By Chibuike Oguh

(Reuters) – Blackstone Inc said on Thursday its fourth-quarter distributable earnings rose by 55% to a record high, as the world’s largest manager of alternative assets took advantage of rising markets to sell assets for top dollar.

Private equity dealmaking pushed global mergers and acquisition activity (M&A) to an all-time high in 2021, backed by an abundance of cheap capital and soaring corporate valuations.

Blackstone said its distributable earnings, which represents the cash used to pay dividends to shareholders, surged to a record $2.3 billion from $1.7 billion a year earlier. That resulted in distributable earnings per share of $1.71, which surpassed the average Wall Street analyst estimate of $1.37, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.

(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; editing by Jason Neely)