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Ousted Apollo Founder Looking To Launch New Private Equity Firm

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jul 13, 2021 - 02:05 PM

Apollo, the private equity giant founded by Leon Black, Josh Harris and Mark Rowan following the death of Drexel Burnham Lambert, is finally under new management (Rowan, the last of the firm's founders, is running the show now that Leon Black and Josh Harris have departed). The circumstances of their departures differ: Black was eventually forced out of the firm for his financial relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, while Harris was ousted after a falling-out with his erstwhile co-founder.

Like Black, Harris is a billionaire; he's a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. After being briefly teed up to run the firm following Black's departure, Harris was reportedly sidelined by Black himself after Harris pointedly urged Black to step aside following the Epstein scandal purportedly for the good of the company. With Black out of the picture and Rowan in charge, Harris decided a few months ago to accelerate his plans for departure.

Now, with his exit from Apollo nearly complete, Harris is reportedly looking to launch his own private equity firm. According to Bloomberg, Harris has been working with recruiting firms to build a team and "lay the groundwork" for launching his own private equity fund. BBG's sources say the fund would focus on middle-market private equity deals, with a loose fundraising target of  $5 billion.

With equity markets at all-time highs, private equity firms saw $514 billion in inflows during the first half of 2021, up 70% from the first half of 2020.

Although Harris denied the reports about his fundraising activities, BBG points out that after selling a slug of Apollo stock, Harris's family office has sold more than $150MM in Apollo stock, leaving him with a stake worth $2.6 billion.

Harris said in a statement through a spokesman that he is “not fundraising” and has “no other specific plans.” In the emailed statement, Harris said he will “remain focused on my work at Apollo,” and will transition out of his role early next year. “I continue to look forward to returning to my roots as an investor and entrepreneur,” he said.

Black infamously paid Jeffrey Epstein $158MM between 2012 and 2017 for tax advisory services, though some so-called "conspiracy theorists" have posited that the money was payment of blackmail to Epstein. Though Black has never been accused of involvement in any of the criminal activities that Epstein has been accused or convicted of, which includes a 2008 conviction tied to soliciting a teenage girl to prostitution.

If Harris does finish fundraising, maybe he can set up the new fund on Epstein's former private island...you know...for the tax benefits.

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