The Blackstone Group
The Blackstone Group L.P. is an American multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services firm based in New York City. As the largest alternative investment firm in the world, Blackstone specializes in private equity, credit and hedge fund investment strategies.
|Master limited partnership|
|Traded as||NYSE: BX|
|Founder||Peter George Peterson|
Stephen A. Schwarzman
|Headquarters||345 Park Avenue,|
|Stephen A. Schwarzman|
(Chairman and CEO)
Jonathan D. Gray
(President and COO)
Hamilton E. James
(Executive Vice Chairman)
|Revenue||US$ 7.119 billion (2017)|
|US$ 4.117 billion (2017)|
|US$ 1.471 billion (2017)|
|AUM||US$ 472 billion:14|
|Total assets||US$ 34.429 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Blackstone's private equity business has been one of the largest investors in leveraged buyouts in the last decade, while its real estate business has actively acquired commercial real estate. Since its inception, Blackstone has invested in such notable companies as Hilton Worldwide, Merlin Entertainments Group, Performance Food Group, EQ Office, Republic Services, AlliedBarton, United Biscuits, Freescale Semiconductor, Vivint, and Travelport.
Blackstone was founded in 1985 as a mergers and acquisitions boutique by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman, who had previously worked together at Lehman Brothers. Since then, Blackstone has become the world's largest private equity investment firm. In 2007, Blackstone became a public company via a $4 billion initial public offering to become one of the first major private equity firms to list shares in its management company on the public stock market. Blackstone is headquartered at 345 Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, with eight additional offices in the United States, as well as offices in London, Paris, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Luxembourg, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Dubai.
As of 2019[update], the company's total assets under management were approximately US$ 470 billion dollars.:14 In April 2019, Blackstone disclosed it was converting to a corporation from a publicly traded partnership.
Founding and early historyEdit
The Blackstone Group was founded in 1985 by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman with $400,000 in seed capital. The founders named their firm "Blackstone", which was a cryptogram derived from the names of the two founders (Schwarzman and Peterson): "Schwarz" is German for "black"; "Peter", or "Petra" in Greek, means "stone" or "rock". The two founders had previously worked together at Lehman Brothers. At Lehman, Schwarzman served as head of Lehman Brothers' global mergers and acquisitions business. Prominent investment banker Roger C. Altman, another Lehman veteran, left his position as a managing director of Lehman Brothers to join Peterson and Schwarzman at Blackstone in 1987, but left in 1992 to join the Clinton Administration as Deputy Treasury Secretary.
Blackstone was originally formed as a mergers and acquisitions advisory boutique. Blackstone advised on the 1987 merger of investment banks E. F. Hutton & Co. and Lehman Brothers, collecting a $3.5 million fee.
From the outset in 1985, Schwarzman and Peterson planned to enter the private equity business, but had difficulty in raising their first fund because neither had ever led a leveraged buyout. Blackstone finalized fundraising for its first private equity fund in the aftermath of the October 1987 stock market crash. After two years of providing strictly advisory services, Blackstone decided to pursue a merchant banking model after its founders determined that many situations required an investment partner rather than just an advisor. The largest investors in the first fund included Prudential Insurance Company, Nikko Securities and the General Motors pension fund.
Blackstone also ventured into other businesses, most notably investment management. In 1987 Blackstone entered into a 50–50 partnership with the founders of BlackRock, Larry Fink and Ralph Schlosstein. The two founders, who had previously run the mortgage-backed securities divisions at First Boston and Lehman Brothers, respectively, initially joined Blackstone to manage an investment fund and provide advice to financial institutions. They also planned to use a Blackstone fund to invest in financial institutions and help build an asset management business specializing in fixed income investments.
