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Julian Robertson to Become Chairman of Forstmann Little

Julian Robertson, the billionaire who once ran one of the world’s largest hedge funds, will take over as chairman of Forstmann Little & Co., the private-equity company co-founded by Ted Forstmann, who died Nov. 20, according to a statement from the New York-based firm.

Robertson, 79, will provide counsel to Forstmann Little regarding its three remaining assets: IMG Worldwide Inc., a sports- and fashion-marketing company; 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc., a chain of health clubs; and ENK International, a company that runs trade shows for the fashion industry.

“Ted was a wonderful man and a close friend for decades,” Robertson said in the statement. “I am honored to provide advice and counsel to the great firm he built.”

The private-equity fund that holds the assets expires on June 30, 2012, and the holdings must be sold by then, said the New York Times, which first reported Robertson’s new role at the firm. The fund’s limited partners may agree to extend the deadline, the paper reported. Robertson’s job would include overseeing the eventual sale of the companies, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the firm is private.

Forstmann, who underwent surgery for brain cancer earlier this year, named Robertson as his successor before he died, according to the person.

Tiger Management LLC

Robertson started his New York-based firm, Tiger Management LLC, in 1980, and by mid-1998 assets had soared to about $22 billion on the back of Robertson’s average annual returns of 32 percent.

Over the following 18 months, losses and investor withdrawals reduced assets to about $6 billion and in March 2000, Robertson, then 67, announced he would close Tiger to outside investors. Since then he has run a business providing seed capital to hedge-fund managers.

Robertson, through a spokesman, declined to comment beyond the statement. Anna Cordasco, a spokeswoman for Forstmann Little, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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