- Private-equity giants Blackstone and Apollo released their holiday-themed videos on Thursday.
- Blackstone’s video features top executives dancing and CEO Steve Schwarzman in a Santa hat.
- In Apollo’s, employees are chefs and cook up a holiday meal for the firm at the CEO’s request.
Junior staffers sleep in designated analyst quarters, where they’re woken up by a drill sergeant.
“It’s Sunday, so we like to let them start a little later,” a smiling employee explains as the clock turns to 6:05 a.m. A row of suited-up analysts stand in a row as the employee adds: “Oh, and we’re business casual now!”
Elsewhere, an economist offers a vague view of the situation as he looks at his colleagues scrambling to cook a meal in a kitchen: “It’s very difficult to see what’s going to happen.”
So it goes in the world of private-equity firms’ holiday videos, where straight-laced investors and billionaire chief executives get very into their starring roles and the jokes are a little on the nose.
On Thursday the private-equity giants Apollo and Blackstone each released their holiday-themed videos within a few hours of each other — fictional, promotional mini-films trying to show viewers that even buyout firms want to spread some holiday cheer.
In Apollo’s video, CEO Marc Rowan comes up with the idea that employees should cook the company a holiday meal, so he sends co-presidents Jim Zelter and Scott Kleinman an email with the subject line: “GUYS. I HAVE A GREAT IDEA :). Let’s chat!!”
Employees get cooking. “Not everyone has the same needs. This meal needs to be designed accordingly,” Apollo’s chief client and product development officer, Stephanie Drescher, said in the kitchen wearing a chef’s hat. Her colleague chimes in: “Let’s just syndicate it.”
“Well first, we need a model. We need to predict what we think will happen, and that requires that all the ingredients need to be lined up,” Apollo’s chief economist, Torsten Slok, explains as people slice and sauté.
Blackstone’s video focuses on answering the question: “What is Blackstone’s secret?”
Jon Gray, the firm’s president, becomes obsessed with finding what the company’s secret sauce is. He rushes to a colleague’s office, where she’s meditating using Headspace (yes, a Blackstone portfolio company), and urges her and others to join him in the conference room. “Does anyone know we got here?” he asks once they gather.
“The 6 train?” says Joan Solotar, global head of private wealth solutions.
“No. The secret thing that makes Blackstone, Blackstone,” he responds. Executives spend the next few scenes making suggestions about what makes the company unique. Is it the alphabet soup of acronyms the company uses? Is it the company’s TikTok channel? Portfolio companies Spanx, Crown Resorts, and Supergoop make cameos.
Finally, as he puts on a Santa hat, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman says the secret is the great people they hire.
It’s that, he says, and what’s hidden in the basement. Byron Wien, the longtime investor and vice chairman of the firm’s private wealth solutions group, sits wearing a cloak in a mysterious room. He looks up and hands two employees a mysterious scroll and says: “Invest wisely.”