As the business grew, Japanese bank Nikko Securities acquired a 20% interest in Blackstone for a $100 million investment in 1988 (valuing the firm at $500 million). Nikko's investment allowed for a major expansion of the firm and its investment activities. The growth firm also recruited politician and investment banker David Stockman from Salomon Brothers in 1988. Stockman led many key deals in his time at the firm, but had a mixed record with his investments. He left Blackstone in 1999 to start his own private equity firm, Heartland Industrial Partners, based in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The firm advised CBS Corporation on its 1988 sale of CBS Records to Sony to form what would become Sony Music Entertainment. In June 1989, Blackstone acquired freight railroad operator, CNW Corporation. That same year, Blackstone partnered with Salomon Brothers to raise $600 million to acquire distressed thrifts in the midst of the savings and loan crisis.
As the 1990s began, Blackstone continued its growth and expansion into new businesses. In 1990, Blackstone launched its fund of hedge funds business, initially intended to manage investments for Blackstone senior management. Also in 1990, Blackstone extended its ambitions to Europe, forming a partnership with J. O. Hambro Magan in the UK and Indosuez in France. In 1991, Blackstone created its Europe unit to enhance the firm's presence internationally.
In 1991, Blackstone launched its real estate investment business with the acquisition of a series of hotel businesses under the leadership of Henry Silverman. In 1990, Blackstone and Silverman acquired a 65% interest in Prime Motor Inn's Ramada and Howard Johnson franchises for $140 million, creating Hospitality Franchise Systems as a holding company. In October 1991, Blackstone and Silverman added Days Inns of America for $250 million. Then, in 1993, Hospitality Franchise Systems acquired Super 8 Motels for $125 million. Silverman would ultimately leave Blackstone to serve as CEO of HFS, which would later become Cendant Corporation.
Blackstone made a number of notable investments in the early and mid-1990s, including Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company (1991), Six Flags (1991), US Radio (1994), Centerplate (1995), MEGA Brands (1996). Also, in 1996, Blackstone partnered with the Loewen Group, the second largest funeral home and cemetery operator in North America, to acquire funeral home and cemetery businesses. The partnership's first acquisition was a $295 million buyout of Prime Succession from GTCR.
Through the mid and late 1990s, Blackstone continued to grow. In 1997, Blackstone completed fundraising for its third private equity fund, with approximately $4 billion of investor commitments and a $1.1 billion real estate investment fund. In the following year, in 1998, Blackstone sold a 7% interest in its management company to AIG, replacing Nikko Securities as its largest investor and valuing Blackstone at $2.1 billion. Then, in 1999, Blackstone launched its mezzanine capital business. Blackstone brought in five professionals, led by Howard Gellis from Nomura Holding America's Leveraged Capital Group to manage the business.
Blackstone's investments in the late 1990s included AMF Group (1996), Haynes International (1997), American Axle (1997), Premcor (1997), CommNet Cellular (1998), Graham Packaging (1998), Centennial Communications (1999), Bresnan Communications (1999), PAETEC Holding Corp. (1999). Haynes and Republic Technologies International, a specialty steel maker in which Blackstone invested in 1996, both had problems and ultimately filed bankruptcy.
Also, in 1997, Blackstone made its first investment in Allied Waste. Two years later, in 1999, Blackstone, together with Apollo Management provided capital for Allied Waste's acquisition of Browning-Ferris Industries in 1999 to create the second largest waste management company in the US. Blackstone's investment in Allied was one of its largest to that point in the firm's history.
Its investments in telecommunications businesses—four cable TV systems in rural areas (TW Fanch 1 and 2, Bresnan Communications and Intermedia Partners IV) and a cell phone operator in the Rocky Mountain states (CommNet Cellular) were among the most successful of the era, generating $1.5 billion of profits for Blackstone's funds.
In July 2002, Blackstone completed fundraising for a $6.45 billion private equity fund, Blackstone Capital Partners IV, the largest private equity fund ever raised to that point. More than $4 billion of the capital was raised by the end of 2001 and Blackstone was able to secure the remaining commitments despite adverse market conditions.
With a significant amount of capital in its new fund, Blackstone was one of a handful of private equity investors capable of completing large transactions in the adverse conditions of the early 2000s recession. At the end of 2002, Blackstone, together with Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital, acquired Houghton Mifflin Company for $1.28 billion. The transaction represented one of the first large club deals, completed since the collapse of the Dot-com bubble.
In 2002, Hamilton E. James joined global alternative asset manager Blackstone, where he currently serves as president and chief operating officer. He also serves on the firm's executive and management committees, and its board of directors. In late 2002, Blackstone remained active acquiring TRW Automotive in a $4.7 billion buyout, the largest private equity deal announced that year (the deal was completed in early 2003). TRW's parent was acquired by Northrop Grumman, while Blackstone purchased its automotive parts business, a major supplier of automotive systems. Blackstone also purchased a majority interest in Columbia House, a music buying club, in mid-2002.
Blackstone made a significant investment in Financial Guaranty Insurance Company (FGIC), a monoline bond insurer alongside PMI Group, The Cypress Group and CIVC Partners. FGIC incurred heavy losses, along with other bond insurers in the 2008 credit crisis.
Two years later, in 2005, Blackstone was one of seven private equity firms involved in the buyout of SunGard in a transaction valued at $11.3 billion. Blackstone's partners in the acquisition were Silver Lake Partners, Bain Capital, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Providence Equity Partners, and TPG Capital. This represented the largest leveraged buyout completed since the takeover of RJR Nabisco at the end of the 1980s leveraged buyout boom. Also, at the time of its announcement, SunGard would be the largest buyout of a technology company in history, a distinction it would cede to the buyout of Freescale Semiconductor. The SunGard transaction is also notable in the number of firms involved in the transaction, the largest club deal completed to that point. The involvement of seven firms in the consortium was criticized by investors in private equity who considered cross-holdings among firms to be generally unattractive.
In 2006, Blackstone launched its long / short equity hedge fund business, Kailix Advisors. According to Blackstone, as of September 30, 2008, Kailix Advisors had $1.9 billion of assets under management. In December 2008, Blackstone announced that Kailix would be spun off to its management team to form a new fund as an independent entity backed by Blackstone.
While Blackstone was active on the corporate investment side, it was also busy pursuing real estate investments. Blackstone acquired Prime Hospitality and Extended Stay America in 2004. Blackstone followed these investments with the acquisition of La Quinta Inns & Suites in 2005. Blackstone's largest transaction, the $26 Billion buyout of Hilton Hotels Corporation occurred in 2007 under the tenure of Hilton CFO Stephen Bollenbach. Extended Stay Hotels was sold to The Lightstone Group in July 2007 and Prime Hospitality's Wellesley Inns were folded into La Quinta. La Quinta Inns & Suites went public in 2014 and is now controlled by La Quinta Holdings as the parent organization.
During the buyout boom of 2006 and 2007, Blackstone completed some of the largest leveraged buyouts. Blackstone's most notable transactions during this period included the following:
|TDC||2005||In December 2005, Blackstone together with a group of firms, including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira, Apax Partners and Providence Equity Partners, acquired Tele-Denmark Communications. The firms acquired the former telecom monopoly in Denmark, under the banner Nordic Telephone Company (NTC) for approximately $11 billion.|||
|EQ Office||2006||Blackstone completed the $37.7 billion acquisition of one of the largest owners of commercial office properties in the US. At the time of its announcement, the EQ Office buyout became the largest in history, surpassing the buyout of Hospital Corporation of America. It would later be surpassed by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts's buyout of TXU. Vornado Realty Trust bid against Blackstone, pushing up the final price.|||
|Freescale Semiconductor||A consortium led by Blackstone and including the Carlyle Group, Permira and the TPG Capital completed the $17.6 billion takeover of the semiconductor company. At the time of its announcement, Freescale would be the largest leveraged buyout of a technology company ever, surpassing the 2005 buyout of SunGard. The buyers were forced to pay an extra $800 million because KKR made a last minute bid as the original deal was about to be signed. Shortly after the deal closed in late 2006, cell phone sales at Motorola Corp., Freescale's former corporate parent and a major customer, began dropping sharply. In addition, in the recession of 2008–2009, Freescale's chip sales to automakers fell off, and the company came under great financial strain.|||
|Michaels||Blackstone, together with Bain Capital, acquired Michaels, the largest arts and crafts retailer in North America in a $6.0 billion leveraged buyout in October 2006. Bain and Blackstone narrowly beat out Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and TPG Capital in an auction for the company.|||
|Nielsen Holdings||Blackstone together with AlpInvest Partners, Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired the global information and media company formerly known as VNU.|||
|Orangina||Blackstone, together with Lion Capital acquired Orangina, the bottler, distributor and franchisor of a number of carbonated and other soft drinks in Europe from Cadbury Schweppes for €1.85 billion|||
|Travelport||Travelport, the parent of the travel web site Orbitz.com, was acquired from Cendant by Blackstone and Technology Crossover Ventures in a deal valued at $4.3 billion. The sale of Travelport followed the spin-offs of Cendant's real estate and hospitality businesses, Realogy Corporation and Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, respectively, in July 2006. (Later in the year, TPG and Silver Lake would acquire Travelport's chief competitor Sabre Holdings.) Soon after the Travelport buyout, Travelport spun off part of its subsidiary Orbitz Worldwide in an IPO and bought a Travelport competitor, Worldspan.|||
|United Biscuits||In October 2006 Blackstone, together with PAI Partners announced the acquisition of the British biscuit producer. The deal was completed in December 2006.|||
|RGIS Inventory Specialists||2007||In March 2007, RGIS announced that Blackstone Group purchased a controlling interest in the company, the terms of the transaction were not disclosed.|||
|Biomet||Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquired Biomet, a medical device manufacturer for $10.9 billion.|||
|Hilton Worldwide||Blackstone acquired the premium hotel operator for approximately $26 billion, representing a 25% premium to Hilton's all-time high stock price. The Hilton deal, announced on July 3, 2007 is often referred to as the deal that marked the "high water mark" and the beginning of the end of the multi-year boom in leveraged buyouts. The company restructured its debt in 2010.|||
Initial public offering in 2007Edit
In 2004, Blackstone had explored the possibility of creating a business development company (BDC), Blackridge Investments, similar to vehicles pursued by Apollo Management. However, Blackstone failed to raise capital through an initial public offering that summer, and the project was shelved. It also planned to raise a fund on the Amsterdam stock exchange in 2006, but its rival, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., launched a $5 billion fund there that soaked up all demand for such funds, and Blackstone abandoned its project.
In 2007, Blackstone acquired Alliant Insurance Services, an insurance brokerage firm. The company was sold to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 2012.
2008 to 2010Edit
During the financial crisis of 2007–2008, Blackstone managed to close only a few transactions. In January 2008, Blackstone made a small co-investment alongside TPG Capital and Apollo Management in their buyout of Harrah's Entertainment, although that transaction had been announced during the buyout boom period. Other notable investments that Blackstone completed in 2008 and 2009 included AlliedBarton, Performance Food Group, Apria Healthcare and CMS Computers.
In July 2008, Blackstone, together with NBC Universal and Bain Capital acquired The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications for $3.5 billion. In 2015, the digital assets were sold to IBM for $2 billion. In 2018, the remainder of the company was sold to Byron Allen for $300 million.
Investments since 2011Edit
- In February 2011, the company acquired Centro Properties Group US from Centro Retail Trust (now Vicinity Centres) for $9.4 billion. The company became Brixmor Property Group and Blackstone sold its remaining interest in the company in August 2016.
- In November 2011, a fund managed by the company acquired medical biller Emdeon for $3 billion.
- In late 2011, Blackstone Group LP acquired Jack Wolfskin, a German camping equipment company. In 2017, the company was handed over to its lenders.
- In August 2012, Blackstone was part of a consortium that financed Knight Capital after a software glitch threatened Knight's ability to continue operations.
- In October 2012, the company acquired G6 Hospitality, operator of Motel 6 & Studio 6 motels from AccorHotels, for $1.9 billion.
- In November 2012, the company acquired a controlling interest in Vivint, Vivint Solar, and 2GIG Technologies. In February 2013, 2GIG was flipped to Nortek Security & Control, LLC for $135M.
