment is profitably disposed of and the fund’s cumulative returns are in excess of the preferred return. Performance fees earned on hedge fund structures are realized at the end of each fund’s measurement period.

Carried Interest is subject to clawback to the extent that the Carried Interest actually distributed to date exceeds the amount due to Blackstone based on cumulative results. As such, the accrual for potential repayment of previously received performance fees, which is a component of Due to Affiliates, represents all amounts previously distributed to Blackstone Holdings and non-controlling interest holders that would need to be repaid to the Blackstone Funds if the Blackstone Carry Funds were to be liquidated based on the current fair value of the underlying funds’ investments as of the reporting date. Generally, the actual clawback liability does not become realized until the end of a fund’s life or one year after a realized loss is incurred, depending on the fund.

Investment Income (Loss)—Investment Income (Loss) represents the unrealized and realized gains and losses on the Partnership’s principal investments, including its investments in Blackstone Funds that are not consolidated, its equity method investments, and other principal investments. Investment Income (Loss) is realized when the Partnership redeems all or a portion of its investment or when the Partnership receives cash income, such as dividends or distributions, from its non-consolidated funds. Unrealized Investment Income (Loss) results from changes in the fair value of the underlying investment as well as the reversal of unrealized gain (loss) at the time an investment is realized.

Interest and Dividend Revenue—Interest and Dividend Revenue comprises primarily interest and dividend income earned on principal investments held by Blackstone.

Other Revenue—Other Revenue comprises primarily foreign exchange gains and losses arising on transactions denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars.

 

69


Table of Contents

Expenses

Compensation and Benefits—Compensation—Compensation and benefits consists of (a) employee compensation, comprising salary and bonus, and benefits paid and payable to employees, including senior managing directors and (b) equity-based compensation associated with the grants of equity-based awards to employees, including senior managing directors.

Equity-Based Compensation—Compensation cost relating to the issuance of share-based awards to employees, including senior managing directors, is measured at fair value at the grant date, taking into consideration expected forfeitures, and expensed over the vesting period on a straight line basis. Equity-based awards that do not require future service are expensed immediately. Cash settled equity-based awards are classified as liabilities and are re-measured at the end of each reporting period.

Compensation and Benefits—Performance Fee—Performance fee compensation and benefits consists of Carried Interest and performance fee allocations to employees, including senior managing directors, participating in certain profit sharing initiatives. Such compensation expense is subject to both positive and negative adjustments. Unlike Carried Interest and performance fees, compensation expense is based on the performance of individual investments held by a fund rather than on a fund by fund basis.

Other Operating Expenses. Other operating expenses represent general and administrative expenses including interest expense, occupancy and equipment expenses and other expenses, which consist principally of professional fees, public company costs, travel and related expenses, communications and information services and depreciation and amortization.

Fund Expenses. The expenses of our consolidated Blackstone Funds consist primarily of interest expense, professional fees and other third-party expenses.

Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities

Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities represent the component of Partners’ Capital in consolidated entities held by third party investors. Such interests are adjusted for general partner allocations and by subscriptions and redemptions in funds of hedge funds and certain credit-oriented funds which occur during the reporting period. Non-controlling interests related to funds of hedge funds and certain other credit-oriented funds are subject to annual, semi-annual or quarterly redemption by investors in these funds following the expiration of a specified period of time (typically between one and three years), or may be withdrawn subject to a redemption fee in the funds of hedge funds and certain credit-oriented funds during the period when capital may not be withdrawn. As limited partners in these types of funds have been granted redemption rights, amounts relating to third party interests in such consolidated funds are presented as Redeemable Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities within the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition. When redeemable amounts become legally payable to investors, they are classified as a liability and included in Accounts Payable, Accrued Expenses and Other in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition. For all consolidated funds in which redemption rights have not been granted, non-controlling interests are presented within Partners’ Capital in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition as Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities.

Income Taxes

The Blackstone Holdings partnerships and certain of their subsidiaries operate in the U.S. as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes and generally as corporate entities in non-U.S. jurisdictions. Accordingly, these entities in some cases are subject to New York City unincorporated business taxes or non-U.S. income taxes. In addition, certain of the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Partnership and the Blackstone Holdings partnerships will be subject to federal, state and local corporate income taxes at the entity level and the related tax provision attributable to the Partnership’s share of this income is reflected in the consolidated financial statements.

 

70


Table of Contents

Income taxes are accounted for using the liability method of accounting. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the expected future tax consequences of differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities and their respective tax basis, using currently enacted tax rates. The effect on deferred assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period when the change is enacted. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. Deferred tax liabilities are recorded within Accounts Payable, Accrued Expenses and Other Liabilities in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Position.

Tax laws are complex and subject to different interpretations by the taxpayer and respective governmental taxing authorities. Significant judgment is required in determining tax expense and in evaluating tax positions including evaluating uncertainties under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). Blackstone reviews its tax positions quarterly and adjusts its tax balances as new information becomes available.

Blackstone analyzes its tax filing positions in all of the U.S. federal, state, local and foreign tax jurisdictions where it is required to file income tax returns, as well as for all open tax years in these jurisdictions. If, based on this analysis, the Partnership determines that uncertainties in tax positions exist, a reserve is established. Blackstone recognizes accrued interest and penalties related to uncertain tax positions in General, Administrative, and Other expenses within the Consolidated Statements of Operations.

There remains some uncertainty regarding Blackstone’s future taxation levels. In 2007, Congress considered legislation that would have taxed as corporations publicly traded partnerships that directly or indirectly derived income from investment adviser or asset management services.

In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would have generally (a) treated Carried Interest as non-qualifying income under the tax rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships, which would have generally required us to hold interests in entities earning such income through taxable subsidiary corporations by the end of 2010, and (b) taxed Carried Interest as ordinary income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, rather than in accordance with the character of income derived by the underlying fund, which is in many cases capital gain, starting with our 2008 taxable year.

In December 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed substantially similar legislation. Such legislation would have taxed Carried Interest as ordinary income starting in 2010. However, under a transition rule, the portion of such legislation treating Carried Interest as non-qualifying income under the tax rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships would not have applied until our first taxable year beginning ten years after the date of the enactment of the legislation.

In May 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives passed similar legislation that would have generally taxed, after 2010, income and gains, including gain on sale, attributable to an interest in an investment services partnership interest, or “ISPI”, as income subject to a new blended tax rate that is higher than the capital gains rate applicable to such income under current law, except to the extent an ISPI would have been considered to be a qualified capital interest under the legislation. The interests we hold in entities that are entitled to receive Carried Interest would have likely been classified as ISPIs for purposes of this legislation. The legislation provided that, for taxable years beginning ten years after the date of enactment, income derived with respect to an ISPI that is not a qualified capital interest and that is treated as ordinary income under this legislation would not be qualifying income under the tax rules applicable to publicly traded partnerships. Therefore, if similar legislation were to be enacted, we generally would be required to hold interests in entities earning income from Carried Interest through taxable subsidiary corporations following such ten-year period.

The Obama administration has indicated that it supports the adoption of the May 2010 legislation or legislation that similarly changes the treatment of Carried Interest for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In its published revenue proposal for 2012, the Obama administration proposed that the current law regarding the treatment of Carried Interest be changed to subject such income to ordinary income tax (which would be taxed at

 

71


Table of Contents

a higher rate than the proposed blended rate under the House legislation). The Obama administration proposed similar changes in its published revenue proposals for 2010 and 2011. In June 2010, the U.S. Senate considered but did not pass legislation that is generally similar to the legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2010. In September 2010, this previously considered legislation was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate. It is unclear whether or when the U.S. Congress will reconsider similar legislation or if enacted, what provision will be included in any final legislation.

