Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#301 Leon Black $5.73B

Random fact: Graduated Dartmouth magna cum laude; has Harvard MBA.

Overview

Black is chairman and CEO of Apollo Global Management, a New York-based buyout firm he co-founded in 1990 with Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan. The firm specializes in leveraged buyouts, distressed debt, real estate investments and publicly traded funds. He also worked as an investment banker for Drexel Burnham Lambert.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change +$23.2M (+0.4%)
YTD change +$1.16B (+25.4%)
Industry Finance
Biggest asset APO US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 66
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Leon Black's net worth of $5.73B can buy ...

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Black's fortune stems from shareholdings and earnings from Apollo Global Management, the private-equity firm he co-founded in 1990. Black owns 92.7 million of the company's Class A shares in his own name, according to its 2016 annual report filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission in February 2017.

Black also owns one-third of BRH Holdings, a limited partnership that owns the sole Class B share of Apollo. BRH's owners can elect to convert a portion of the share interests into Class A, which dilutes the Class B by an equivalent amount. No dividends are paid on the Class B. The other owners of BRH are Apollo general partners Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris.

According to the company’s prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apollo distributed $1.6 billion in carried interest and capital gains to its owners in 2007 and 2008, of which 48.2 percent is credited to Black based upon his ownership percentage of Apollo prior to its private placements and its public offering. Apollo held three private placements in 2007 and 2008 which raised about $2.1 billion, of which Black is credited with more than $1 billion in proceeds. 

Pre-IPO dividends and payments based on an agreement to pay Apollo general partners a portion of tax savings recognized by the company through a corporate restructuring add about $200 million to Black’s net worth. Black also received $177 million in 2013 and $62.4 million in 2014 on a return of capital, profits and a tax benefit payment.

Taxes, market growth and outflows for asset purchases and charity are applied to cash balances.

A portion of Black’s income from the transactions has gone to amass an art collection valued at $800 million, which includes Edvard Munch’s "The Scream." The valuation is based on an interview with a person familiar with Black's collection who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Black declined to comment on his net worth through spokesman Steve Anreder.

Biography

Birthdate: 7/31/1951
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: 1975, Harvard Business School, MBA 1973, Dartmouth College, Philosophy, Graduated

Born in 1951, Leon Black was studying philosophy and history at Dartmouth College when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating his father, then head of United Brands, over a bribery scandal in South America. The investigation resulted in his father's suicidal leap off the Pan Am building in New York City.

After graduating from Dartmouth in 1973, Black enrolled in Harvard Business School, earning an MBA in 1975. Two years later, he took a job at Drexel Burnham, where he helped pioneer the leveraged buyout with Michael Milken. By using debt secured by the future cash flow of the target company, LBOs allowed Black to acquire companies for less up-front equity. Drexel declared bankruptcy in 1990, prompting Black to found his own private equity firm, Apollo Global Management. Early backers included the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, which gave Apollo the capital it needed to invest in a varied selection of companies.

In the 1990s, investments focused on buying distressed domestic U.S. firms, many of which Black had some exposure to while at Drexel. In more recent years, Apollo has expanded its geographic and investment scope -- for instance, it runs funds in foreign real estate and collateralized loan obligations in Europe. The company raised money for its first CLO fund in the region in early 2013. It announced in 2014 it would start investing in minerals rights assets with Fort Worth, Texas-based Double Eagle Energy Holdings.

After Black's wife, Debra, was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004, much of his philanthropic giving has gone to the New Melanoma Research Alliance. In addition to his donations to Dartmouth College, he has spent millions of dollars on his art collection, including the 2012 purchase of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for almost $120 million.

Milestones
  • 1973 Graduates summa cum laude from Dartmouth College.
  • 1975 Receives MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • 1975 Father, Eli Black, commits suicide.
  • 1977 Begins working at Drexel Burnham, where he stays for 13 years.
  • 1990 Co-founds Apollo Management with Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris.
  • 2009 Buys a chalk drawing by Raphael for $47 million.
  • 2011 Celebrates 60th birthday with a private performance by Elton John.
  • 2012 Buys Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for almost $120 million.