The firm has already made over four-times its initial investment, according to Forbes’ calculations.
The $2.2 billion initial public offering of dating application Bumble on Thursday went off like so many before it. Bumble’s bankers upped its IPO price about 50% from an initial range to meet fierce demand for shares, but it didn’t tame the raging animal spirits of investors bidding up tech stock valuations into the stratosphere. Bumble shares skyrocketed 63% on its first day of trading, making founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, 31, the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire.
Add Wolfe Herd to a long line of new billionaires from Zoom’s Eric Yuan, to Snowflake’s Frank Slootman, Peloton Interactive’s John Foley and C3.ai’s Tom Siebel, who have all seen their fortunes soar due to piping hot IPO markets. However, instead of generating yet another big haul for a handful of Sand Hill Road venture capital firms, it was Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private equity firm, that also hit the jackpot on the IPO.
Just 15-months ago, Blackstone plowed over $2 billion of cash to take control of Bumble’s parent company, MagicLab, at a $3 billion valuation, making an unconventional investment for the $619 billion (assets) mega-firm in a mobile dating application. Blackstone’s initial investment has already returned about $2.3 billion in cash due to dividends and proceeds from Bumble’s offering and the PE firm still sits on shares worth about $4 billion.
For Blackstone’s flagship $18 billion buyout fund, BCP VII, the deal is a home run. All in, the firm has already made over four-times its initial investment, according to Forbes’ calculations. The windfall is mostly housed in the fund, and others like its tactical opportunities and growth funds. But it’s hardly an aberration. Look across Blackstone’s private equity portfolio and the firm seems to be sitting on a gold mine of similar dealmaking coups in companies involving digital payments, cloud software and data.
Blackstone’s massive takeover of Refinitiv from Thompson Reuters recently merged with the London Stock Exchange. Paysafe, an online payments company that is planning to go public in a Spac deal, looks like it will yield a return of about three-times for Blackstone. Ultimate Kronos, a cloud company focused on human resources and managing employees, which Blackstone jointly owns with Hellman & Friedman, is a potential mega-sized tech IPO for Wall Street to expect in coming years. Add it all up and Blackstone may about to start cashing in on a buyout fund that sets a new bar for making money at the firm.