If we were taxed as a corporation or were forced to hold interests in entities earning income from Carried Interest through taxable subsidiary corporations, our effective tax rate could increase significantly. The federal statutory rate for corporations is currently 35%, and the state and local tax rates, net of the federal benefit, aggregate approximately 10%. If a variation of the above described legislation or any other change in the tax laws, rules, regulations or interpretations preclude us from qualifying for treatment as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes under the publicly traded partnership rules or force us to hold interests in entities earning income from Carried Interest through taxable subsidiary corporations, this could materially increase our tax liability, and could well result in a reduction in the market price of our common units.

It is not possible at this time to meaningfully quantify the potential impact on Blackstone of this potential future legislation or any similar legislation. Multiple versions of legislation in this area have been proposed over the last few years that have included significantly different provisions regarding effective dates and the treatment of invested capital, tiered entities and cross-border operations, among other matters. Depending upon what version of the legislation, if any, were enacted, the potential impact on a public company such as Blackstone in a given year could differ dramatically and could be material. In addition, these legislative proposals would not themselves impose a tax on a publicly traded partnership such as Blackstone. Rather, they could force Blackstone and other publicly traded partnerships to restructure their operations so as to prevent disqualifying income from reaching the publicly traded partnership in amounts that would disqualify the partnership from treatment as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Such a restructuring could result in more income being earned in corporate subsidiaries, thereby increasing corporate income tax liability indirectly borne by the publicly traded partnership. The nature of any such restructuring would depend on the precise provisions of the legislation that was ultimately enacted, as well as the particular facts and circumstances of Blackstone’s operations at the time any such legislation were to take effect, making the task of predicting the amount of additional tax highly speculative.

Economic Net Income

Blackstone uses Economic Net Income, or “ENI”, as a key measure of value creation and as a benchmark of its performance. ENI represents segment net income excluding the impact of income taxes and initial public offering (“IPO”) and acquisition-related items, including charges associated with equity-based compensation, the amortization of intangibles and corporate actions including acquisitions. For segment reporting purposes, revenues and expenses are presented on a basis that deconsolidates the investment funds we manage. Total Segment ENI equals the aggregate of ENI for all segments. ENI is used by management primarily in making resource deployment and compensation decisions across Blackstone’s four segments. (See Note 20. “Segment Reporting” in the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” in Part II. Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.)

Distributable Earnings

Distributable Earnings, which is derived from our segment reported results, is a supplemental measure to assess performance and amounts available for distributions to Blackstone unitholders, including Blackstone personnel and others who are limited partners of the Blackstone Holdings partnerships. Distributable Earnings, which is a non-GAAP measure, is intended to show the amount of net realized earnings without the effects of the consolidation of the Blackstone Funds. Distributable Earnings is derived from, but not equivalent to, its most directly comparable GAAP measure of Income (Loss) Before Provision for Taxes. See “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Liquidity and Capital Resources” below for our detailed discussion of Distributable Earnings.

 

72


Table of Contents

Distributable Earnings, which is a component of Economic Net Income, is the sum across all Total Segments of: (a) Total Management and Advisory Fees, (b) Interest and Dividend Revenue, (c) Other Revenue, (d) Realized Performance Fees, and (e) Realized Investment Income (Loss); less (a) Compensation, (b) Realized Performance Fee Compensation, (c) Other Operating Expenses and (d) Cash Taxes and Payables Under the Tax Receivable Agreement. Distributable Earnings is reconciled to Blackstone’s Consolidated Statement of Operations. It is Blackstone’s current intention that on an annual basis it will distribute to unitholders all of its Distributable Earnings in excess of amounts determined by its general partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of its business, to make appropriate investments in its business and funds, to comply with applicable law, any of its debt instruments or other agreements, or to provide for future distributions to its unitholders for any ensuing quarter.

Net Fee Related Earnings from Operations

Blackstone uses Net Fee Related Earnings from Operations as a key measure to highlight earnings from operations excluding: (a) the income related to performance fees and related performance fee compensation costs, (b) income earned from Blackstone’s investments in the Blackstone Funds, and (c) realized and unrealized gains (losses) from other investments except for such gains (losses) from Blackstone’s Treasury cash management strategies. Management uses Net Fee Related Earnings from Operations as a measure to assess whether recurring revenue from our businesses is sufficient to adequately cover all of our operating expenses and generate profits. Net Fee Related Earnings from Operations equals contractual fee revenues, investment income from Blackstone’s Treasury cash management strategies and interest income, less (a) compensation expenses (which includes amortization of non-IPO and non-acquisition-related equity-based awards, but excludes amortization of IPO and acquisition-related equity-based awards, Carried Interest and incentive fee compensation), (b) other operating expenses and (c) cash taxes due on earnings from operations as calculated using a similar methodology as applied in calculating the current tax provision (benefit) for The Blackstone Group L.P. See “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Liquidity and Capital Resources” below for a detailed discussion of Net Fee Related Earnings from Operations.

Operating Metrics

The alternative asset management business is a complex business that is primarily based on managing third party capital and does not require substantial capital investment to support rapid growth. However, there also can be volatility associated with its earnings and cash flows. Since our inception, we have developed and used various key operating metrics to assess and monitor the operating performance of our various alternative asset management businesses in order to monitor the effectiveness of our value creating strategies.

Assets Under Management. Assets Under Management refers to the assets we manage. Our Assets Under Management equal the sum of:

 

  (a) the fair value of the investments held by our carry funds plus the capital that we are entitled to call from investors in those funds pursuant to the terms of their capital commitments to those funds (plus the fair value of co-investments arranged by us that were made by limited partners of our funds in portfolio companies of such funds and on which we receive fees or a Carried Interest allocation);

 

  (b) the net asset value of our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds and our closed-end mutual funds;

 

  (c) the fair value of assets we manage pursuant to separately managed accounts; and

 

  (d) the amount of capital raised for our CLOs.

Our carry funds are commitment-based drawdown structured funds that do not permit investors to redeem their interests at their election. Interests related to our funds of hedge funds and certain of our credit-oriented funds are generally subject to annual, semi-annual or quarterly withdrawal or redemption by investors upon advance written notice, with the majority of our funds requiring from 60 days up to 95 days’ notice, depending on the fund and the liquidity profile of the underlying assets. Investment advisory agreements related to separately managed accounts may generally be terminated by an investor on 30 to 90 days’ notice.

 

73


Table of Contents

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management. Fee-Earning Assets Under Management refers to the assets we manage on which we derive management and / or incentive fees. Our Fee-Earning Assets Under Management generally equal the sum of:

 

  (a) for our Blackstone Capital Partners (“BCP”) and Blackstone Real Estate Partners (“BREP”) funds where the investment period has not expired, the amount of capital commitments;

 

  (b) for our BCP and BREP funds where the investment period has expired, the remaining amount of invested capital;

 

  (c) for our real estate debt investment funds (“BREDS”), the remaining amount of invested capital;

 

  (d) for our credit-oriented carry funds, the amount of invested capital (which may be calculated to include leverage) or net asset value;

 

  (e) the invested capital of co-investments arranged by us that were made by limited partners of our funds in portfolio companies of such funds and on which we receive fees;

 

  (f) the net asset value of our funds of hedge funds, hedge funds (except our credit-oriented closed-end registered investment companies) and our closed-end mutual funds;

 

  (g) the fair value of assets we manage pursuant to separately managed accounts;

 

  (h) the gross amount of underlying assets of our CLOs at cost; and

 

  (i) the gross amount of assets (including leverage) for our credit-oriented closed-end registered investment companies.

