Saudi-backed Blackstone Infrastructure Seeks Minority Stake In Carrix

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Blackstone’s fund was established under an agreement calling for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to commit up to $20 billion based on matching outside investor commitments.

(Bloomberg) --Blackstone Infrastructure Partners is in talks to buy a minority stake in Carrix, the operator of ports and rail yards in more than 250 locations around the globe.

The infrastructure fund, unveiled by Blackstone Group in 2017 after an unprecedented fundraising pledge by Saudi Arabia, is in talks to buy a non-controlling stake in Carrix.

Carrix is the closely-held parent company of Seattle-based port operator SSA Marine. The value of the stake could not immediately be learned.

Carrix’s ownership has changed repeatedly in recent years. It’s controlled by the founding Smith and Hemingway families, who in 2014 bought back a stake that had been held by Goldman Sachs Group’s Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners and others since 2007.

Later, Mexico’s Fernando Chico Pardo bought 49 per cent of FRS Capital Corporation, which owns Carrix.

Blackstone’s fund amassed about $7 billion by the end of 2018, the company co-founder Stephen Schwarzman said on an earnings call in January. that is up from the $5 billion it has raised at the end of June, indicating the fund had added roughly $1 billion of external capital during the year’s second half.

The infrastructure fund has significant firepower to pursue large, unique transactions, Schwarzman said in January. After agreeing that month to take control of Tallgrass Energy, it expected to announce a transportation deal in a few months, added Schwarzman.

Schawarzan, said, “Together, these two investments should provide additional momentum for a business we believe will ultimately become one of the largest infrastructure platforms in the world,” he said at the time. It’s unclear whether he might have been referring to a potential investment in Carrix.