Blackstone Group LP is still open to doing deals and investments in Italy despite political crisis in the eurozone country, Italy.

Jon Gray, Blackstone president, said the crisis in Italy may spur investment opportunities, but it could lead to slower growth and more volatility in Europe.

“Italy trades off, a bunch of things trade off, and that could create a bunch of opportunity,” Gray said at Deutsche Bank’s Global Financial Services Conference in New York on Wednesday.

Italy Deals, Brexit & EU


At the conference, Gray was also asked if the company would buy Italian assets right now. He said it was sure they would as it was a “function of price”.

“If you look back after Brexit, in our real estate business, we bought a couple of hundred millions of pounds of warehouses. It was literally 10 days after Brexit. We tend to focus more on long-term value than short-term market movements,” said Gray.

He also said the broader issue is the challenge facing the European Union.

“Stepping back and looking at Europe you’d say the setup of a monetary union without a fiscal union is hard,” he said.

He continued that it would only lead to volatility along the way and that creates more of a risk premium for investing in Europe, slowing the rate of growth.

Moreover, it is unlikely that Italy will exit the European Union as he said the Europeans have a huge incentive not to break apart.

“And even in Italy, if you polled the population, they do want to stay in the Euro. I think Europe will find a way to hold it together albeit with slower growth and more volatility.

Blackstone Assets

Blackstone, with $449.6 billion of assets under management, continues to consider switching over from a partnership to a corporation after peers KKR & Co LP and Ares Management said they would convert this year.

“We’re going to watch it, see what markets do, see how these companies trade, think about it ourselves,” Gray said. “When we think it’s the right time, we’ll make that decision.” 

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