Our calculations of assets under management and fee-earning assets under management may differ from the calculations of other asset managers, and as a result this measure may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other asset managers. In addition, our calculation of assets under management includes commitments to, and the fair value of, invested capital in our funds from Blackstone and our personnel, regardless of whether such commitments or invested capital are subject to fees. Our definitions of assets under management or fee-earning assets under management are not based on any definition of assets under management or fee-earning assets under management that is set forth in the agreements governing the investment funds that we manage.

For our carry funds, total assets under management includes the fair value of the investments held, whereas fee-earning assets under management includes the amount of capital commitments or the remaining amount of invested capital at cost, depending on whether the investment period has or has not expired. As such, fee-earning assets under management may be greater than total assets under management when the aggregate fair value of the remaining investments is less than the cost of those investments.

Limited Partner Capital Invested. Limited Partner Capital Invested represents the amount of Limited Partner capital commitments which were invested by our carry funds during each period presented, plus the capital invested through co-investments arranged by us that were made by limited partners in investments of our carry funds on which we receive fees or a Carried Interest allocation.

We manage our business using traditional financial measures and our key operating metrics since we believe that these metrics measure the productivity of our investment activities.

 

74


Table of Contents

Consolidated Results of Operations

Following is a discussion of our consolidated results of operations for each of the years in the three year period ended December 31, 2010. For a more detailed discussion of the factors that affected the results of our four business segments (which are presented on a basis that deconsolidates the investment funds we manage) in these periods, see “—Segment Analysis” below.

The following table sets forth information regarding our consolidated results of operations and certain key operating metrics for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009, and 2008:

 

    Year Ended December 31,     2010 vs. 2009     2009 vs. 2008  
    2010     2009     2008     $     %     $     %  
    (Dollars in Thousands)  

Revenues

             

Management and Advisory Fees

  $ 1,584,748     $ 1,482,226     $ 1,476,357     $ 102,522       7   $ 5,869       0
                                                       

Performance Fees

             

Realized

    366,721       70,492       38,941       296,229       N/M        31,551       81

Unrealized

    571,113       150,598       (1,286,261     420,515       N/M        1,436,859       N/M   
                                                       

Total Performance Fees

    937,834       221,090       (1,247,320     716,744       N/M        1,468,410       N/M   
                                                       

Investment Income (Loss)

             

Realized

    29,157       44,320       (16,425     (15,163     -34     60,745       N/M   

Unrealized

    532,004       (3,716     (606,452     535,720       N/M        602,736       99
                                                       

Total Investment Income (Loss)

    561,161       40,604       (622,877     520,557       N/M        663,481       N/M   
                                                       

Interest and Dividend Revenue

    36,218       22,680       30,879       13,538       60     (8,199     -27

Other

    (619     7,099       13,600       (7,718     N/M        (6,501     -48
                                                       

Total Revenues

    3,119,342       1,773,699       (349,361     1,345,643       76     2,123,060       N/M   
                                                       

Expenses

             

Compensation and Benefits

             

Compensation

    3,253,226       3,778,686       4,062,238       (525,460     -14     (283,552     -7

Performance Fee Compensation

             

Realized

    128,316       25,102       4,997       103,214       N/M        20,105       N/M   

Unrealized

    228,647       (26,182     (207,448     254,829       N/M        181,266       87
                                                       

Total Compensation and Benefits

    3,610,189       3,777,606       3,859,787       (167,417     -4     (82,181     -2

General, Administrative and Other

    466,358       443,573       440,776       22,785       5     2,797       1

Interest Expense

    41,229       13,384       23,008       27,845       N/M        (9,624     -42

Fund Expenses

    26,214       7,296       63,031       18,918       N/M        (55,735     -88
                                                       

Total Expenses

    4,143,990       4,241,859       4,386,602       (97,869     -2     (144,743     -3
                                                       

Other Income

             

Net Gains (Losses) from Fund Investment Activities

    501,994       176,694       (872,336     325,300       184     1,049,030       N/M   
                                                       

Income (Loss) Before Provision (Benefit) for Taxes

    (522,654     (2,291,466     (5,608,299     1,768,812       77     3,316,833       59

Provision (Benefit) for Taxes

    84,669       99,230       (14,145     (14,561     -15     113,375       N/M   
                                                       

Net Income (Loss)

    (607,323     (2,390,696     (5,594,154     1,783,373       75     3,203,458       57

Net Income Attributable to Redeemable Non-Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities

    84,837       131,097       (632,495     (46,260     -35     763,592       N/M   

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Non- Controlling Interests in Consolidated Entities

    346,312       (14,328     (159,828     360,640       N/M        145,500       91

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Non- Controlling Interests in Blackstone Holdings

    (668,444     (1,792,174     (3,638,799     1,123,730       63     1,846,625       51
                                                       

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to The Blackstone Group L.P.

  $ (370,028   $ (715,291   $ (1,163,032   $ 345,263       48   $ 447,741       38
                                                       

N/M = not meaningful.

             

 

75


Table of Contents

Revenues

Total Revenues were $3.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $1.3 billion compared to Total Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2009 of $1.8 billion. The increase in revenues was primarily attributable to an increase of $716.7 million in Performance Fees, an increase of $520.6 million in Investment Income (Loss) and an increase of $102.5 million in Management and Advisory Fees. The increase in Performance Fees was primarily driven by improved performance of our real estate carry funds in our Real Estate segment and our credit-oriented funds and funds of hedge funds in our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment. Investment Income (Loss) improved primarily due to valuation increases in the underlying portfolio investments in our Real Estate and Private Equity segments. The increase in Management and Advisory Fees was primarily due to increases in Advisory Fees from our fund placement business which is included in our Financial Advisory segment, increases in Base Management Fees in our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment driven by higher Fee-Earning Assets Under Management from positive inflows in our funds of hedge funds business and an increase in Transaction Fees reflecting the increase in investment activity and net earnings generated from the November 23, 2010 commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets in our Real Estate segment.

Total Revenues were $1.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $2.1 billion compared to Total Revenues for the prior year of $(349.4) million. The increase in revenues was primarily attributable to an increase of $1.5 billion in Performance Fees, which were $221.1 million for the 2009 year, and an increase of $663.5 million in Investment Income (Loss) to $40.6 million for the year. Management and Advisory Fees were $1.5 billion for the year, relatively unchanged compared to 2008. The improvements in Performance Fees and Investment Income (Loss) were driven by improved returns by our Private Equity funds and by certain Real Estate funds. Our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment also had improved performance in 2009, contributing $155.6 million primarily from our credit platform hedge funds and also from our funds of hedge funds. The Realized Performance Fees of $70.5 million were primarily attributable to the Private Equity and Credit and Marketable Alternatives segments with $34.0 million and $43.3 million, respectively.

Expenses

Expenses were $4.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010, a decrease of $97.9 million, or 2%, compared to $4.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease of $167.4 million in Compensation and Benefits driven by a decrease in Compensation, partially offset by an increase in Performance Fee Compensation due to improved performance in our Real Estate segment and our credit-oriented funds and funds of hedge funds in our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment. Compensation decreased $525.5 million from the prior year period to $3.3 billion. This decrease was primarily attributed to a decrease of $607.3 million in equity-based compensation as a result of the absence of expense related to certain of our equity-based compensation awards that vested at the end of the second quarter of 2010. General Administrative and Other expenses were $466.4 million for the current year, an increase of $22.8 million, driven by the levels of business activity, revenue growth and headcount.

