Blackstone's chief exec Stephen Schwarzman has done pretty well too. Private equity's apologists like to ham up the fact that he ‘only' earnt $398m last year. Although that's seven times the earnings of the head of Goldman Sachs, we're told this is still pennies compared to the takings of the hedge fund bosses. But before we break out the violins, we should mention he's going to get some $450m from the IPO and still retain a stake worth a whopping $7.7bn.
It's no surprise that private equity groups have always doggedly guarded their privacy. Now the public knows that Schwarzman and Peterson billed the company $158,500 last year for the use of a private helicopter. This begs the question - how long can such excesses continue? Are we soon to witness the last days of Rome? As the forces of government, trade union and the public mass against them, the private equity fat-cats may have to stop gorging on grapes for a second and enter a brutal conflagration.