Blackstone’s net income fell during the fourth quarter, and the investing giant’s assets under management came in shy of the $1tn target it expected to reach in 2022 as fundraising weakened in some of its strategies aimed at individual investors.
The New York investment firm reported net income of $557.9m, or 75 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.4bn, or $1.92 a share, during the same period a year earlier.
A drop in the value of Blackstone’s real estate investments contributed to the profit decline. Valuations fell by 2% and 1.5% from the previous quarter for its two main strategies.
Blackstone’s assets under management rose to $974.7bn, up from $950.9bn in the prior quarter and $880.9bn a year earlier. The firm raised $43.1bn in the quarter and $226bn for the full year.
That wasn’t enough to push Blackstone past its goal set in 2018 of reaching $1tn in assets by 2026, which it had since said it expected to reach in 2022.
Breit, Blackstone’s nontraded real-estate investment trust aimed at individual investors, posted a return of 8.4% in 2022. Yet the vehicle experienced an uptick in requests from investors to sell shares in the fourth quarter. That caused Blackstone to limit redemptions and led to a big drop in its stock. The shares have since recovered much of that ground.
READ Why Blackstone’s BREIT is a cautionary tale for private funds
Breit and Blackstone’s nontraded business-development company, Bcred, have been big drivers of its asset and fee growth in recent quarters as the portfolios of institutions such as pension funds and sovereign wealth funds become saturated with private assets.
On 3 January, Breit struck a deal with UC Investments, the entity that manages the endowment for the University of California system. Under the agreement, UC Investments said it would put $4bn into Breit and hold the shares for six years. Blackstone is contributing $1bn of its own Breit shares to the venture, effectively backstopping UC’s returns until its commitment is exhausted.
On 25 January, UC Investments said it was committing another $500m to Breit under the same terms.
“We’re north of $14bn of liquidity, and that makes us feel pretty good, not only to help meet investor requests but also for potential deployment,” Blackstone president Jonathan Gray told The Wall Street Journal.
Blackstone reported comparable cash flows were up 13% across Breit’s portfolio in 2022, and Gray said the tone of Blackstone’s conversations with financial advisers had improved in recent weeks.
The firm said the value of its corporate private equity portfolio climbed by 3.8% in the quarter. That compares with a gain of more than 7% for the S&P 500.
Blackstone’s private credit portfolio, which is nearly all floating-rate debt, appreciated by 2.4% in the quarter as interest rates rose. Blackstone’s hedge-fund investments climbed by 2.1%.
Distributable earnings, or cash that could be handed back to shareholders, came in at $1.3bn, or $1.07 a share, compared with $2.3bn, or $1.71 a share, a year earlier, as the firm sold off fewer assets.
Earlier this month, Blackstone said it finished raising a $25bn fund dedicated to secondaries, a type of transaction in which the fund buys interests in other private equity funds from existing investors.
Perpetual capital assets under management climbed by 18% to $371bn.
Blackstone in October struck a deal to buy a majority stake in the climate technologies business of Emerson Electric in a deal that valued the unit at $14bn.
Write to Miriam Gottfried at Miriam.Gottfried@wsj.com
This article was published by The Wall Street Journal, a fellow Dow Jones Group brand