Expenses were $4.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009, a decrease of $144.7 million, or 3%, compared to $4.4 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008. The decrease was primarily attributed to a decrease in Compensation and Benefits to $3.8 billion from $3.9 billion in 2008. General, Administrative and Other expenses remained relatively unchanged. Our expenses are primarily driven by levels of business activity, revenue growth and headcount expansion.

Other Income

Other Income was $502.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $325.3 million compared to $176.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. Other Income is attributable to the

 

76


Table of Contents

non-controlling interest holders of the consolidated Blackstone Funds. The change was principally driven by an increase in income generated by our Private Equity and Real Estate consolidated side-by-side entities and our consolidated CLO vehicles.

Other Income (Loss) was $176.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $1.0 billion compared to $(872.3) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The change was due to improved performance of consolidated Blackstone Funds for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Operating Metrics

The following tables present certain operating metrics for the years ended December 31, 2010, 2009, and 2008. For a description of how Assets Under Management and Fee-Earning Assets Under Management are determined, please see “—Key Financial Measures and Indicators—Operating Metrics—Assets Under Management and Fee-Earning Assets Under Management”:

 

    Year Ended December 31,                          
    2010     2009     2008                          
    (Dollars in Thousands)                          

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management

             

Balance, Beginning of Period

  $ 96,096,997     $ 91,041,057     $ 83,152,253          

Inflows, including Commitments (a)

    18,250,862       7,407,805       27,414,604          

Outflows, including Distributions (b)

    (7,986,373     (7,165,725     (7,709,415        

Market Appreciation (Depreciation) (c)

    3,138,736       4,813,860       (11,816,385        
                               

Balance, End of Period (d)

  $ 109,500,222     $ 96,096,997     $ 91,041,057          
                               

Increase (Decrease)

    14     6     9        
    Year Ended December 31,     2010 vs. 2009     2009 vs. 2008  
    2010     2009     2008     $     %     $     %  
    (Dollars in Thousands)  

Assets Under Management,

             

End of Period (d)

  $ 128,123,920     $ 98,183,128     $ 94,559,217     $ 29,940,792       30   $ 3,623,911       4
                                                       

Capital Deployed

             

Limited Partner Capital Invested

  $ 7,134,013     $ 3,147,526     $ 6,548,651     $ 3,986,487       127   $ (3,401,125     -52
                                                       

 

(a) Inflows represent contributions in our hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds and registered investment companies, increases in available capital for our carry funds (capital raises, recallable capital and increased side-by-side commitments) and CLOs and increases in the capital we manage pursuant to separately managed account programs.
(b) Outflows represent redemptions in our hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds and registered investment companies, client withdrawals from our separately managed account programs, decreases in available capital for our carry funds (expired capital, expense drawdowns and decreased side-by-side commitments) and realizations from the disposition of assets by our carry funds. Also included is the distribution of funds associated with the discontinuation of our proprietary single manager hedge funds.
(c) Market appreciation (depreciation) includes realized and unrealized gains (losses) on portfolio investments and the impact of foreign exchange rate fluctuations.
(d) Fee-Earning Assets Under Management and Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2010 include $536.5 million from a joint venture in which we are the minority interest holder.

 

77


Table of Contents

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management were $109.5 billion at December 31, 2010, an increase of $13.4 billion, or 14%, compared with $96.1 billion at December 31, 2009. The $13.4 billion increase was attributed to a $10.6 billion increase in our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment driven primarily by net inflows of $7.5 billion which included the acquisition on April 1, 2010 of $3.5 billion of management agreements relating to CLO vehicles, net inflows in our funds of hedge funds business of $2.9 billion and $3.1 billion of market appreciation primarily driven by our funds of hedge funds business. In addition, the Real Estate segment increased $3.1 billion, driven primarily by inflows related to the commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets and capital raised by our real estate debt investment funds and additional co-investment capital.

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management were $96.1 billion at December 31, 2009, an increase of $5.1 billion, or 6%, compared with $91.0 billion at December 31, 2008. The increase was primarily driven by $3.7 billion of net appreciation in our funds of hedge funds, $908.0 million in our credit platform funds and $699.3 million in our closed-end mutual funds. Additionally, our Real Estate segment contributed an increase of $737.6 million while Private Equity experienced a decline of $1.0 billion.

Assets Under Management

Assets Under Management were $128.1 billion at December 31, 2010, an increase of $29.9 billion, or 30%, compared with $98.2 billion at December 31, 2009. The $29.9 billion increase was attributed in part to a $12.6 billion increase in our Credit and Marketable Alternatives segment due to net inflows of $8.4 billion in our funds of hedge funds and credit-oriented funds and the acquisition on April 1, 2010 of $3.5 billion of management agreements relating to CLO vehicles. A $4.6 billion increase in our Private Equity segment was driven by net appreciation of $5.9 billion, while a $12.8 billion increase in our Real Estate segment was driven by market appreciation of $8.9 billion, continued fundraising in our real estate debt funds, additional co-investment capital and the commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets.

Assets Under Management were $98.2 billion at December 31, 2009, an increase of $3.6 billion, or 4%, compared with $94.6 billion at December 31, 2008. The change was principally due to net appreciation of $7.0 billion and $2.0 billion in our Credit and Marketable Alternatives and Private Equity segments, respectively. This was offset by $3.8 billion of net depreciation in our Real Estate Segment. Additionally, we had realizations of $1.6 billion and $1.0 billion in our Private Equity and Credit and Marketable Alternatives segments, respectively.

Limited Partner Capital Invested

Limited Partner Capital Invested was $7.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $4.0 billion, or 127%, compared to $3.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009. The change reflected an increase in the size and volume of consummated transactions compared to the prior year, driven primarily by the favorable investment environment for the Real Estate segment resulting in increased investment activity by our BREP VI and debt investment funds.

Limited Partner Capital Invested was $3.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009, a decrease of $3.4 billion, or 52%, compared to $6.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008. The change reflected a decrease in the size and volume of consummated transactions compared to the prior year.

 

78


Table of Contents

Segment Analysis

Discussed below is our ENI for each of our segments. This information is reflected in the manner utilized by our senior management to make operating decisions, assess performance and allocate resources. References to “our” sectors or investments may also refer to portfolio companies and investments of the underlying funds that we manage.

For segment reporting purposes, revenues and expenses are presented on a basis that deconsolidates the investment funds we manage. As a result, segment revenues are greater than those presented on a consolidated GAAP basis because fund management fees recognized in certain segments are received from the Blackstone Funds and eliminated in consolidation when presented on a consolidated GAAP basis. Furthermore, segment expenses are lower than related amounts presented on a consolidated GAAP basis due to the exclusion of fund expenses that are paid by Limited Partners and the elimination of non-controlling interests.

