Ted Forstmann, the dealmaker who helped create the leveraged-buyout business, is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Forstmann, chairman and chief executive officer of IMG Worldwide Inc., the sports agency that represents athletes including Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, found out about the cancer recently and has had surgery, said the person, who declined to be identified because the matter is private.
Forstmann, 71, co-founded his buyout firm, Forstmann Little & Co., in 1978, two years after rival Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. was created. KKR later established its reputation by winning the $30.1 billion buyout of RJR Nabisco Inc. in 1989, a deal that Forstmann lost.
“Ted Forstmann, IMG’s chairman and chief executive, is currently dealing with some serious personal health issues,” Jim Gallagher, spokesman for New York-Based IMG, said today in a telephone interview. “The details of those health issues are a private matter. Ted is coming to the office every day, and it is business as usual at IMG.”
Forstmann Little’s average annual return in its first two decades was 50 percent, and was among the first to raise money for acquisitions directly from pension funds. Forstmann’s purchases include 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc., which his firm bought in 2005 for $1.6 billion, and a $1.5 billion cash investment in XO Communications, which later filed for bankruptcy.