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BlackRock adds direct private equity to alternatives enterprise

BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) has added private equity to its growing stable of alternative offerings for clients. Industry veterans Nathan Thorne, George Bitar and Mandy Puri have joined the firm as Managing Directors and form the leadership team of the BlackRock Global Private Equity platform which is expected to include approximately 20 professionals within the next year.

In this capacity, Messrs. Thorne, Bitar and Ms. Puri will oversee the build-out and ensure the connectedness of private equity to BlackRock’s global investment platform, comprised of more than 1,500 investment professionals that will provide the team with insights into industry dynamics, companies and management teams. They will report to Matthew Botein, Managing Director and Head of BlackRock Alternative Investors (BAI). At March 31, BAI represented USD115.3 billion of assets under management and included the firm’s hedge funds, hedge funds of funds, real estate, private equity funds of funds, opportunistic investment vehicles, commodities and currencies.

“With the addition of these private equity capabilities, alongside our private equity funds of funds and co-investment funds under the capable management of Russ Steenberg, we now have a complete set of private equity capabilities to offer to our clients,” says Botein.

“We’re delighted to be bringing a proven private equity investment team to BAI,” says Robert S Kapito, President of BlackRock. “As Matt and his team have worked to round-out our alternative offerings, we recognised that this particular business was the most important gap in the alternatives portfolio and one in which we have a clear competitive advantage.”

Botein says: “BlackRock looked at a great number of opportunities as we sought a leadership team that could substantially accelerate our entry into this business, with a focus on identifying a team with a proven record of disciplined private equity investing. Equally important, however, we needed a team that knew how to navigate and leverage the sourcing, diligence and financing advantages presented by being a part of a financial institution with the global footprint and operational scale of BlackRock. We found that in this team. Their depth of experience and deep understanding of private equity – investing successfully in developed and emerging markets through various economic cycles and market disruptions – will expedite our ability to offer clients best-in-class capabilities.”

Thorne, Bitar and Puri began working together at Merrill Lynch in 1990 and went on to found Merrill Lynch”s private equity business in 1994 where they remained until 2009 under Bank of America Corporation. Examples of notable private equity investments in which the team was involved include HCA, Debenhams and Hertz.

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