Private Equity

The following table presents our results of operations for our Private Equity segment:

 

    Year Ended December 31,     2010 vs. 2009     2009 vs. 2008  
    2010     2009     2008     $     %     $     %  
    (Dollars in Thousands)  

Segment Revenues

             

Management Fees

             

Base Management Fees

  $ 263,307     $ 270,509     $ 268,961     $ (7,202     -3   $ 1,548       1

Transaction and Other Fees, Net

    72,243       86,336       51,796       (14,093     -16     34,540       67

Management Fee Offsets

    (188     —          (4,862     (188     N/M        4,862       N/M   
                                                       

Total Management Fees

    335,362       356,845       315,895       (21,483     -6     40,950       13
                                                       

Performance Fees

             

Realized

    156,869       34,021       (749     122,848       N/M        34,770       N/M   

Unrealized

    151,494       303,491       (429,736     (151,997     -50     733,227       N/M   
                                                       

Total Performance Fees

    308,363       337,512       (430,485     (29,149     -9     767,997       N/M   
                                                       

Investment Income (Loss)

             

Realized

    15,332       36,968       13,687       (21,636     -59     23,281       170

Unrealized

    153,288       33,269       (196,200     120,019       N/M        229,469       N/M   
                                                       

Total Investment Income (Loss)

    168,620       70,237       (182,513     98,383       140     252,750       N/M   

Interest and Dividend Revenue

    14,044       7,756       6,459       6,288       81     1,297       20

Other

    2,021       2,845       4,474       (824     -29     (1,629     -36
                                                       

Total Revenues

    828,410       775,195       (286,170     53,215       7     1,061,365       N/M   
                                                       

Expenses

             

Compensation and Benefits

             

Compensation

    179,345       181,266       146,551       (1,921     -1     34,715       24

Performance Fee Compensation

             

Realized

    32,627       741       (4,255     31,886       N/M        4,996       N/M   

Unrealized

    21,320       20,307       (126,090     1,013       5     146,397       N/M   
                                                       

Total Compensation and Benefits

    233,292       202,314       16,206       30,978       15     186,108       N/M   

Other Operating Expenses

    109,589       82,471       90,130       27,118       33     (7,659     -8
                                                       

Total Expenses

    342,881       284,785       106,336       58,096       20     178,449       168
                                                       

Economic Net Income

  $ 485,529     $ 490,410     $ (392,506   $ (4,881     -1   $ 882,916       N/M   
                                                       

 

79


Table of Contents

Revenues

Revenues were $828.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $53.2 million compared to $775.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase was driven by a $98.4 million increase in Investment Income partially offset by a decrease of $29.1 million in Performance Fees and a decrease of $21.5 million in Total Management Fees.

Performance Fees, which are determined on a fund-by-fund basis, were $308.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, a decrease of $29.1 million, compared to $337.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The decrease was principally attributable to a lower rate of appreciation of BCP IV, which generated net returns of 30% for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to 35% for the year ended December 31, 2009. Investment Income was $168.6 million, an increase of $98.4 million, compared to $70.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, principally driven by BCP V, which generated a net return of 27% for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to 1% for the year ended December 31, 2009. The positive performance of our private equity funds was driven by appreciation in the value of our privately held portfolio investments and increases in share prices of our publicly held portfolio investments, slightly offset by foreign exchange losses. The fair value appreciation in our private portfolio in 2010 was primarily due to continued improvement in operating performance driven by companies across various sectors, especially hospitality/leisure, retail/consumer and healthcare. At December 31, 2010, the unrealized value and cumulative realized proceeds, before Carried Interest, fees and expenses, of our contributed private equity funds represented 1.5 times investors’ original investments; excluding funds which were still in their Investment Period, the current returns were 2.3 times investors’ original investments.

The Realized Performance Fees for the year ended December 31, 2010 of $156.9 million was primarily attributable to our public portfolio, with multiple secondary offerings of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., a final exit of Cineworld and the public offering of TDC. Realized performance fees were also earned from private holdings in our hospitality/leisure and healthcare industries. Realized Investment Income was $15.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, a decrease of $21.6 million compared to $37.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Total Management Fees were $335.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, a decrease of $21.5 million compared to $356.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. Transaction Fees decreased $14.1 million to $72.2 million. Base Management Fees were $263.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, a decrease of $7.2 million compared to $270.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, principally as a result of dispositions in our invested funds which earn fees based on remaining capital.

Revenues were $775.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $1.1 billion compared to $(286.2) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The increase in revenues was primarily attributed to an increase of $768.0 million in Performance Fees, an increase of $252.8 million in Investment Income (Loss) and an increase of $41.0 million in Total Management Fees.

Performance Fees, which are determined on a fund-by-fund basis, were $337.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $768.0 million compared to $(430.5) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Investment Income (Loss) was $70.2 million, an increase of $252.8 million compared to $(182.5) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. These increases were driven by the improved performance of our funds. At December 31, 2009, the unrealized value and cumulative realized proceeds, before carried interest, fees and expenses, of our contributed Private Equity funds represented 1.3 times investors’ original investments. Over 50% of the appreciation in fair value for 2009 was attributable to increased share prices of various publicly held investments, notably TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. and TeamHealth Holdings, Inc., a company that Blackstone took public during the fourth quarter of 2009. The segment’s private portfolio contributed approximately one-third to the overall appreciation in fair value for 2009. This improvement was primarily due to two investments sold during 2009, Orangina Schweppes (consumer sector) and Stiefel Laboratories, Inc.

 

80


Table of Contents

(healthcare sector). At a fund level, the appreciation in fair value was primarily attributed to BCP IV, which generated $340.4 million in Performance Fees and $57.2 million in Investment Income. Within BCP IV, publicly traded TRW Automotive accounted for one-third of the contribution to our Performance Fees and approximately 15% of the contribution to Investment Income (Loss). Orangina Schweppes and Kosmos Energy, LLC each accounted for approximately 20% of Performance Fees and slightly over 25% of Investment Income within BCP IV. The Realized Performance Fees and Investment Income (Loss) for 2009 of $34.0 million and $37.0 million, respectively, were primarily attributable to our sale of Orangina Schweppes and a Sithe Global Power LLC investment.

Total Management Fees were $356.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $41.0 million compared to $315.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Transaction and Other Fees increased $34.5 million primarily due to lower offsets for spending on due diligence for potential transactions. Base Management Fees were $270.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, relatively unchanged compared to the year ended December 31, 2008 as Fee-Earning Assets Under Management also remained relatively unchanged for the comparable period.

Expenses

Expenses were $342.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $58.1 million, compared to $284.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. Compensation remained relatively flat compared to the prior year period. Performance Fee Compensation, which is based on the performance of individual investments held by a fund, increased $32.9 million to $53.9 million compared to the prior year period. Other Operating Expenses increased $27.1 million to $109.6 million, principally due to an increase in interest expense, professional fees, fundraising expenses and other non-compensation expenses.

Expenses were $284.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $178.4 million, or 168%, compared to $106.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Compensation and Benefits increased in total with Compensation increasing $34.7 million to $181.3 million and Performance Fee Compensation increasing $151.4 million to $21.0 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2008. The increase in Compensation was primarily due to an increase in management fee revenues, as a portion of compensation is directly related to the profitability of the segment. The increase in Performance Fee Compensation was a result of reversing the negative compensation of $(126.9) million in 2008 from the write-down of prior period carried interest allocations due to the decline in fair value of certain portfolio investments. Other Operating Expenses decreased $7.7 million to $82.5 million, principally due to decreases in professional fees and interest expense.

Operating Metrics

The following operating metrics are used in the management of this business segment:

 

     Year Ended December 31,                          
     2010     2009     2008                          
     (Dollars in Thousands)                          

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management

              

Balance, Beginning of Period

   $ 24,521,394     $ 25,509,163     $ 25,040,513           

Inflows, including Commitments

     1,033,240       84,202       515,979           

Outflows, including Distributions

     (1,380,505     (411,459     (47,329        

Market Appreciation (Depreciation)

     14,426       (660,512     —             
                                

Balance, End of Period (a)

   $ 24,188,555     $ 24,521,394     $ 25,509,163           
                                

Increase (Decrease)

     -1     -4     2        

 

81


Table of Contents
    Year Ended December 31,     2010 vs. 2009     2009 vs. 2008  
    2010     2009     2008     $     %     $     %  
    (Dollars in Thousands)  

Assets Under Management

             

(End of Period) (a)

  $ 29,319,136     $ 24,758,992     $ 23,933,511     $ 4,560,144       18   $ 825,481       3
                                                       

Capital Deployed

             

Limited Partner Capital Invested

  $ 1,653,493     $ 1,541,974     $ 3,760,262     $ 111,519       7   $ (2,218,288     -59
                                                       

 

(a) Fee-Earning Assets Under Management and Assets Under Management as of December 31, 2010 include $536.5 million from a joint venture in which we are the minority interest holder.

