Riyadh – Mubasher: The US-based Blackstone Group LP has revealed that it is on the verge of completing raising $5 billion to launch its inaugural infrastructure fund in Saudi Arabia in collaboration with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The fundraising is projected to be finished this week, marking the largest initial close for a first-time fund across any alternative investment strategy following SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund and the China Structural Reform Fund, according to data provider Preqin.

Initial discussions of the scheduled $40 billion fund, named Blackstone Infrastructure Partners, started in May on the sidelines of US President Donald Trump’s visit to the GCC nation. A group of businesspeople had accompanied Trump during his visit, including Blackstone’s chairman and CEO Stephen Schwarzman.

It is worth noting that the PIF had previously pledged “$20 billion, on the condition that every dollar would be matched against commitments from other investors,” Bloomberg News reported.

However, experts said that the PIF’s strong presence in Blackstone's fresh fund may weigh on the Saudi sovereign wealth fund when it competes for investments that require support from local, state or federal officials.

The US company didn't unveil whether it was planning to raise the matching commitments in one fell swoop. In February, Blackstone’s then-president, Tony James, told reporters that the $40 billion would be gathered “over the next decade or so.”

“The fund, which intends to allow its investors to contribute additional cash into certain large deals, is yet to put any of its capital to work but has been actively pursuing opportunities including a stake in APM Terminals,” the New York-based news agency further noted.

The US private equity giant has also another fund named Blackstone Property Partners. It has managed a $1.4 billion portfolio since March 2014 and has grown to $27.2 billion last March.

Source: Mubasher

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