February 24, 2023

USA: US Billionaire Financier Found Dead At 78. He Died From A Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound At His Manhattan Office. Hmm... It Feels Like Derivative Implosion On The Horrizon To Me And FTX.

BBC News, UK
written by Staff
Friday February 23, 2023

A US billionaire financier who helped pioneer the debt-fuelled corporate acquisition known as a leveraged buyout has been found dead, his family says.

In a statement, Thomas H Lee's family said they were "extremely saddened" by the 78-year-old's death.

The New York Post reports that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Manhattan office.

The NYPD told the BBC an unnamed 78-year-old man had been found dead on Thursday morning at 767 Fifth Avenue.

The address is where the offices of Thomas H Lee Capital LLC are listed.

According to Forbes, Mr Lee was worth $2bn (£1.6bn) at his time of death.

The police spokesman did not confirm the man had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, noting the cause of death would be for a medical examiner to determine.

In a statement to BBC News, police said they had responded to a 911 call shortly after 11:00 (16:00 GMT) on Thursday morning from an office on Fifth Avenue.

"Upon arrival EMS [Emergency Medical Services] responded and pronounced the male deceased at the scene," they said.

A statement by family friend and spokesman Michael Sitrick said: "While the world knew him as one of the pioneers in the private equity business and a successful businessman, we knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, sibling, friend and philanthropist who always put others' needs before his own."

Alongside his pioneering of the leveraged buyout, Mr Lee was also known for acquiring beverage company Snapple in 1992 and selling it two years later to Quaker Oats for $1.7bn - 32 times what he bought it for.

Mr Lee was also celebrated for his philanthropy, and had served as a trustee for prominent New York City art organisations like the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Museum of Modern Art.

In 1996, he donated $22m to his alma mater Harvard University, part of which has been used to provide financial aid for students.

"I've been lucky to make some money. I'm more than happy to give some of it back," he said at the time.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Tenenbaum, and his five children.
The Daily Mail, UK
written by Andrea Cavallier
Thursday February 23, 2023

A billionaire financier and investor was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his office in New York City on Thursday.

Thomas H. Lee was confirmed dead in a statement released by his family. He was 78.

Police responded to Lee's office at 767 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan around 11:10 a.m. His firm, Thomas H. Lee Capital, LLC is located on the sixth floor of the building.

Lee, a Harvard graduate, had a net worth of roughly $2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes.

The financier struck gold in his career by acquiring midsized companies, restoring their worth, and then selling them for wild profits - and his technique and success at the time was described as the 'envy of Wall Street.'

His leveraged-buyout deals were legendary in the 1990s - pioneering financial transactions which allowed his company, in some instances, to produce more than 30-fold gains in a matter of years.

Police found the billionaire's body at the office. EMTs pronounced him dead at the scene. Lee's official cause of death will be determined by the Chief Medical Examiner.

The family's spokesperson Michael Sitrick released a statement about Lee's death on Thursday: 'The family is extremely saddened by Tom's death.

'While the world knew him as one of the pioneers in the private equity business and a successful businessman, we knew him as a devoted husband, father, grandfather, sibling, friend and philanthropist who always put others' needs before his own.

'Our hearts are broken. We ask that our privacy be respected and that we be allowed to grieve.'

Lee was the founder and chairman of Lee Equity and had served as chairman and CEO of Thomas H. Lee Partners, according to the Lee Equity website.

He founded his Boston-based firm in 1974, and is credited with being one of the early pioneers in private equity and specifically leveraged buyouts.

The businessman may be best known for the sale of Snapple for $1.7 billion in 1992. He acquired the firm for $135 million - then invested $28 million into it - before selling it on.

He boosted the company's revenue from $95 million a year to $750 million.

In his career, Lee has invested more than $15billion in hundreds of transactions.

Lee resigned from Thomas H. Lee Partners in 2006, and later that year formed Lee Equity Partners - a private equity firm focused more on growth capital transactions than the leveraged buyouts favored by THL. He served as chairman until his death.

Just last week, it was announced that former Willis Towers Watson CEO John Haley had been appointed as an Executive Partner in the firm’s Financial Technology and Services investment group, Business Wire reported.

Lee has been married twice - first to Barbara Fish Lee, in 1968. They had two children, Zach and Robbie, before divorcing in 1995.

He married his second wife Ann Tenenbaum of Savannah, Georgia in 1997 and they had three children: Jesse, Nathan, and Rosalie. He also has two grandchildren.

Lee was a good friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton and in June 2008, following Hillary's unsuccessful presidential run, the couple reportedly stayed at his East Hampton home.

Over the past 46 years, Lee was responsible for investing more than $15 billion of capital in hundreds of transactions, including the acquisition and subsequent sales of such brand names as Snapple Beverages and Warner Music.

He was also known as a philanthropist and trustee who served on the boards of many organizations, including the Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, Brandeis University, Harvard University and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

No comments: