China wealth fund ups Blackstone stake

Oct. 18, 2008 at 9:04 AM

BEIJING, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- China's state-owned sovereign wealth fund has raised its stake in the U.S. investment group Blackstone LP to more than 10 percent, sources say.

The $200 billion fund, China Investment Corp., paid $3 billion to acquire 9.99 percent of Blackstone's shares before its June 2007 initial public offering and now has decided to embark on an agreement to eventually raise its Blackstone stake to 12.5 percent, Xinhua, the state-owned Chinese news agency, reported Saturday.

"The investment exceeds 10 percent," an unnamed CIC source was quoted by China Daily as saying, but it wasn't revealed when the sovereign wealth fund would reach the 12.5 percent limit.

Unlike many private equity firms, Blackstone's assets and liquidity have remained sound during the global financial crisis, but its share price has nevertheless declined from $31 last year to $9. Analysts told Xinhua CIC's buy appeared to be a long-term investment rather than a bailout.

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