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King of Capital - David Carey and John E. Morris


Kraven
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[amazonsearch]King of Capital[/amazonsearch]

 

I recently read this and enjoyed it.  It's billed as a history of Steve Schwarzman and that always turned me off a bit, but I'm glad I read it.  It's really just a history of private equity with a focus on Blackstone and of course Schwarzman, although there's actually relatively very little discussion of him individually.  There's lots of good deal data and many individual transactions are discussed, both good and bad.  I would recommend it to anyone interested in a history of private equity (and, more specifically, Blackstone) and anyone who enjoys reading about the details of specific transactions.

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Yes, I would recommend this book too. I read it a couple of years back so my memory of the book is not fresh as Kraven's but I remember enjoying it and learning some aspects of deal making and negotiations that go on for multi-billion dollar deals. I was surprised that I did not end up hating Schwarzman as I thought I would. I thought he was smart, extremely hard-working and had a keen business sense.  Although, not someone I would want to work for as he is definitely too short-tempered and egotistical for my liking.

 

One thing that surprised me ( given his somewhat brash and ostentatious persona as described in the popular press) was that Schwarzman was quite conservative with his deals and would often forgo a lot of upside in a deal to protect the downside. This clearly pointed to his excellent business acumen and temperament.

 

Another point which stuck with me ( Kraven can correct me if I am wrong) was the fact that private equity deals in European countries are generally done at lower EBITDA/cash flow multiples than the US. I wonder if that is because of lower growth oppurtunities in Europe, the efficiency of the US markets, stricter labor laws in some European countries that makes it difficult to eliminate jobs easily or some such factor.

 

 

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