March 24, 2023

DealBook: Blackstone Names Baratta as Global Private Equity Head

Revolving Door
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The Blackstone Group said on Wednesday that it had named Joseph Baratta, one of its senior deal makers, as head of its global private equity operations.

Mr. Baratta, who is based in London and oversees the firm’s European private equity operations, will move to New York in September, Blackstone said in a statement.

The promotion was announced one day before Blackstone is to release its second-quarter earnings. The private equity industry has largely been treading water this year, as uncertain markets and gun-shy corporate boards have made the business of buying and selling companies more difficult. Last quarter, Blackstone’s leveraged buyout arm reported $170.7 million in revenue, down 38 percent from the year-ago period.

While private equity is no longer Blackstone’s biggest business — now it is its enormous real estate arm — it remains the division for which the firm is best known. In the statement that announced Mr. Baratta’s appointment, the asset manager said that its 73 investments and pending deals combined would be the equivalent of the 13th-biggest company by revenue on the Fortune 500 list, with $117 billion in revenue.

Both the firm and its investors are still betting that leveraged buyouts will pick up. Blackstone’s most recent buyout fund closed in January with $16 billion in capital commitments.

Mr. Baratta joined Blackstone in 1998, and in 2001 moved to London to help build the firm’s private equity business for Europe. Among the deals he oversaw include Blackstone’s takeovers of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment and the Merlin Entertainment Group.

“Joe Baratta embodies the best of Blackstone — high integrity, strong investment acumen, a focus on the needs of our limited partners and a great developer of talent,” Hamilton James, the firm’s president, said in a statement. “He has been a key part of the leadership team at Blackstone and I look forward to having him broaden his role within the private equity group.”

Mr. Baratta previously worked for the investment firms Tinicum Incorporated and McCowen De Leeuw Company, as well as at Morgan Stanley in its mergers department. He graduated from Georgetown University.

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