Blackstone's $26 Billion Hilton Deal: The Best Leveraged Buyout Ever

The most profitable private equity deal in history was badly timed but brilliantly executed
Photograph by Thomas A. Kelly/Corbis

In the early spring of 2009, with the recession deepening, Christopher Nassetta stood alone in an empty house in Arlington, Va., surrounded by moving boxes and trying not to despair. What he hoped would be the crowning achievement of his career—executing, as chief executive officer, the turnaround of Hilton Worldwide Holdings, the legendary hotel company founded by Paris Hilton’s great-grandfather—had turned nightmarish. He’d just returned to the East Coast after closing Hilton’s Beverly Hills headquarters, and that was the least of his troubles.

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