Bruce Wasserstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bruce Wasserstein
Bruce Wasserstein.jpg
Historical photo of Bruce Wasserstein
Born Bruce Jay Wasserstein
(1947-12-25)December 25, 1947
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died October 14, 2009(2009-10-14) (aged 61)
Residence New York City
Nationality United States
Alma mater University of Michigan
Harvard Business School
Harvard Law School
Occupation Investment banker
Employer Lazard Ltd; Dresdner Bank; Wasserstein Perella & Co.; First Boston Corp.
Home town New York City
Net worth Increase $3.4 billion (2008)[1]
Spouse(s) Laura Lynelle Killin (1968-1974; divorced)
Christine Parrott (?-1992; divorced)
Claude Becker (1996-2008; divorced)
Angela Chao (2009; married until his death)
Children six (6 biological)
with Parrott:
–Ben Wasserstein
–Pam Wasserstein
–Scoop Wasserstein
with Becker:
–Jack Wasserstein
–Dash Wasserstein
with McCarthy :
–Sky Wasserstein
Parents Morris Wasserstein
Lola Schleifer

Bruce Jay Wasserstein (December 25, 1947 – October 14, 2009)[2] was an American investment banker, businessman, and writer. He was a graduate of the McBurney School,[3] University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School, and spent a year at the University of Cambridge. He was prominent in the mergers and acquisitions industry, credited with working on 1,000 transactions with a total value of approximately $250 billion.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Midwood, Brooklyn, New York, to Morris and Lola (née Schleifer) Wasserstein, Bruce Wasserstein was one of five siblings.[5] His father, Morris, a Jewish immigrant from pre-World War II Poland, emigrated to New York City and started a ribbon company.[6] His maternal grandfather was Simon Schleifer, a Jewish teacher in the yeshiva in Wloclawek, Poland who later emigrated to Paterson, New Jersey and became a Hebrew school principal. (Claims that Schleifer was a prominent playwright are most likely apocryphal, as this profession was only added to his résumé after Wendy Wasserstein, Bruce's sister, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989.[7])

Career[edit]

Starting his career as a Cravath, Swaine & Moore attorney, Wasserstein later rose to co-head of First Boston Corp.'s then-dominant merger and acquisition practice. In 1988, with colleague Joseph Perella, he left First Boston to form investment bank boutique Wasserstein Perella & Co., which he sold in 2000, at the top of the 1990s bull market, to Germany's Dresdner Bank for around $1.4 billion in stock.[8] In 2002, he left the unit Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (formed by merging Dresdner's United Kingdom unit Kleinwort Benson with Wasserstein Perella) to become head of Lazard.[9] In 2005, he led the initial public offering of Lazard and became the public firm's first Chairman and CEO.[10]

Wasserstein controlled Wasserstein & Co., a private equity firm with investments in a number of industries, particularly media. In 2004, he added New York Magazine to his media empire. In July 2007, he sold American Lawyer Media to Incisive Media for about $630 million in cash.[11] He is credited with the term, Pac-Man defense, which is used by targeted companies during a hostile takeover attempt.

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2007 Wasserstein made a $25 million donation[12] to Harvard Law School, for the creation of a large academic wing of the school's Northwest Corner complex, which was named Wasserstein Hall.

Net worth[edit]

According to Forbes, as of September 17, 2008, Wasserstein's net worth was estimated to be $2.3 billion.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Wasserstein has been married four times and has six biological children:[13]

  • Laura Lynelle Killin (married 1968, divorced 1974).[13]
  • Christine Parrott (divorced 1992). They had three children: Ben, Pam and Scoop.[13] Christine is a psychoanalyst and has since remarried to American journalist and newspaper publisher Dan Rattiner.[14]
  • Claude Becker (married 1996, divorced 2008). They had two sons: Jack and Dash.[13] Prior to her marriage to Wasserstein, Claude was an Emmy award winning CBS news producer. After Bruce's death Claude took in Lucy, Wendy's daughter. [15]
  • Angela Chao, (married 2009, up until Wasserstein's death).[13]

Wasserstein's youngest child, Sky Wendy Esme Wasserstein, was conceived by in vitro fertilization following his separation from Becker and before he began dating Chao.[16] Sky's mother, Erin McCarthy, a Columbia MBA graduate, was formerly a director of development at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and is a 17-year veteran in the field of non-profit fundraising.[16] Sky was born at a New York hospital in 2008. Wasserstein gave Sky her middle name, Wendy, in memory of his beloved sister who had passed away in 2006.[16] He also named Sky an equal beneficiary in trusts he had established for all his children that held his legacy assets, including several real estate properties and businesses, such as New York Magazine.[17] Wasserstein and McCarthy shared joint custody of their daughter.[16] Upon Wasserstein's death, trustees for the various family trusts barred only Sky from benefiting from the jointly owned trust assets while allowing her five half-siblings and co-beneficiaries exclusive and unrestricted access to all trust properties, and in 2011, they filed an accounting in a New York Surrogate Court seeking to permanently divest only Sky from ongoing investment in the legacy assets in Wasserstein's family trust. The matter is currently pending in New York's Surrogate Court.[citation needed]

Bruce Wasserstein was predeceased by his two siblings: businesswoman Sandra Wasserstein Meyer and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, whose daughter, Lucy Jane, he was raising at the time of his death. His only brother, Abner, died in 2011, and his fourth sibling, Georgette Levis, died in 2014. [18]

His political position was liberal, and he was involved with media since high school and college, when he was an editor on his high school newspaper, The McBurneian [4], (McBurney School, New York), and later at the University of Michigan Michigan Daily, then served an internship at Forbes Magazine. Inspired by Ralph Nader, he was one of Nader's Raiders for a brief length of time. Rahm Emanuel and Vernon Jordan were employed by Wasserstein for a few years.[19] Wasserstein also served as trustee for the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism from 2001 until his death.

Death[edit]

On October 11, 2009, Wasserstein was admitted to hospital with an irregular heartbeat. It was originally reported that his condition was serious, but that he was stable and recovering.[20] On October 14, 2009, Wasserstein was pronounced dead. He was 61 years old.

Books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]