Chapter 8

Hundreds and Billions

Workers and Owners

The numbers speak for themselves. U.S.-based private-equity firms employ 8.1 million people by one estimate,1 out of a total workforce of roughly 154 million. That’s one in 20 workers, meaning at a cocktail party, kegger, or family reunion, there’s a good chance at least one person ultimately works for private equity.

KKR and Blackstone together, through the companies they own, count more than 1.5 million workers between them, based on data they post on their websites. That makes the firms huge employers on a global scale. Walmart had about 2.2 million employees at the end of 2012, according to Bloomberg data.

To be clear, all of the people who work at Blackstone companies don’t wear Blackstone ...

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