- In April 2013, the company discussed buying Dell, but it did not pursue the acquisition.
- In June 2013, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII acquired an industrial portfolio from First Potomac Realty Trust for $241.5 million. Part of this portfolio was developed by StonebridgeCarras as Oakville Triangle (Now "National Landing") 
- In September 2013, Blackstone announced a strategic investment in ThoughtFocus Technologies LLC, an information technology service provider.
- In August 2013, Blackstone acquired Strategic Partners, manager of secondaryfunds, from Credit Suisse.
- In February 2014, Blackstone purchased a 20% stake in the Italian luxury brand Versace for €150 million.
- In April 2014, Blackstone's charitable arm, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, donated $4 million to create the Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network in Colorado. The program encourages increased collaboration among local business leaders with the goal of retaining high-growth companies in the state.
- In May 2014, Blackstone Group acquired the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort from Deutsche Bank for $1.73 billion.
- In August 2014, Blackstone Energy Partners acquired Shell Oil's 50% stake in a shale-gas field in the Haynesville Shale for $1.2 billion.
- In January 2015, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VI announced it would sell a Gold Fields House in Sydney to Dalian Wanda Group for A$415 million.
- In July 2015, Blackstone acquired Excel Trust, a real estate investment trust, for around $2 billion.
- In November 2015, the company agreed to sell facility management firm GCA Services Group to Goldman Sachs and Thomas H. Lee Partners.
- In January 2016, Blackstone Real Estate Partners VIII L.P. acquired BioMed Realty Trust for $8 billion.
- In February 2016, Blackstone sold 4 office buildings to Douglas Emmett for $1.34 billion.
- On January 4, 2017, Blackstone acquired SESAC, a music-rights organization.
- On February 10, 2017, Aon PLC agreed to sell its human resources outsourcing platform for $4.3 billion to Blackstone Group L.P., creating a new company called Alight Solutions.
- On June 19, 2017, Blackstone acquired a majority interest in The Office Group, valuing the company at $640 million.
- In July 2017, the company announced an investment in Leonard Green & Partners.
- In January 2018, the company acquired Pure Industrial, a Canadian real estate investment trust for C$2.5 billion.
- In January 2018, the company announced acquisition agreement for 55% of Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk unit for $20 billion.
- In March 2018, Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc. acquired a 22 million square foot portfolio of industrial properties from Cabot Properties for $1.8 billion.
- In March 2018, Blackstone’s Strategic Capital Holdings Fund invested in Rockpoint Group.
- In March 2018, the company's Strategic Capital Holdings Fund announced an investment in Kohlberg & Company, a private equity firm.
- In September 2018, the company acquires control of Luminor Bank in the Baltic countries.
- In October 2018, Blackstone launched Refinitiv, the company resulting from its January deal for a 55 per-cent stake in Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk business.
- In October 2018, Blackstone announced to buy Clarus. The deal includes assets worth $2.6 billion.
- In March 2019, Blackstone purchased a minority stake in YES Network.
- Private Equity
- Real Estate
- Hedge Fund Solutions
Corporate private equityEdit
As of 2019[update], Blackstone was the world's largest private equity firm by capital commitments as ranked by Private Equity International. The firm invests through minority investments, corporate partnerships, and industry consolidations, and occasionally, start-up investments. The firm focuses on friendly investments in large capitalization companies.
Blackstone has primarily relied on private equity funds, pools of committed capital from pension funds, insurance companies, endowments, fund of funds, high-net-worth individuals, sovereign wealth funds, and other institutional investors. From 1987 to its IPO in 2007, Blackstone invested approximately $20 billion in 109 private equity transactions.
Blackstone's most notable investments include Allied Waste, AlliedBarton Security Services, Graham Packaging, Celanese, Nalco, HealthMarkets, Houghton Mifflin, American Axle, TRW Automotive, Catalent Pharma Solutions, Prime Hospitality, Legoland, Madame Tussauds, Luxury Resorts (LXR), Pinnacle Foods, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Motel 6, Apria Healthcare, Travelport, The Weather Channel (United States) and The PortAventura Resort. In 2009 Blackstone purchased Busch Entertainment (comprising the Sea World Parks, Busch Garden Parks and the two water parks).
