Buyout Billionaires Bloom

Thomson Financial originally hired me for two reasons. First, they felt I could turn a phrase. Second, I had just finished working for a millionaire political candidate, and they felt I could speak to millionaires without being intimidated. Glad that was back in 1999, before too many of my interview subjects became billionaires.

Buyout pros are all over the latest Forbes 400 list of America’s most opulent, in which the price of admission is $1.3 billion. Among the new entrants are David Bonderman and James Coulter of TPG, Dan D’Aniello, William Conway and David Rubenstein of The Carlyle Group and Tony James and Pete Peterson of The Blackstone Group.

Returnees include Henry Kravis and George Roberts of KKR, plus Steve Schwarman of Blackstone. Just think of all the stone crabs you can buy for $1.3 billion… at least a few dozen.

It’s also worth noting that the Carlyle co-founders might be getting short shrift from Forbes. As DealBook points out, the cutoff date was August 31, which came before Carlyle announced that it would sell a 7.5% firm stake for $1.35 billion ($20 billion firm valuation). The deal, DealBook presumes, should give the Carlyle trio’s combined net worth at over $10 billion, compared to the $7.5 billion listed by Forbes. Hey Carlyle — demand a recount.