Blackstone may float on Friday(2)

Morgan Stanley has reportedly revealed Blackstone’s IPO pricing will be brought forward to Thursday and the units may go on sale as soon as Friday.

US buyout firm The Blackstone Group has moved its IPO forward by a few days and may be registered on the New York Stock Exchange by Friday, according to Morgan Stanley.

Morgan Stanley, a lead underwriter on the IPO, said Blackstone’s listing would take place on Thursday meaning trading could begin on Friday, in conversation with UK newspaper Financial Times.

Blackstone predicted in its filing with the US regulator SEC the units would go on offer at between $29 (€21.6) to $31 each, raising nearly $7.8 billion, including the $3 billion stake acquired in the company by the Chinese government as part of the float.

Blackstone’s IPO has generated political heat. Last week a bill was introduced by US Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus and ranking member Chuck Grassley proposing an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which was created to crack down on publicly traded partnerships that avoided corporate taxes.

The bill would prevent investment advisors from claiming an exception to the 1986 amendment, as Blackstone has done for its upcoming IPO.

According to the bill, because Blackstone has already registered with the SEC to go public, the proposed rule would not apply to the firm until 2012. But the amendment will damage the plans of any private equity firm or hedge fund hoping to list itself as a partnership on a US market – the bill applies to all public partnerships that were not already trading or in registration before today.

Despite the fact Blackstone and other listed companies will avoid tax problems until this date, listed private equity firm Fortress Investment Group suffered a share price drop of 7 percent last week, in one day as shareholders reacted to the proposed amendment.

After the dip Fortress’ share price has stabilised slightly, rising 3.56 percent yesterday to $24.5, but it is still down 5.46 percent on last month.