Forstmann Dies At 71

Nov 21 2011 | 8:08pm ET

Private equity pioneer Theodore Forstmann has died at the age of 71.

Forstmann, who founded Forstmann Little & Co. in 1978, had been diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year. The billionaire died at his home in Manhattan.

Forstmann is credited with dubbing himself and his leveraged buyout colleagues “the barbarians at the gate,” helping create the popular image of the corporate raider. Barbarian though he may have been, he was a very successful one, leading the buyouts of such industry icons as General Instrument, Gulfstream Aerospace and Dr Pepper. His coinage later became the title of a book about a buyout he lost out on, that of RJR Nabisco, to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

A native of Greenwich, Conn., Forstmann studied at Yale University and Columbia Law School. During his first two decades in private equity, he managed a 55% annualized return.

Forstmann never married—although he dated such luminaries as Princess Diana and Padma Lakshmi—but did become the legal guardian of two children from South Africa. He is also survived by two brothers and two sisters.


In Depth

Star Fund Managers Battered By Rocky Ride In Yields, Currencies

May 28 2015 | 6:05am ET

Some of the biggest names in the investment world have been whipsawed by the recent...

Lifestyle

Yale Receives $150 Million Gift from Blackstone’s Schwarzman

May 12 2015 | 12:10am ET

Yale University announced it has received a $150 million gift from Blackstone Group...

Guest Contributor

The Road To Tax Alpha

May 28 2015 | 5:36am ET

Tax-related alerts are increasingly helping investment managers harvest tax alpha...

 

Sponsored Content

Editor's Note