Blackstone Group, one of the most successful and largest of private-equity firms, started trading Friday, posting strong early gains, after its IPO priced at the very top end of its range Thursday.
Blackstone and the underwriters, led by Morgan Stanley, set a price of $31 per share, valuing the IPO at more than $4 billion. The stock is trading under the ticker "BX."
Run by CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone has been on a high-profile shopping spree of late, acquiring firms including Equity Office Properties Trust, Freescale Semiconductor and Biomet.
Some suspected a Blackstone IPO was in the works well before its official March announcement, in light of the successful February offering of Fortress Investment Group -- the first hedge fund to go public in the U.S. Indeed, CNBC's David Faber was the first to report Blackstone's plans on March 16.
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