Private equity had a rough 2009 with few deals driven by a lack of liquidity. But with global markets recovering and financial institutions beginning to open the spigot of lending, private equity is looking for big opportunities in 2010. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Blackstone Group Chairman and CEO Steve Schwarzman painted the picture of the landscape for his industry and where the next possible deals will be found.Bartiromo: Three-hundred thirty one funds raised $96 billion which was down about 68%. How would you characterize fundraising right now?
Steve Schwarzman: Well, I think it's normal for fundraising to be more difficult given the kind of very significant losses in the liquid securities markets, pension funds and the endowments and the foundations. But the private equity business is really turning around. The value of companies has gone up as the economy has turned around. I think people are looking forward to a really interesting time to be buying assets. So I think a time for pessimism in that asset class has passed.
Bartiromo: Where are the opportunities in terms of assets and sectors?
Steve Schwarzman: We first start looking geographically as to where it's interesting to invest money. The two principle areas now in North America and in Asia. So both of those areas present a lot of very interesting opportunities. The Indian growth story is really very strong. China, of course, is really sort of on fire. Now it's strong but it's got a lot of stimulus that's creating that strength. But the people are very aggressive, and it's clear that the leadership of the country is going to try and keep that growth rate at least in the eight to ten percent area.