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management were $24.2 billion at December 31, 2010, a decrease of $332.8 million, or 1%, compared with $24.5 billion at December 31, 2009. For the year ended December 31, 2010, inflows of $1.0 billion were driven by capital raised for our joint venture fund in Korea and Blackstone Clean Technology Partners, as well as follow-on investments made in our invested funds. Outflows of $1.4 billion were mostly driven by the termination of management fees in our BCP III fund and the sale of certain holdings in our invested funds. Market appreciation of $14.4 million for 2010 was due to the foreign exchange impact on our joint venture fund in Korea. Subsequent to year end, we terminated the investment period for BCP V and commenced the investment period for BCP VI.

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management were $24.5 billion at December 31, 2009, a decrease of $987.8 million compared with $25.5 billion at December 31, 2008. The decrease was driven primarily by market depreciation of $660.5 million that resulted from a net depreciation in the fair value of certain portfolio investments in BCP IV and BCOM. Inflows were $84.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, a decrease of $431.8 million from the year ended December 31, 2008, primarily due to a reduction in Limited Partner Capital Invested in our funds that charge management fees based on invested capital—BCP II, BCP III, BCP IV, and BCOM. Outflows for the year ended December 31, 2009 were $411.5 million, an increase of $364.1 million compared to $47.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The outflows were primarily due to realizations of investment gains and return of capital in our funds that charge management fees based on invested capital.

Assets Under Management

Assets Under Management were $29.3 billion at December 31, 2010, an increase of $4.6 billion, or 18%, compared with $24.8 billion at December 31, 2009. For the year ended December 31, 2010, the increase was primarily due to net appreciation of $5.9 billion in the fair value of our portfolio investments and inflows of $755.1 million, partially offset by realizations of $2.1 billion. BCP V closed its investment period subsequent to year end, thereby commencing the investment period for BCP VI.

Assets Under Management were $24.8 billion at December 31, 2009, an increase of $825.5 million, or 3%, compared with $23.9 billion at December 31, 2008. The increase was primarily due to net appreciation of $2.0 billion in the fair value of our portfolio investments and inflows of $490.8 million, partially offset by realizations of $1.6 billion.

Limited Partner Capital Invested

Limited Partner Capital Invested was $1.7 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $111.5 million, or 7%, compared to $1.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase was primarily attributable to a number of new transactions in Asia.

 

82


Table of Contents

Limited Partner Capital Invested was $1.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2009, a decrease of $2.2 billion, or 59%, compared to $3.8 billion for the year ended December 31, 2008. The decrease was primarily attributed to a decrease in transaction sizes. Investments during the year ended December 31, 2009 were primarily made by BCP V.

Fund Returns

Fund returns information for our significant funds is included throughout this discussion and analysis to facilitate an understanding of our results of operations for the periods presented. The fund returns information reflected in this discussion and analysis is not indicative of the financial performance of The Blackstone Group L.P. and is also not necessarily indicative of the future performance of any particular fund. An investment in The Blackstone Group L.P. is not an investment in any of our funds. There can be no assurance that any of our funds or our other existing and future funds will achieve similar returns.

The following table presents the Net Internal Rates of Return of our significant BCP funds:

 

     Net Total Change in Carrying Value (Realized and
Unrealized) (a)
 
     Year Ended December 31,     Inception to Date  

Fund

   2010     2009     2008     Total     Realized (b)  

BCP IV

     30     35     -17     40     52

BCP V

     27     1     -35     -1     5

The returns presented herein represent those of the applicable Blackstone Funds and not those of The Blackstone Group L.P.

 

(a) Net total change in carrying value (realized and unrealized) is after management fees, expenses and Carried Interest allocations.
(b) Includes partially realized investments. Investments are considered partially realized when realized proceeds, excluding current income (dividends, interest, etc.), are a material portion of invested capital.

The net internal rate of return for BCP IV for the year ended December 31, 2010 was 30% compared to 35% for the previous year. The net internal rate of return for BCP V for the year ended December 31, 2010 of 27% significantly improved from 1% in the previous year due to continued improvement in operating performance of its private investments driven by companies in various sectors, especially hospitality/leisure, retail/consumer and healthcare.

The following table presents the investment record of the private equity funds from inception through December 31, 2010 for funds with closed investment periods:

 

    Fully Invested Funds  
    Total Investments     Realized /Partially Realized Investments (a)  
    Total                 Total              

Fund (Investment Period)

  Invested
Capital
    Carrying
Value (b)
    Net
IRR (c)
    MOIC (d)     Invested
Capital
    Carrying
Value (b) (e)
    Net
IRR (c)
    MOIC (d)  
    (Dollars in Millions)     (Dollars in Millions)              

BCP I (Oct 1987 / Oct 1993)

  $ 679     $ 1,742       19     2.6     $ 679     $ 1,742       19     2.6  

BCP II (Oct 1993 / Aug 1997)

    1,292       3,253       32     2.5       1,201       3,123       37     2.6  

BCP III (Aug 1997 / Nov 2002)

    4,026       8,219       13     2.0       3,402       7,151       18     2.1  

BCOM (June 2000 / Jun 2006)

    2,132       2,933       8     1.4       1,215       2,149       24     1.8  

BCP IV (Nov 2002 / Dec 2005)

    7,300       18,664       40     2.6       5,120       14,987       52     2.9  

 

83


Table of Contents

The returns presented herein represent those of the applicable Blackstone Funds and not those of The Blackstone Group L.P.

 

(a) Investments are considered partially realized when realized proceeds, excluding current income (dividends, interest, etc.), are a material portion of invested capital.
(b) Carrying value includes realized proceeds and unrealized fair value.
(c) Net Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) represents the annualized inception to date IRR on total invested capital based on realized proceeds and unrealized value after management fees, expenses and Carried Interest.
(d) Multiple of Invested Capital (“MOIC”) represents carrying value, before management fees, expenses and Carried Interest, divided by total invested capital.
(e) The Realized / Partially Realized Carrying Value includes remaining unrealized value of $2.7 billion.

The following table presents the investment record of the private equity funds from inception through December 31, 2010 for funds with open investment periods:

 

    Funds in the Investment Period  
    Total Investments     Realized /Partially Realized Investments (a)  
          Total                 Total              

Fund (Investment Period)

  Available
Capital (b)
    Invested
Capital
    Carrying
Value (c)
    Net
IRR (d)
    MOIC (e)     Invested
Capital
    Carrying
Value (c) (f)
    Net
IRR (d)
    MOIC (e)  
    (Dollars in Millions)                 (Dollars in Millions)              

BCP V (Dec 2005 / Jan 2011)

  $ 3,281     $ 18,148     $ 18,490       -1     1.0     $ 1,857     $ 2,370       5     1.3  

 

The returns presented herein represent those of the applicable Blackstone Funds and not those of The Blackstone Group L.P.

(a) Investments are considered partially realized when realized proceeds, excluding current income (dividends, interest, etc.) are a material portion of invested capital.
(b) Available Capital represents total capital commitments adjusted for certain expenses and expired or recallable capital, less invested capital, and includes $1.8 billion committed to deals but not yet invested. The segment has $832.8 million of Available Capital that has been reserved for add-on investments in funds that are fully invested.
(c) Carrying value includes realized proceeds and unrealized fair value.
(d) Net Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) represents the annualized inception to date IRR on total invested capital based on realized proceeds and unrealized value after management fees, expenses and Carried Interest.
(e) Multiple of Invested Capital (“MOIC”) represents carrying value, before management fees, expenses and Carried Interest, divided by total invested capital.
(f) The Realized / Partially Realized Carrying Value includes remaining unrealized value of $739 million.

