GSO’s assets inch up to a record $75bn

 Seventy-five percent of the capital deployed during the first quarter by Blackstone’s credit group went to Europe.  

Assets under management at GSO Capital Partners, the Blackstone-owned credit manager, rose to $75 billion at the end of the first quarter, compared to $72.86 billion at the end of 2014 and $66 billion in the first quarter of 2014, representing 14 percent growth year-over-year.

The credit group deployed $990 million of capital during the first quarter in its drawdown funds, while returning $447 million in proceeds to limited partners, according to Blackstone’s first quarter earnings presentation. “75% of the capital deployed in the first quarter was deployed in Europe, reflecting strong private debt market opportunities,” said the release.

 Tony James, president and chief operating officer at Blackstone, said on the firm’s earnings call that some of the growth came from fundraising in the European direct lending strategy, as well as the energy-focused vehicles that GSO is collecting money for.

Blackstone also recently agreed to buy $26.5 billion worth of GE Capital’s real estate assets and could potentially look at other parts of GE Capital, which is in the process of being sold in pieces, as PDI previously reported. “With GE Capital, we’re going through the reorganization and I think there will be some very interesting opportunities for its cohort for GSO and so we’re getting geared up to focus on that and see what we can make of it,” James said.

GSO also had fee revenues rise by 17 percent year-over-year, and launched three new CLOs during the first quarter. Its mezzanine strategies retuned 2.7 percent in the quarter, while its rescue lending funds were slightly down: at 0.6 percent for the quarter (gross).

Overall, Blackstone raised $30 billion in new capital in the first quarter, putting its assets under management at over $310 billion. The firm also declared a largest quarterly distribution to date at $0.89 per share.