Blackstone Group have arguably been at the center of inflating the new echo bubble in real estate by bidding (all cash) for property across the US. So it is somewhat ironic that just two months after we noted that "the smartest money is selling," the head of Blackstone's Private Equity Group had the following words for an audience at a Dow Jones Equity conference in New York:
"We are in the middle of an epic credit bubble, in my opinion, the likes of which I haven’t seen in my career in private equity."
Joseph Baratta had plenty more to say including "the good times are not going to last forever," and "we are not leveraging US GDP," as he expects a 'mean reversion' in multiples and "that largesse goes to the seller."
The U.S. is "in the middle of an epic credit bubble," according to Blackstone Group's global head of private equity, Joseph Baratta , and that bubble is affecting how one of the world's largest private equity firm's invests its billions.
The firm has slowed its investments amid such concerns, with Mr. Baratta saying he sees easy credit as adding risk for buyers of companies, even if it benefits sellers. "That largesse goes to the seller," Mr. Baratta said, speaking at the Private Equity Analyst conference in New York.
The firm is still bullish on prospects in the U.S. economy, but focused on certain investment areas. Energy, transport infrastructure, consumer finance and housing and construction remain attractive investment theses, Mr. Baratta said.
"We are not leveraging U.S. GDP," he said, because the good times are not going to last forever. The firm expects what Mr. Baratta called a "mean reversion," which he said will ultimately affect exit multiples at portfolio companies.
"The single biggest assumption we make is the multiple we can sell [a company] at five years hence," said Mr. Baratta, and right now those projections do not seem to warrant a lot of deal activity.