Thomas Lee, a well-known financier and businessman, passed away on February 23, 2023, at the age of 78, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The investor specialised in leveraged buyouts and was among the original private equity pioneers.
After beginning his professional career in 1965, Thomas H. Lee Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in the world today, was established by Lee in 1974. It goes without saying that the financier was extremely wealthy. But what was his precise net worth? Find out by reading on.
Thomas Lee Net Worth
According to the website Celebrity Net Worth, Thomas Lee was a billionaire and had a net worth of $2 billion at the time of his passing in February 2023. Between 2017 and 2018, when his fortune was reported to be $2.2 billion, his wealth reached its highest.
With the $150,000 he received from his family, Lee made his first investment. His father, Herbert C. Lee, was Jewish and employed by the Shoe Company of America when he was born. Afterwards, Herbert and Clark International Corp. shared leadership of the company. Lee attended Harvard College and the Belmont Hill School in Boston.
After earning his degree in 1965, he started working as an analyst in New York City’s institutional research division of L.F. Rothschild. After joining First National Bank of Boston, he spent the next eight years there before rising to the position of vice president.
Career with Thomas H. Lee Partners
Lee started his own investing company, Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), in 1974 with the goal of purchasing businesses through leveraged buyout deals. The company rose to the top of the new class of private equity investors in just ten years. For $28 million, the business purchased Ohio-based Sterling Jewelry in 1985.
Lee made a $3 million initial investment in the gem business, but when he sold it two years later, he made a $180 million profit. After the sluggish 1980s and early 1990s, THL acquired Snapple Beverages in 1992, thereby reviving the leveraged buyout.
The business went public in 1994 and was acquired by Quaker Oats in 1996 for the astounding sum of $1.7 billion. The sale reportedly netted Lee $900 million. Due to bad management, Quaker Oats eventually forced to sell the business for only $300 million.
THL, on the other hand, carried on its illustrious run and raised more than $22 billion in six institutional private equity funds up until 2006, closing more than 100 transactions. The total cost of buying the company is believed to exceed $125 billion.
Resignation from THL
In March 2006, Lee announced his resignation from THL and moved on to form Lee Equity Partners, a private equity company. Instead of leveraged buyouts, the new organisation focused primarily on growth capital deals. Lee was a big donor to several charities and was extremely philanthropic.
He contributed significantly to James Turrell’s Roden Crater project and gave $22 million to Harvard University. He served as a trustee for the Museum of Modern Art, Brandeis University, Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, and the NYU Medical Center.
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