When a fleet of limousines dropped off financiers, politicians and celebrities at Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman’s elaborate 60th birthday party in 2007, few knew that the gold rush was about to end. Blackstone had just completed its $39bn (£27bn) purchase of Equity Office Properties, at the time the biggest private-equity buyout in history, and was on the cusp of buying Hilton Hotels for $26bn. It was the eve of the financial crisis and as guests tucked into their lobster while listening to Rod Stewart, they had no idea how bad things were going to get.
Senior private equity executives are hoping the good times are about to return. Private equity giants are closing in on a £2.6bn…
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