The flotation of Blackstone in June 2007 has already gone down as one of the symbolic events in America’s financial bubble – the end-of-an-era deal when some of Wall Street’s savviest insiders decided to cash out.
Yet the listing of the private equity group could also be the turning point in another chapter of financial history; one that will shape the world that emerges from the current crisis: the moment when China really began to question its deep financial entanglement with the US.
China Investment Corporation, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, had not even begun formally operating when it spent $3bn on a 9.9 per cent stake in the private equity group. With Blackstone’s shares down 84 per cent since flotation, CIC’s new executives have become the target of furious attacks by bloggers who think China was conned. “They are worse than wartime traitors,” says one recent chat-room posting. “Blind worship of the US by so-called ‘experts’,” complains another.