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Blackstone group merger Print E-mail
Tuesday, 18 September 2007

There were probably a few chuckles on Wall Street this week when Blackstone Group, the giant private equity firm led by Stephen Schwarzman, announced that it was investing $600 million in a Chinese company called BlueStar.

BlueStar is a subsidiary of state-owned China National Chemical Corporation. Nothing funny there. But for movie buffs, and especially those in the financial industry, the name Blue Star has an amusing backstory: It was the fictional airline at the center of an insider-trading scheme executed by Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie “Wall Street.”

Fairly or not, Mr. Schwarzman has been compared more than once to Mr. Gekko, a hard-driving corporate raider who prized profit above all else. Kurt Andersen, the columnist for New York magazine, described Mr. Schwarzman in July as “a tiny Gordon Gekko without the hair product.”

Played by Michael Douglas, Mr. Gekko quickly became the embodiment of the go-go 1980’s — and the name Blue Star gained a small cultural foothold as well. In an article in Forbes last year, the founders of Blue Star Jets, a private jet service for executives, said the fictional carrier inspired their company’s name.

Greg Newton, writing in his Naked Shorts blog, couldn’t resist using this week’s BlueStar announcement as an excuse to transcribe an expletive-filled scene involving Mr. Gekko and a rapidly tanking Blue Star stock.

Get ready to revisit more Gekko moments. Fox executives recently reached an agreement to make a sequel to “Wall Street.” The plot is still a bit murky, but The New York Times reported that Mr. Gekko is expected to “resume his machinations on a global scale in the hedge-fund era.”

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