RIP: Ted Forstmann

The founder of private equity firm Forstmann Little died today of complications from brain cancer. He was 71. Forstmann was best known as a critic of junk bonds who lost the 1989 bidding war with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for Nabisco chronicled in the book Barbarians At The Gate: The Fall Of RJR Nabisco. But Forstmann also was active in media. He bought Ziff-Davis Publishing in 1994 and turned it around. He also bought IMG, a management firm that handles athletes including Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Other media investments included Citadel Broadcasting and Topps. In 1995 the National Academy of Popular Music gave him its Patron of the Arts Award. Media execs flocked to Forstmann’s annual conferences in Aspen, which attracted world leaders including Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, and late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The billionaire also was well known for his personal life which included relationships with Princess Diana and Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi. The end of his life was marred by a power struggle with longtime friend Michael Ovitz over IMG.

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