Elizabeth Warren and Leon Cooperman don’t see eye to eye on very much, most notably the advisability of Sen. Warren’s promotion to President Warren. But there is one thing the Democratic front-runner and crotchety old hedge fund manager do agree on, and it’s that the private equity industry is bullshit.
This hurts Steve Schwarzman’s feelings. Sure, the man is worth 11 figures, has a hotline to the current occupant of the White House and is used to getting his way (except at his own high school), and yes, he’s had some unkind things of his own to say about Cooperman and his hedge fund brethren, and some vaguely threatening things to say about Warren’s plans to tax him more, but he just can’t stand to see his beloved industry decried for making money by levering portfolio companies to the hilt. So much so that he took some time out from Blackstone Group’s earning call to whine about it.
“We are incredibly proud of…the vital role we play in society,” Mr. Schwarzman said. “For example, the very strong returns we generate, particularly in the current low-interest-rate environment, enable teachers, police officers, firemen and other public and corporate-sector employees to retire with sufficient savings and secure pensions….” He said Blackstone’s portfolio companies have added over 100,000 net jobs during its ownership over the past 15 years. Of the over 700 control investments the firm has made during that period, there has been only one bankruptcy filing and no liquidations, he said.
Sounds like someone might be a little worried about President Warren. Oh, and not that he really thinks anyone should be all that interested in such mundane details any more than they should be in the details about how Blackstone does business, but its profit was incidentally up 76% in the third quarter and its assets 21% to $554 billion on quarterly returns of, uh, 2.6%.