NEW YORK CITY-Rumors of the Blackstone Group’s pending initial public offering began circulating in March, and by the end of that month the firm had filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission for what amounts to a $4.75-billion IPO. Less than two months later and the Blackstone Group LP is quickly moving forward with its plans.

According to a release issued by the company today, Blackstone will close on the IPO at the same time it closes on a $3-billion sale of non-voting shares to a Chinese company. The State Investment Co., a Chinese foreign exchange investment firm, has agreed to pay $3 billion for the non-voting units. The price per share factors out to 95.5% of the public offering price and the State Investment Co. has agreed to hold its shares for at least four years.

The IPO, which is officially being filed by the Blackstone Group LP, is said to be the largest ever in US history, valuing the company at $33.6 billion. According to SEC documents, Blackstone will offer 133.3 million common shares at $29 to $31 each. At this price the proceeds would total between $3.9 billion to $4.1 billion. Based on demand, another 20 million shares could be sold. If those sell the IPO would be worth roughly $4.75 billion. Including the investment by the Chinese firm, Blackstone could make $7.75 billion by selling common units.

Blackstone, which was started in 1985 by Peter Peterson and Stephen Schwarzman, has recently lead the merger and acquisition wave. The firm took the Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust private at the beginning of February. The $39 billion Blackstone paid for EOP initially gave it 580 buildings for a total of 108.6 million sf. The firm then launched into a series of big-ticket property flips, including Maguire’s nearly $3-billion purchase of certain Southern California holdings.

In October 2006, Blackstone, with the help of New York City-based Brookfield Properties Corp., took Trizec Properties Inc. and Trizec Canada Inc. in a $9-billion deal. The buy-out of Trizec added 48 office properties totaling 26 million sf to Blackstone’s and Brookfield’s portfolio.

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