Blackstone Group is a prominent private equity and investment management firm founded in 1985 by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman.
Blackstone started with $400,000 and now manages funds of $88billion. These funds are used to buy companies, take them away from the glare of the stock market and restructure them. The firms are often returned to the public markets by being sold several years later
The company is based in New York City, in River House on Park Avenue at Fifty-first Street, with offices in Atlanta, Boston, London, Hamburg, Paris, Mumbai, and Hong Kong.
Under pressure to reveal the compensation of CEO, Blackstone has declared its chief executive, Stephen Schwarzman, enjoyed personal earnings of $398m last year. When Blackstone goes public, he will receive a windfall of at least $449m and he will retain a stake in the business worth $7.7bn.
Mr Peterson, Blackstone co-founder, took home $212m last year and will get $1.88bn by selling shares on Blackstone's flotation. A third senior executive, Hamilton James, enjoyed annual income of a $97m and stands to receive $147m.
The sheer scale of the wealth amassed by private equity has alarmed the trade unions in Britain. Britain's Trade Union Congress' general secretary, Brendan Barber, last month warned that the rise of a super-rich class in the industry threatened to "fundamentally change" the nature of British and European capitalism.
In the US, the Service Employees' International Union has hit out at the "extraordinary riches" for a handful of individuals at the top of the industry. It says the money should be shared with workers in businesses acquired by private equity who contribute to the industry's huge returns.