FORTUNE -- The Blackstone Group president and chief operating officer Tony James today made his first public comments on a lawsuit alleging that Blackstone (BX) and 10 other private equity firms and banks conspired to keep prices down on take-private buyouts between 2005 and 2008.
In a Q3 earnings call with reporters, James channeled Joe Biden: "The lawsuit is a complete fabrication and a bunch of malarkey."
When pressed to explain his communications with rival private equity executives during deal negotiations, James insisted that nothing untoward had taken place. Instead, he said that vigorous competition needn't lead to animosity, and that there are legitimate business reasons for maintaining cordial relations with other firms.
James also suggested that there could be some political motivation for the suit, based on Mitt Romney's presence in the presidential race. Kind of odd claim, given that the complaint was originally filed in 2007. Maybe he was referring to The New York Times' successful efforts to get the entire amended complaint unsealed...
Overall, Blackstone reported strong third quarter earnings. The alternative asset manager swung to a profit with $0.55 in economic net income per unit, compared to negative $0.34 ENI per unit for Q3 2011.
der management totaled a record $205 billion at the end of September, up 30 percent from a year earlier. Fee-earning assets under management were up 27 percent year on year to a record $169 billion. Assets under management climbed to a firm record $205 billion, up 30% from the year-earlier period.
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In attacking private equity, timing was everything.
FORTUNE -- On May 14, President Obama attended a fundraiser at the Park Avenue home of Tony James, president of private equity firm The Blackstone Group (BX). It came just hours after the Obama campaign had released a new TV ad that referred to Mitt Romney's actions at Bain Capital as "vampire capitalism."
The juxtaposition was just downright weird.
So while in Charlotte last week for the Democratic MOREDan Primack - Sep 12, 2012 2:42 PM ET
Obama raises money from private equity, hours after bashing the industry.
FORTUNE -- At a Democratic Party fundraiser, I guess it's inappropriate to mention the elephant in the room.
President Obama last night spent time at the Park Avenue apartment of Blackstone Group (BX) president Tony James, to press the Wall Street flesh and collect $35,800 per plate. It came just hours after his campaign launched its first formal attack on Mitt MOREDan Primack - May 15, 2012 12:15 PM ET
Is private equity off limits in November?
FORTUNE -- Blackstone Group (BX) president Tony James held court with the media this morning, prior to his firm's quarterly earnings call with analysts. One of the questions touched on presidential politics, and if James believes Mitt Romney's expected nomination will result in further attacks against the private equity industry. His reply, in part:
"There were some pretty bad hits to the industry. I thought the MOREDan Primack - Apr 19, 2012 11:07 AM ET
The private equity giant has soared by obsessing about danger - and by becoming more than a one-man show.
FORTUNE -- The last time Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman was featured in the pages of Fortune, it was March 2007, and private equity firms were reveling in their moment of maximum glory. A frenzy of buying and bidding was pushing takeover deals into the tens of billions. Blackstone's founders, Schwarzman and Pete Peterson, MOREKatie Benner - Dec 20, 2011 5:00 AM ET
This past summer I wrote that Mitt Romney represented a dilemma for private equity:
He is a former buyout baron who generally supports policies that are in the industry's best interests. At the same time, however, his very presence in a general election would foist a great deal of scrutiny not only on his own record at Bain Capital, but on private equity as a whole. And, like with any financial MOREDan Primack - Sep 27, 2011 4:52 PM ET
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