Wednesday Mar 14, 2018
SHANGHAI: China’s sovereign wealth fund has sold its stake in Blackstone Group, the US private equity firm has said, ending a decade-long investment at a time of simmering bilateral trade tension.
Blackstone said in an annual report released earlier this month that China Investment Corp (CIC) had recently unloaded the stake that it first began to acquire in 2007 when China sought lucrative ways to invest its massive foreign exchange reserves.
The investment was executed via a legal entity set up by CIC called Beijing Wonderful Investments.
"As of February 22, 2018, Beijing Wonderful Investments no longer owned any non-voting common units," said the Blackstone report filed two weeks ago.
It gave no further information.
CIC initially paid $3 billion for a nine percent stake in Blackstone in 2007 in one of its first major investments.
A year later it upped its stake to 12.5 percent, Blackstone said at the time.
The investment was shadowed by wild swings over the years in Blackstone’s share price.
It was not immediately clear why CIC, which according to its website now has more than $800 billion in total assets, sold the stake.
No public statement by CIC on the matter has been seen and the fund did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sino-US commercial ties are perennially touchy due largely to a significant trade imbalance in China’s favour and related accusations by Washington that Beijing impedes access to its markets.
Trade relations have come into even sharper focus once again under US President Donald Trump, who frequently calls out China over its trade policies and recently announced US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports that will affect China, among others.