First Round: Back to the future?

As First Round does the rounds (sorry) on the private equity industry party circuit, it often hears whispers that it’s all starting to feel a bit, well, 2007.

One need only glance at the headlines from the last month (SoftBank’s $100 billion tech fund about to close, Blackstone’s $100 billion-plus of dry powder, Carlyle’s record level of investments – First Round could go on…) to see where the mutterers are coming from. Next thing you know, we’ll all be back on the BlackBerrys again (don’t you miss BBM?) and voting for Jordin Sparks to win American Idol.

As if to mark the occasion, industry titan – and President Trump’s new business mastermind – Stephen Schwarzman has thrown another jaw-dropping, star-studded, gravity-defying birthday bash.

According to Bloomberg, this time Schwarzman eschewed the chilly Manhattan streets in favour of the so-called American Riviera, inviting guests to his Mediterranean-style home in Palm Beach, Florida, (just down the road from President Trump’s ‘Winter White House’) for an evening of Asian theatrics, complete with trapeze artists, Mongolian soldiers and a pair of camels.

The high-society retro-classics of lobster, filet mignon and baked Alaska were switched for short ribs and a giant birthday cake shaped like a Chinese temple. Gwen Stefani sang Happy Birthday at midnight. There was a gondolier in the pool.

But the most fascinating nugget that Bloomberg revealed was that among the Hollywood – and Washington – glitterati, fellow giants of the private equity industry Henry Kravis, David Rubenstein and Howard Marks also “paid respects”. Guess the big guns gotta stick together.