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SBD/November 21, 2011/People and Pop Culture
IMG's Ted Forstmann Passes Away From Brain Cancer At 71
Published November 21, 2011
PRIVATE EQUITY PIONEER: In N.Y., Andrew Ross Sorkin writes Forstmann was among the “very first executives to use debt to acquire companies, fix them and then sell them for millions -- and sometimes billions -- of dollars in profits.” Beginning in the late '70s, he “pooled money from wealthy investors and large pension funds to back his acquisitions, while taking 20 percent of the profits, creating a business model that today is known as the private equity industry.” Forstmann over the next three decades “bought, sold and turned around dozens of companies.” Over the past seven years, he had "worked steadily on his last big investment: IMG.” The company “encompassed everything he loved: deal-making and sports” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21). Dolan said that Forstmann was a “complex, brilliant person who was the quintessential entrepreneur.” He added that Forstmann “would remember numbers for years and had the ability to spot a company's potential, no matter whether it marketed athletes or made aircraft or soft drinks.” Dolan: "He had no problem jumping into an opportunity. That's what makes an entrepreneur, someone who sees something that other people don't see and says 'I'm going to go after this'" (AP, 11/20). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Zuckerman & Futterman note Forstmann was “a longtime bachelor and built a fortune amid the buyout wave of the 1980s and 1990s, even as he railed against the so-called junk bonds used in many deals of that period.” With his “love of the spotlight, his outspoken opinions and shock of thick, white hair, he graced magazine covers and issued broadsides at his competitors.” After being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and receiving medical treatments, Forstmann “continued to come into the office regularly, expressing interest in expanding IMG so he would have more to give away” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/21). Forbes magazine in March estimated Forstmann’s net worth “to be $1.6 billion.” He had “promised to give the majority of his wealth to charitable causes, including the Children’s Scholarship Fund” (L.A. TIMES, 11/21). A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in N.Y. on Nov. 29 at 10am ET (THE DAILY).