Blackstone eyes deals in Germany, Switzerland, Austria

The private equity firm has hired the CEO of a former German portfolio company to oversee deals in the region.

The Blackstone Group has hired Axel Herberg to lead its private equity activities in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Herberg is currently president and chief executive of former Blackstone portfolio company Gerresheimer, a specialty glass and plastic manufacturer catering to the pharmaceutical industry. He is scheduled to join Blackstone in the fall and will be based in Dusseldorf, according to a statement.

Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone chairman and CEO, said Blackstone worked with Herberg “very closely while we were invested in Gerresheimer. His success in adding value and creating operational improvements at Gerresheimer fits perfectly with the Blackstone private equity model.”

Blackstone acquired Gerresheimer in 2005 from JPMorgan Partners and Investcorp for an undisclosed sum. It took the company public in 2007 and exited its last remaining shares, equivalent to a 25 percent stake, for €241.8 million via sales to institutional investors.

Blackstone previously had a non-executive senior managing director in Germany, Hanns Ostmeier, who stepped down in 2007 to chair the German Venture Capital Association’s mega-buyout platform. Ostmeier had joined Blackstone in September 2003 when the firm opened an office in Hamburg. In 2005, the firm closed the office and consolidated its European deal-making infrastructure at its London headquarters, with Ostmeier continuing as spokesperson for the firm in Germany.