Blackstone on track for its biggest fundraising year

The firm has raised a total of $116bn over the past 12 months, as it prepares to re-open fundraising for its open-ended infra vehicle.

Blackstone is set to have its biggest year yet in fundraising, with expected capital inflows reaching $200 billion, affiliate title Private Equity International reported.

“On last quarter’s call we said we were highly confident that total inflows would exceed $100 billion again in 2021, the fifth year in a row approaching or exceeding this level,” president and COO Jon Gray said on the firm’s Q2 earnings call last Thursday. “We now expect to approach $200 billion of inflows this year including our pending insurance partnerships.”

Blackstone gathered $37.3 billion across strategies in the second quarter without raising any of its larger flagship funds, and it has raised a total of $116.3 billion over the past 12 months. Perpetual AUM, which Gray previously said was “like planting perennials”, with their recurring and compounding contribution to the firm’s financials, increased 55 percent year-on-year to nearly $170 billion.

One flagship that is set to return to market “in the next few months,” according to Gray, is Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, the firm’s perpetual capital vehicle focused on the asset class, after investing more than 70 percent of the $14 billion raised in July 2019.

“Our team, led by Sean Klimczak, has done a terrific job deploying the capital and the returns have been really strong,” Gray said, referring to the net 20 percent IRR recorded by the infrastructure strategy in Blackstone’s Q2 earnings.

Strong appreciation

Q2 2021 was its best quarter for fund appreciation in the firm’s history, Gray noted during the call. That was driven by the firm’s “positioning towards fast-growing areas of the economy, including logistics, life sciences, sustainability and tech-enabled businesses”, he said.

Blackstone’s PE portfolio appreciated 13.8 percent during the quarter and 52.2 percent over the past 12 months, driven by IPOs of TaskUs and Sona Comstar in Asia, as well as broad-based appreciation across industries and sectors, according to the Q2 earnings statement.

Blackstone deployed $23.8 billion in the quarter, of which about 40 percent, or $9.5 billion, was in private equity. Total exit value stood at $19.6 billion in the quarter and a record $63.4 billion over the last 12 months.

The firm made $704 million in fee-related earnings during the quarter, up 30 percent year-on-year. Distributable earnings nearly doubled from last year to $1.1 billion in the second quarter.

Bruno Alves contributed reporting to this story