Blackstone to Open Mumbai Office

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2005--The Blackstone Group today announced that Akhil Gupta has joined the firm's Private Equity Group as a Senior Managing Director to head up a new initiative in India. Mr. Gupta will be based in Mumbai and will serve as Chairman, Blackstone India. Although his primary role will be to source and manage private equity transactions in India, he will also provide support for Blackstone's other businesses including real estate.

Mr. Gupta joined Hindustan Lever after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. After a distinguished career at Hindustan Lever, Mr. Gupta left to pursue an MBA at Stanford University which he obtained in 1981. He spent the next twelve years in the U.S., the first six with consultants Strategic Planning Associates and ICF in Washington D.C. and the following six as a principal undertaking leveraged buyouts and in several senior executive roles within buyout companies. In 1992 he returned to India to join Reliance, India's largest private sector corporation, and subsequently served as CEO for Corporate Development for Reliance Industries and Reliance Infocomm. At Reliance, his efforts were focused on developing Reliance's Oil and Gas, Refining, and Telecom businesses.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group, said: "We are indeed fortunate to have someone of Akhil's stature and depth of experience leading our initiative in India. We believe that India has enormous potential and that foreign direct investment can play a significant role in supporting the country's economic growth. For our part we have allocated up to $1 billion for investment in India and will, in due course, be raising a dedicated fund for long-term continued investment in the region."

Akhil Gupta added: "I can think of nothing more exciting than leading Blackstone's entry into India. India is at an inflection point in its history from where it is poised to emerge as a major and dynamic economic power. Blackstone provides me with an excellent platform for attracting increased foreign direct investment into India to help accelerate India's economic growth."

About The Blackstone Group

The Blackstone Group, a private investment and advisory firm with offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston, London, Hamburg, and Paris, was founded in 1985. The firm has raised a total of approximately $32 billion for alternative asset investing since its formation. The Blackstone Group's six core businesses are Private Equity Investing, Private Real Estate Investing, Corporate Debt Investing, Marketable Alternative Asset Management, Corporate Advisory, and Restructuring and Reorganization Advisory. www.blackstone.com

John Ford,