Private equity firm Blackstone Group LP is planning to list up to eight companies it owns and sell at least five others, the Financial Times said on Monday.

The FT said the move by Blackstone, the world's largest buyout firm, marked a reversal of its pessimistic view of the global economy and financial markets.

The newspaper quoted Blackstone founder Steve Schwarzman as telling investors in a letter sent on Friday that the firm saw the world changing once again:

At least for private equity, the worst is behind the industry, it quoted him as saying.

Schwarzman said Blackstone was in the process of selling five companies at values twice as high as those estimated at the end of 2008. Investors were likely to receive about $2.8 billion as their share of the profits, it said.

Blackstone had invested more than $4 billion in the eight companies it was considering listing in the next year, it said.

The expected valuation for these companies compares very favorably to our costs, in some cases significantly, it quoted Schwarzman as saying.

(Reporting by Christopher Johnson; Editing by Jan Paschal )