Blackstone's Billions

He plans to structure the company to leave control in the hands of its partners, not the new investors that will be buying shares when the stock debuts.

Some of Blackstone's worker bees -- the people who punch the clock there but are not considered senior directors -- will all get shares of the IPO. The senior directors also plan to start a charitable foundation with about $150 million in stock at the debut.

The filing has raised speculation that this might be the future for private equity firms, many confronted with a contraction in global stock markets that could stymie funding. Already, rival Fortress Investment Group LLC raised $643.3 million when it became the first private equity or hedge fund to go public.

Private equity funds, which used to be known in the industry as leveraged buyout firms, use cash raised from investors and from its own coffers to buy companies. The last few years have seen many of these firms band together to take over companies on a scale never imagined before, including Harrah's Entertainment Inc., energy company TXU Group Inc. and lawn-care company ServiceMaster Co.

The next step for private equity firms is to profit by taking these companies public again within five years after the initial deal.

Blackstone has a varied portfolio of companies that includes Madame Tussaud's waxwork museums in New York and London. It took German chemical company Celanese Corp. private, and then relisted it on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005.

The most recent coup for the firm was February's $23 billion acquisition of Equity Office Properties, which is the largest office landlord in the United States. The purchase was the largest private equity deal on record.

The buyout firms have prospered in an era of cheap money. The $144.7 billion of private-equity deals and management buyouts announced this year is ahead of 2006's record pace by 14 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Blackstone also said in the filing that there would be no severance arrangement, or golden parachute, given to Schwarzman as part of the plan to take the company public. He will receive no compensation other than a $350,000 per year salary.

Schwarzman is said to be the largest single shareholder of the company, but there are plenty of other major shareholders, some of which average Americans might have some part of. The filing shows pensions for public employees have contributed about 49 percent of the total funds that Blackstone manages. Corporate pensions, insurance companies and other individuals are also major investors in the private equity firm.

Schwarzman could not be reached for comment.

Morgan Stanley Inc., Citigroup Inc., Merrill Lynch & Co., Credit Suisse Group, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank Securities are listed as underwriters for the offering.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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