Blackstone says the worst is over for private equity industry

BUY-OUT giant Blackstone is set to list up to eight of its companies and sell five more, as the firm sees the fog lifting for private equity firms.<br /><br />Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman wrote to investors on Friday, predicting that the world is &ldquo;changing once again&rdquo; and that, for the private equity industry, &ldquo;the worst is behind us&rdquo;.<br /><br />The change in stance will be seen as highly significant as Blackstone is credited with being the only buy-out firm to predict the severity of the economic crisis, and for reining in investment in time to avoid huge losses when the downturn hit.<br /><br />Schwarzman said that the five companies were being sold at double their estimated values at the end of 2008, meaning that investors could receive around $2.8bn (&pound;1.8bn).