The Private Equity segment has two contributed funds with closed investment periods, BCP IV and BCOM. As of December 31, 2010, BCP IV was above its Carried Interest threshold (i.e., the preferred return payable to its limited partners before the general partner is eligible to receive Carried Interest) and would still be above its Carried Interest threshold even if all remaining investments were deemed worthless. BCOM is currently below its Carried Interest threshold but has generated inception-to-date positive returns and is entitled to Carried Interest on those gains.

 

84


Table of Contents

The following table presents the Carried Interest status of our private equity funds in their investment period which are currently not generating performance fees as of December 31, 2010:

 

            Gain to Cross Carried
Interest Threshold (a)
 

Funds in the Investment Period

   Available
Capital
(b)
     Amount      % Change in
Total Enterprise
Value (c)
 
     (Dollars in Millions)         

BCP V (Dec 2005 / Jan 2011)

   $ 3,281      $ 4,976        12

 

(a) The general partner of each fund is allocated Carried Interest when the annualized returns, net of management fees and expenses, exceed the preferred return as dictated by the fund agreements. The preferred return is calculated for each limited partner individually. The Gain to Cross Carried Interest Threshold represents the increase in equity at the fund level (excluding our side-by-side investments) that is required for the general partner to begin accruing Carried Interest, assuming the gain is earned pro rata across the fund’s investments and is achieved at the reporting date.
(b) Available Capital represents total capital commitments, adjusted for certain expenses and expired or recallable capital, less invested capital (including side-by-side investments).
(c) Total Enterprise Value is the respective fund’s pro rata ownership of the privately held portfolio companies’ Enterprise Value and the Equity Value of the public portfolio companies based on fair values at the reporting date.

Real Estate

The following table presents our results of operations for our Real Estate segment:

 

    Year Ended December 31,     2010 vs. 2009     2009 vs. 2008  
    2010     2009     2008     $     %     $     %  
    (Dollars in Thousands)  

Segment Revenues

             

Management Fees

             

Base Management Fees

  $ 338,428     $ 328,447     $ 295,921     $ 9,981       3   $ 32,526       11

Transaction and Other Fees, Net

    59,914       25,838       36,046       34,076       132     (10,208     -28

Management Fee Offsets

    (1,071     (2,467     (4,969     1,396       57     2,502       50
                                                       

Total Management Fees

    397,271       351,818       326,998       45,453       13     24,820       8
                                                       

Performance Fees

             

Realized

    40,288       (3,039     24,681       43,327       N/M        (27,720     N/M   

Unrealized

    256,971       (252,180     (843,704     509,151       N/M        591,524       70
                                                       

Total Performance Fees

    297,259       (255,219     (819,023     552,478       N/M        563,804       69
                                                       

Investment Income (Loss)

             

Realized

    11,251       6,164       3,778       5,087       83     2,386       63

Unrealized

    318,979       (125,624     (238,650     444,603       N/M        113,026       47
                                                       

Total Investment Income (Loss)

    330,230       (119,460     (234,872     449,690       N/M        115,412       49

Interest and Dividend Revenue

    11,173       6,030       5,880       5,143       85     150       3

Other

    (336     3,261       3,008       (3,597     N/M        253       8
                                                       

Total Revenues

    1,035,597       (13,570     (718,009     1,049,167       N/M        704,439       98
                                                       

Expenses

             

Compensation and Benefits

             

Compensation

    183,177       158,115       150,684       25,062       16     7,431       5

Performance Fee Compensation

             

Realized

    15,844       3,506       1,090       12,338       N/M        2,416       N/M   

Unrealized

    122,864       (113,981     (74,981     236,845       N/M        (39,000     -52
                                                       

Total Compensation and Benefits

    321,885       47,640       76,793       274,245       N/M        (29,153     -38

Other Operating Expenses

    74,189       56,325       55,782       17,864       32     543       1
                                                       

Total Expenses

    396,074       103,965       132,575       292,109       N/M        (28,610     -22
                                                       

Economic Net Income

  $ 639,523     $ (117,535   $ (850,584   $ 757,058       N/M      $ 733,049       86
                                                       

 

85


Table of Contents

Revenues

Revenues were $1.0 billion for the year ended December 31, 2010, an improvement of $1.0 billion compared to $(13.6) million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase in revenues was primarily attributed to an increase of $552.5 million in Performance Fees, an increase of $449.7 million in Investment Income (Loss) and an increase of $45.5 million in Total Management Fees.

Performance Fees, which are determined on a fund-by-fund basis, were $297.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $552.5 million compared to $(255.2) million for the prior year. The increase in Performance Fees was primarily driven by the reversal of prior period performance fees in BREP IV and BREP V, resulting from the appreciation of the funds’ investments. Investment Income (Loss) was $330.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $449.7 million compared to $(119.5) million for the year ended December 31, 2009. For the year ended December 31, 2010, valuation increases across most of the segment’s investments had the largest impact on investment income, primarily driven by Equity Office Properties Trust and Hilton Hotels Corporation. The increase in both Performance Fees and Investment Income (Loss) was driven by better performance of our carry funds. The December 31, 2010, unrealized value and cumulative realized proceeds, before carried interest, fees and expenses, of our Real Estate carry funds represented 1.4 times investors’ original investments.

The Realized Performance Fees and Realized Investment Income for 2010 of $40.3 million and $11.3 million, respectively, were primarily attributable to realized gains in our debt investment funds.

Total Management Fees were $397.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $45.5 million compared to $351.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. Base Management Fees were $338.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $10.0 million compared to the prior year, driven by an increase in Fee-Earning Assets Under Management of 13% from the prior year, which was primarily from capital raised for our new debt investment funds and additional co-investment capital, along with the fees generated by the commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets. Transaction and Other Fees increased $34.1 million, primarily due to an increase in the number and size of closed fee-earning transactions in 2010 and fees generated from the commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets.

Revenues were $(13.6) million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an improvement of $704.4 million compared to $(718.0) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The increase in revenues was primarily attributed to an improvement of $563.8 million in Performance Fees, an improvement of $115.4 million in Investment Income (Loss) and an increase of $24.8 million in Total Management Fees.

Performance Fees, which are determined on a fund-by-fund basis, were $(255.2) million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an improvement of $563.8 million compared to $(819.0) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. In 2008, the funds experienced significant unrealized valuation reductions. As a result, the prior period performance fees were reversed, primarily in BREP IV, V and VI, resulting in the loss of $819.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. For the first half of 2009, the funds continued to experience unrealized valuation reductions; however, the losses were limited to prior period performance fees not yet reversed in BREP IV and BREP V. During the second half of 2009 the funds experienced a general stabilization of fair value, which resulted in an overall 2009 loss of $255.2 million.

Investment Income (Loss) was $(119.5) million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an improvement of $115.4 million compared to $(234.9) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. For the year ended December 31, 2009, valuation reductions in BREP V ($(27.1) million) and BREP VI ($(83.5) million) had the largest impact on investment income, primarily driven by the decline in valuations of our holdings in Trizec Properties Inc., CarrAmerica Realty Corporation, Equity Office Properties Trust and Hilton Hotels Corporation. The improvement was driven by better performance of our BREP funds and our real estate debt hedge funds.

 

86


Table of Contents

Despite significant unrealized markdowns over the preceding 18 months, unrealized value and cumulative realized proceeds, before carried interest, fees and expenses, of our contributed Real Estate carry funds as of December 31, 2009, represented 0.9 times investors’ original investments.

