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Report: Blackstone Going Public

<I>CNBC</I> says the private equity giant will file for an IPO in the next few weeks.

Private-equity giant Blackstone Group is set to go public, according to a report on



The firm is expected to file for an initial public offering within the next few weeks, the news channel said.

Blackstone is one of the biggest private equity firms in the world, and its IPO would come at a time when private equity firms have been taking out public companies at a rapid clip. Recently, Blackstone was involved in the $39 billion purchase of Equity Office Properties -- the biggest leveraged buyout in history.

According to

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, fellow private equity heavyweights Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Carlyle Group are also exploring going public, but those moves wouldn't occur until later this year or in 2008.

A private-equity IPO could have a huge reception on Wall Street. Last month,

Fortress Investment Group


became the first hedge fund to go public, and shares surged 68% on their first day of trading.