Blackstone To Acquire Certified Collectibles Group

Blackstone, an investment firm whose history includes being told by the United Nations that their tactics of buying single family homes as an investment opportunity during the 2007-2008 financial crisis contributed to "devastating consequences" for people, has purchased a majority stake in the Certified Collectibles Group, home to comic book graders CGC and more. Founded in 1987, the Certified Collectibles Group offers authentication, grading and conservation services for a wide variety of collectibles ranging from comic books and trading cards to stamps, coins, money, and sports memorabilia. Prices have skyrocketed over the past year for authentically graded collectibles like a an unopened box of Pokemon TCG cards that sold for over $400,000 and a copy of Action Comics #1 that recently sold for $3.25 million.

"When I established CCG, I had a vision that we would transform collectibles into an asset class that is trusted by collectors, dealers and investors around the world," Mark Salzberg, Founder of CCG said in a statement. "It has been incredible to be a part of this journey as we achieved and then exceeded these goals. I am excited to join with Blackstone as we enter the next phase of growth for CCG and the collectibles market."

A press release on the acquisition notes that "Blackstone will seek to accelerate CCG's growth, enabling the company to invest significantly in its current and planned services, adding and training new employees, expanding its geographic and product reach, acquiring new technologies and developing its digital presence."

The same press release touts that Blackstone has $650 billion in assets under management which their website reveals is divided among investments like life sciences, insurance companies, real estate, and more.

Despite claiming to have "a positive impact for the companies it acquires and the communities that they serve," Blackstone has also been linked to "slumlord-like behavior" from its renters with a report from Reuters in 2018 noting a tactic of excessive fees on tenants and poor conditions in properties across the United States. Just nine days ago came news from Bloomberg that Blackstone had invested another $6 billion on real estate, purchasing Home Partners of America Inc. and with it over 17,000 more houses.

"Shamelessly, some of the same Wall Street firms that tanked the dream of home ownership for millions of American families are now the country's biggest landlords — profiting off the destruction they caused," Senator Elizabeth Warren previously wrote in a post on Medium. "In the wake of the 2008 crisis, private equity firms like Blackstone went on a shopping spree, snatching up apartment complexes and single-family homes that had been foreclosed"

Real estate is not the only investment branch that Blackstone has poured money into and in turn been criticized for how it has effected the public at large.

A report from The Washington Post in March of this year revealed that a Blackstone backed company, Apria, who specialize in medical equipment, "engaged in two feats of financial engineering." Included in those feats was an instance of "false medical claims for ventilator rentals worth millions of dollars to the government" all while eliminating jobs for respiratory specialists. The Blackstone owned Apria settled the federal suit for $40.5 million.

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In addition, The Intercept reported back in 2019 that two Blackstone backed companies "have wrested control of land" and "deforested it" in the Amazon rainforest. Sen. Warren also criticized the company for boosting "short-term profits, at the expense of our global climate and Indigenous communities." (H/T Politico)

Suffice to say that acquiring CCG may not lead toward lawsuits from the federal government or statements from political figures but a long trusted institute in the collector world is now tied to a parent company that routinely finds themselves in the press for less than desirable reasons.