The Realized Performance Fees and Investment Income (Loss) for 2009 of $(3.0) million and $6.2 million, respectively, were primarily attributable to our realized loss in a residential home-building investment (BREP IV), which was partially offset by realized gains in our debt investment funds.

Total Management Fees were $351.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $24.8 million compared to $327.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Base Management Fees were $328.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, an increase of $32.5 million compared to the year ended December 31, 2008, driven by a full year of management fees from our European focused real estate fund and an increase in Fee-Earning Assets Under Management of 3% from the year ended December 31, 2008, which was primarily from capital raised for our new debt investment funds. Transaction and Other Fees decreased $10.2 million, primarily due to a reduction in the number and size of closed fee-earning transactions in 2009.

Expenses

Expenses were $396.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $292.1 million compared to $104.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase was primarily attributable to a $249.2 million increase in Performance Fee Compensation, primarily as a result of the increase in Performance Fees revenue in the current year period compared to the reversal of prior period accrued performance fees in the prior year period. Compensation increased $25.1 million as a result of the increase in profitability as a portion of compensation is directly related to the profitability of the segment and an increase in headcount related to the commencement of the management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets. Other Operating Expenses increased $17.9 million primarily due to an increase in interest expense and professional fees.

Expenses were $104.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009, a decrease of $28.6 million, or 22%, compared to $132.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. Compensation rose 5%, or $7.4 million, to $158.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase was primarily due to an increase in compensation of senior personnel which is calculated based on segment profitability. Performance Fee Compensation was $(110.5) million for the year ended December 31, 2009, a decrease of $36.6 million, or 50%, compared to $(73.9) million for the year ended December 31, 2008. The decrease resulted principally from the reversal of prior period performance fee allocations to certain personnel of $70.6 million in 2008, compared to $113.1 million in 2009, as a result of unrealized valuation reductions of certain portfolio investments. Other Operating Expenses remained relatively unchanged from the year ended December 31, 2008.

 

87


Table of Contents

Operating Metrics

The following operating metrics are used in the management of this business segment:

 

    Year Ended December 31,                          
    2010     2009     2008                          
    (Dollars in Thousands)                          

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management

             

Balance, Beginning of Period

  $ 23,708,057     $ 22,970,438     $ 18,637,673           

Inflows, including Commitments

    4,033,782       1,009,216       5,140,183           

Outflows, including Distributions

    (951,922     (428,092     (582,652        

Market Appreciation (Depreciation)

    24,797       156,495       (224,766        
                               

Balance, End of Period

  $ 26,814,714     $ 23,708,057     $ 22,970,438           
                               

Increase (Decrease)

    13     3     23        
    Year Ended December 31,     2010 vs. 2009     2009 vs. 2008  
    2010     2009     2008     $     %     $     %  
    (Dollars in Thousands)  

Assets Under Management

             

(End of Period)

  $ 33,165,124     $ 20,391,334     $ 24,154,642     $ 12,773,790       63   $ (3,763,308     -16
                                                       

Capital Deployed

             

Limited Partner Capital Invested

  $ 4,072,527     $ 884,151     $ 968,684     $ 3,188,376       N/M      $ (84,533     -9
                                                       

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management were $26.8 billion at December 31, 2010, an increase of $3.1 billion, or 13%, compared with $23.7 billion at December 31, 2009. Current year inflows of $4.0 billion were primarily related to the commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets and capital raised by our real estate debt investment funds and the deployment of additional co-investment capital. Current year outflows were $951.9 million, primarily due to realizations generated by both the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets that we manage and our real estate debt investment funds, along with the full write-down of a European hotel portfolio investment. Market appreciation in the current year of $24.8 million was primarily due to net valuation increases for certain of our real estate debt investment funds that charge management fees based on net asset value, offset by an unfavorable foreign exchange impact on commitments from our European focused real estate fund. Prior year market appreciation of $156.5 million was primarily due to the favorable foreign exchange impact on commitments from our European focused real estate fund.

Fee-Earning Assets Under Management were $23.7 billion at December 31, 2009, an increase of $737.6 million, or 3%, compared with $23.0 billion at December 31, 2008. The increase was primarily driven by capital raised and deployed by our real estate debt investment funds since the end of 2008. As discussed above, the year ended December 31, 2009 inflows were primarily related to capital deployed by our real estate debt investment funds whereas the year ended December 31, 2008 inflows included $4.6 billion of capital raised for our European focused real estate fund. The year ended December 31, 2009 outflows were $428.1 million, primarily due to realizations in BREP IV and the end of the fund’s term for BREP III, whereas the year ended December 31, 2008 outflows of $582.7 million were primarily driven by unused capital commitments at the end of the BREP International II investment period in 2008 being earmarked for fund reserves and no longer earning fees until drawn. Additional increases in the current year of $156.5 million were due to the impact of favorable foreign exchange fluctuations on committed capital for our European focused real estate fund and net valuation increases for certain of our debt investment funds. The year ended December 31, 2008 included additional decreases to fee-earning assets of $224.8 million which were primarily due to the unfavorable foreign exchange impact on commitments from our European focused real estate fund.

 

88


Table of Contents

Assets Under Management

At December 31, 2010, Assets Under Management were $33.2 billion, an increase of $12.8 billion, or 63%, compared with $20.4 billion at December 31, 2009. The change was primarily due to market appreciation of $8.9 billion, continued fundraising in our real estate debt funds, the deployment of additional co-investment capital and the commencement of our management of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Asia assets.

Our real estate debt investment funds obtained additional capital commitments of $685.3 million in January and February 2011.

At December 31, 2009, Assets Under Management were $20.4 billion, a decrease of $3.8 billion, or 16%, compared with $24.2 billion at December 31, 2008. The change was primarily due to net reductions in the fair value of underlying portfolio investments of $3.8 billion, which were substantially all unrealized.

Limited Partner Capital Invested

For the year ended December 31, 2010, Limited Partner Capital Invested was $4.1 billion, an increase of $3.2 billion from $884.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. These increases reflected the favorable investment environment, resulting in increased investment activity by our BREP VI and debt investment funds.

For the year ended December 31, 2009, Limited Partner Capital Invested was $884.2 million, a decrease of $84.5 million, or 9%, from $968.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2008. This decrease reflected a reduction in the volume and size of closed transactions as a result of the continued difficult market conditions in 2009. During the year ended December 31, 2009, Limited Partner Capital Invested was predominantly in our BREP VI and debt investment funds.

Fund Returns

Fund return information for our significant funds is included throughout this discussion and analysis to facilitate an understanding of our results of operations for the periods presented. The fund returns information reflected in this discussion and analysis is not indicative of the performance of The Blackstone Group L.P. and is also not necessarily indicative of the future performance of any particular fund. An investment in The Blackstone Group L.P. is not an investment in any of our funds. There can be no assurance that any of our funds or our other existing and future funds will achieve similar returns.

The following table presents the Net Internal Rates of Return of our significant real estate funds:

 

     Net Total Change in Carrying Value
(Realized and Unrealized) (a)
 
     Year Ended     December 31, 2010  
     December 31,     Inception to Date  

Fund

   2010     2009     2008     Total     Realized (b)  

BREP IV

     30     -32     -39     16     68

BREP V

     61     -35     -31     7     74

BREP International II (c)

     84     -32     -40     -4     3

BREP International (c)

     8     9     -33     23     31

BREP VI

     137     -40     -43     6     95

BREP Europe III (c)

     147     N/A        N/A        27     N/A   

BSSF II (d)

     21     23     N/A        23     42

BSSF I (d)

     15