Equity Firm Chairman: I Pick Romney

Wednesday, 30 Nov 2011 12:49 PM

 

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Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of the world’s largest private-equity firm, endorsed Mitt Romney for president today, citing his firm’s first investment in 1985 when Romney helped Blackstone Group LP earn “16 times profit.”

“In finance that’s a way to make friends,” Schwarzman, the firm’s co-founder and a longtime Republican donor, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “In terms of being good for the country, he’s very smart, he’s great in a crisis, he’s direct and he can deal with problems as they actually occur.”

“He’s a natural leader and he’s accessible, and he listens to what you say,” he said.

Schwarzman will host a fundraiser for Romney at his Park Avenue apartment on Dec. 14, the same day that four JPMorgan Chase & Co. executives will also raise money for the former head of the private equity firm Bain Capital LLC and one-term Massachusetts governor.

“This is a personal choice, and from a corporate perspective, we have a lot of Democrats at the firm,” Schwarzman said.

“When we started Blackstone in 1985, the first investment we did in private equity was a joint deal with Mitt Romney at Bain,” he said. “This turned out to be a marvelously successful deal” with a company making aluminum wheels. The business “expanded very rapidly. We made about 16 times profit.”

“The second deal we did,” he said, “we ended up making 24 times our money.”


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