Blackstone hires ArcLight veteran

Matthew Runkle is appointed managing director of the firm’s newly formed infrastructure arm amid fundraising for $40bn vehicle.

Blackstone Group has hired Matthew Runkle, a former ArcLight Capital Partners principal, as a managing director for its newly formed infrastructure business as the firm continues fundraising activities, a source confirmed to Infrastructure Investor.

Runkle: A former ArcLight veteran.

The source said Runkle will focus on midstream utility opportunities. He previously spent 15 years at ArcLight, a firm that has invested more than $19 billion in energy infrastructure assets since 2001. In September 2016, the two firms partnered together in a $2.2 billion deal to buy four midstream US power stations.

Blackstone declined to comment for this story.

The New York-based firm is fundraising an infrastructure fund that could become the world’s largest if targets are met. Blackstone said in October it plans to raise $10 billion alongside $20 billion committed from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. When the infrastructure programme was announced in May, Blackstone executives described raising a $40 billion open-ended investment vehicle anchored by the Saudi commitment.

Tony James, the firm’s president, said on an earnings call in October that a first close is expected in the first quarter of 2018.

The fund is said to be targeting up to 70 percent of investments in North America, focusing on energy, transportation, communications and water sectors.

Blackstone, which manages $387 billion in assets as of 30 September, has already had an active year investing in the US energy space. In August, the firm acquired US midstream advisory Harvest Fund Advisors. It also agreed to pay $1.6 billion in August for a natural gas pipeline stake and in April purchased EagleClaw Midstream Ventures for $2 billion.

Shortly after announcing the launch of its infrastructure business, Blackstone named Sean Klimczak as senior managing director after spending a decade working on the company’s energy investments. Former General Electric executive Steve Bolze was hired in August to head portfolio operations and asset management.