Monday, March 26, 2007

He's Just Not That Into You

Let’s extend a formal welcome to Stephen A. Schwarzman of The Blackstone Group, a newcomer to Proxyland.

Hi, Steve. Slumming? According to several blue-ribbon commissions (here and here and here), Proxyland is nowhere near as nice as Privateland, from whence you hail - where Sarbanes-Oxley is merely a scary story told around the campfire.

Actually, while Steve is crossing the border to hit us up for some cash he's still going to run Blackstone mostly by the rules of Privateland. Best of both worlds. The S-1 he filed late last week says it all:

Listen up, public investors:

1. As you know, here at Blackstone we have gobs of money. But we’d like some more. This is where you come in, though only for a measly 10%.

2. We like you OK but we like the investors in our funds a lot better, so don’t get stars in your eyes, bub.

3. Your voting rights as a common unit holder will be similar to those of a convicted felon trying to participate in a Presidential election in Florida.

4. You find our organizational chart confusing? Don’t worry your pretty little heads about that. Here’s what you need to know: We will do our thing - which if we must say so ourselves we do quite well - and the more we pay ourselves the better your investment will fare. Cool, huh? So just run along and let us handle everything. But remember, our earnings tend to bounce up and down in the short term so don’t go all jelly-legged on us.

5. If you see us giving ourselves huge equity-based awards, you are instructed to go back to watching Grey’s Anatomy and leave us alone. There’s not a damn thing you can do about it anyway. (See #3 above.)

6. Our Starbucks venti-sized cup is about to runneth over so we’re going to use a little of what’s sloshing over the sides ($150 million, to be exact) to start a charitable foundation. You wouldn’t understand, but being this rich is almost embarrassing and also some Senators think we should pay more taxes.

Should I ever bump into Steve I have a conversational ice-breaker prepared because I once worked in the same building where Blackstone is now located: “Nice elevators, huh?” Hope he doesn't ask me about that organizational chart.