In 2012, Blackstone acquired a controlling interest in Utah-based Vivint, Inc., a home automation, security, and energy company.
Blackstone's most notable real estate investments have included EQ Office, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Trizec Properties, Center Parcs UK, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Motel 6, Wyndham Worldwide, Southern Cross Healthcare and Vicinity Centres.
The purchase and subsequent IPO of Southern Cross led to controversy in the UK. Part of the purchase involved splitting the business into a property company, NHP, and nursing home business, which Blackstone claimed would become "the leading company in the elderly care market". In May 2011, Southern Cross, now independent, was almost bankrupt, jeopardising 31,000 elderly residents in 750 care homes. It denied blame, although Blackstone was widely accused in the media for selling on the company with an unsustainable business model and crippled with an impossible sale and leaseback strategy.
Marketable alternative asset managementEdit
In 1990, Blackstone created a fund of hedge funds business to manage internal assets for Blackstone and its senior managers. This business evolved into Blackstone's marketable alternative asset management segment, which was opened to institutional investors. Among the investments included in this segment are funds of hedge funds, mezzanine funds, senior debt vehicles, proprietary hedge funds and closed-end mutual funds.
In March 2008, Blackstone acquired GSO Capital Partners, a credit-oriented alternative asset manager, for $620 million in cash and stock and up to $310 million through an earnout over the next five years based on certain earnings targets. The combined entity created one of the largest credit platforms in the alternative asset management business, with over $21 billion under management. GSO was founded in 2005 by Bennett Goodman, Tripp Smith, and Doug Ostrover. The GSO team had previously managed the leveraged finance businesses at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and later Credit Suisse First Boston, after they acquired DLJ. Blackstone had been an original investor in GSO's funds. Following the acquisition, Blackstone merged GSO's operations with its existing debt investment operations.
- Stephen A. Schwarzman: Chairman, CEO & Co-Founder
- Jonathan D. Gray: President & COO
- Hamilton E. James: Executive Vice Chairman
- J. Tomilson Hill: Vice Chairman & Chairman of the Hedge Fund Solutions group, Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (BAAM)
- Joseph Baratta: Global Head of Private Equity
- David S. Blitzer: Head of Tactical Opportunities
- David L. Calhoun: Head of Private Equity Portfolio Operations
- Kenneth Caplan: Global Co-Head of Real Estate
- Michael S. Chae: CFO
- Bennett J. Goodman: Co-Founder of GSO Capital Partners
- John G. Finley: CLO
- Kathleen McCarthy: Global Co-Head of Real Estate
- Joan Solotar: Head of Private Wealth Solutions & External Relations
Board of DirectorsEdit
- Stephen A. Schwarzman: Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee
- Hamilton E. James: Member of the Executive Committee
- Jonathan D. Gray: Member of the Executive Committee
- J. Tomilson Hill: Member of the Executive Committee
- Bennett J. Goodman: Member of the Executive Committee
- James W. Breyer: Independent Director & Member of the Audit Committee and the Conflicts Committee
- Rochelle B. Lazarus: Independent Director & Member of the Audit Committee and the Conflicts Committee
- Jay O. Light: Independent Director & Member of the Audit Committee and the Conflicts Committee
- The Right Honorable Brian Mulroney: Independent Director
- William G. Parrett: Independent Director & Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Conflicts Committee
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- A Split-Up of Insurers of Bonds Is Considered. New York Times, February 16, 2008
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He served as chief financial officer of Marriott and Walt Disney and chief executive of Hilton Hotels, a post he held from 1996 to 2007, when he sold the company to Blackstone for $26bn. ... He helped craft Marriott’s 1992 split into a hotel management operation and a real estate holding company, as well as Disney’s $19bn deal to buy Capital Cities/ABC in 1995.
- Private-Equity Firm Sees Room for Value in Hotels. Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2005
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