Blackstone-group-logo

The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE: BX) is one of the largest alternative asset management companies and is also a financial services company that specializes in private equity. The company also has manages real estate funds, hedge funds, credit focused funds and closed-end mutual funds.

Earnings for the first quarter came in today at $0.11, compared to analyst estimates of $0.40 cents a share. Revenue was $952 billion, compared to analysts forecasts of $988 billion. The company disappointed but at the time of this writing the stock is only slightly down in the pre market.

The company declared a distribution of $0.10.

Total Assets Under Management increased 27% to $190 billion at March 31, 2012, from $150 billion at March 31, 2011.

The CEO stated

“Blackstone’s first-quarter results demonstrate our ability to generate strong returns for our investors through market cycles and across asset
classes, and attract new capital. Every one of our investing businesses experienced both net capital inflows as well as value appreciation in the quarter. This resulted in total assets under management of $190 billion, a firm record, up an impressive 27% year over year. We continue to invest in the firm’s ability to identify and source exclusive transactions on a global basis, as well as our operations capabilities, to sustain our outperformance over the long-term. And as markets continue to heal, we are well positioned to take advantage of more opportunities to convert value creation to both returns for our limited partners and cash earnings for our public unit holders.”

Last year Blackstone earned $0.51 a share in the first quarter on 1.16 billion in revenue.

Forecasts for earnings have increased in the past few months due to an improving economy, so the bar has been set higher for Blackstone. 90 days ago earnings were forecast for $0.38 a share.

 The company is a good bellwether for the whole private equity industry. It also is  the first major private equity equity company to release earnings. The largest asset manager in the world, with a massive private equity division, BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) reported earnings earlier this week which exceeded expectations. The private equity division disappointed with lower net income this quarter.

Blackstone was founded in 1985 as an M&A firm by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman, Schwarzman is currently the CEO.

Blackstone, currently trading at 14.84 was recently upgraded by CitiGroup, with a price target of $19.00, the same number as Goldman Sachs. Stifel Nicolaus just initiated coverage earlier this week with a price target of $20 for Blackstone.