RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Our business news starts with America's biggest public offering in years.
The private equity group Blackstone made its debut on Wall Street this morning. Blackstone's shares rose 15 percent to just under $36 a share. It's the most talked about public offering since Google.
NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY: Blackstone offered more than 130 million shares to the public, but investors would have happily snapped up several times that many. David Menlow, who runs the advisory site ipofinancial.com, says the public was eager for a chance to own a piece of one of the nation's biggest private equity firms. Blackstone has a long track record of turning companies around, then selling them at a profit.
Mr. DAVID MENLOW (President, ipofinancial.com): They've got some very, very smart people working all the right buttons in the machine. This is a very high-demand item.
HORSLEY: But Menlow says the point of today's stock offering is not really sharing the wealth with the public. The biggest paycheck goes to Blackstone's co-founder, Steven Schwarzman. He owns nearly a quarter of the company and is now worth about $8 billion.
Mr. MENLOW: I don't believe that Steve Schwarzman has committed an altruistic act here by trying to think about the good of the general investing public. He's doing what he has to do so things are easier and he makes more money.
HORSLEY: The lucrative stock offering has also drawn scrutiny in Washington. Some lawmakers want to raise the tax rate on private equity firms that go public, although the proposed change would not take effect right away.
Scott Horsley, NPR News.
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