Being Leon Black

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We’re just catching up on our weekend reading here at DealBreaker. Bess has her head buried in the Times wedding announcements. We’re reading the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition, which is something we usually try to avoid. But this weekend’s had a long profile of Apollo founder Leon Black, so we’re into it.
Nothing groundbreaking in the profile. Opens with a nice bit about Leon more or less crash landing a plane in the South Dakota badlands and then closing a deal right where he landed the plane. Other details:
•Apollo likes the “down bid”—where you reduce your offer right before the deal is meant to close. We’ve actually been in the conference room when this has been done. It is nothing short of brutal. But, if you’re on the Apollo side of things, it does feel good to know you just made the sellers significantly less wealthy than they would have been. They’re probably the folks who screwed up the company anyway, so why should they be getting that rich?
•He hated b-school. Shakespeare was good. Studying business was terrible. Doing business is the best.
•He only went to b-school because his father urged him to. In his second year, his father committed suicide. We’re not going to make a joke about this.
•Black was a big player in the original go-go days of popularizing “junk bonds”—the stuff we now call high yield—when he was at Drexel Burnham.
•His net worth is around $2 billion, half of it in art. (You kind of have to wonder what he thinks when he reads about John Arnold making $2 billion last year.)
Billionaire Black's Latest Game Of Investing Hardball [Wall Street Journal]

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