Private equity pioneer Ted Forstmann dies at 71

Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:03pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ted Forstmann, the billionaire private equity investor and philanthropist, died on Sunday of brain cancer. He was 71.

He was viewed as a pioneer of the leveraged buyout and took over companies such as Dr. Pepper and Gulfstream Aerospace through the private equity firm he co-founded, Forstmann Little & Co.

He was also chairman and chief executive officer of global sports and entertainment company IMG, which he bought in 2004.

"It is with great sadness that IMG Worldwide announces the passing of its chairman and chief executive officer, Theodore J. 'Ted' Forstmann," the statement said. "Mr. Forstmann passed away today after a courageous battle against brain cancer."

Forstmann, who was never married, made headlines on the gossip pages nearly as often as he did in the financial section. He was briefly romantically linked to Princess Diana and dated model and television personality Padma Lakshmi in recent years.

He was credited with coining the term, "barbarians at the gate," used to describe private equity takeovers and which featured prominently in the best-selling book of that title, which told the story of rival KKR's takeover of RJR Nabisco.

Forstmann was raised wealthy in Greenwich, Conn., according to Bryan Burrough and John Helyar's book.

He co-founded Forstmann Little in 1978 with his brother, Nick Forstmann, and Brian Little, after spending time as a lawyer, an investment banker and hustling at the bridge table and on the golf course, the book said.

Forstmann Little & Co said that over the last 33 years, the firm "made 31 acquisitions and significant investments and returned more than $15 billion to his investors."   Continued...