Richard Rainwater is one of the most vital men I've ever met. Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Walt Disney (DIS), described the Texas billionaire to me this way: "Of anybody I ever met, Richard was the most charismatic, the most outgoing, most hands-on, huggy, high-fiving, jumping-up-and-down, vivacious executive."
So it is terribly ironic and terribly cruel to see Rainwater, a self-made success and one of the greatest dealmakers ever, suffering from a brain disease called PSP. Before two years ago, when he was diagnosed and I heard whispers from his friends that he was very sick, I had never heard of PSP. Neither had Rainwater. PSP stands for progressive supranuclear palsy. As it turns out, it is, according to certain measures by experts of degenerative brain diseases, the worst disease that you can get. Eisner said this to me about the brilliant dealmaker with the quick and beautiful mind: "To have him relegated to this condition that incapacitates him? It's the irony of human existence."
For me, it was a thrill—a poignant thrill—to tell the definitive story of Richard Rainwater. I had first met him in 1997 when I wrote a cover story about his wife Darla, The Toughest Babe in Business—and it was fascinating to reconnect with her as my Fortune colleague Peter Elkind and I partnered on this story. (Darla nicknamed us P-squared.) Not only is Peter a renowned investigative reporter (he co-wrote the Enron book, The Smartest Guys in the Room). He is also a resident of Fort Worth, Rainwater's hometown. So it was an honor all around. And while it is awkward to tell you to "enjoy" The Fight of Richard Rainwater's Life, there is plenty of joy and inspiration in this story. The fun-loving Rainwater himself would want you to enjoy his story, so click here and please do.
by Patricia Sellers
While rumors keep swirling about Yahoo (YHOO) merging with AOL (AOL) in a deal that would include private equity, don't hold your breath. A source close to Yahoo told me today that neither AOL nor private equity buyers have contacted the company to discuss a potential deal.
Meanwhile, Yahoo news that should transpire sooner: layoffs. Sources tell me that Yahoo next week plans to announce 10% cuts in the MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 6, 2010 2:48 PM ET
I interviewed Carlyle Group's Sandra Horbach, who heads the private equity giant's consumer and retail group, at the Women's Alternative Investment Summit in New York last week. I shared a few highlights, and since the session drew terrific audience feedback, it's worth giving you more of Horbach's smart talk about managing through the recession, investing into the recovery, and navigating a career in private equity, where few women dare MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 8, 2009 3:21 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Have we really hit bottom? Sandra Horbach, who heads the consumer and retail group at private equity giant Carlyle Group, says we have.
Horbach and I chatted on stage this morning at the Women's Alternative Investment Summit down on Wall Street. "Trailblazers Discuss the State of the Market," the organizers called our session, suggesting that we both have survived cycles and seen a lot. Yes, we have. Horbach, MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 2, 2009 1:45 PM ET
"I would give up all the money I have if I could be 50. You can always make money."
--David Rubenstein, managing director of the Carlyle Group, in the New York Times. One of America's more low-key buyout kings, Rubenstein celebrated his 60th birthday last month, prompting him to reflect that "I could be like the pharaohs and say, 'Bury me with my money.' Or I could start giving it away." MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 1, 2009 7:46 PM ET
The female economy is on my mind. That's the subject of an upcoming book, Women Want More, that I told you about in yesterday's post, "Why CEOs should do housework."
A survey of 12,000 female consumers, by the Boston Consulting Group, was conducted to research the book by BCG marketing expert Michael Silverstein--as I was telling Tory Burch and our dinner companions last evening. The female economy is of interest to MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 12, 2009 3:13 PM ET
Blackstone Group (BX) CEO Steve Schwarzman is worried. Very worried.
Last evening, at the firm's annual press dinner, the big boss of the buyout industry riffed about what he's been hearing as he has circled the globe. I was lucky enough to sit at his table -- and I asked him that question, in fact: So, Steve, how do you think the U.S. and its economic policies are being viewed abroad? MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 15, 2009 1:48 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Dawn Hudson spent more than a decade chasing stretch goals at PepsiCo (PEP). She headed sales and marketing at Frito-Lay, the consumer giant's snack unit. She led marketing at Pepsi-Cola North America and ascended to CEO of that $5.5 billion business.
That job turned out to be Hudson's ceiling inside PepsiCo, where chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi has put her own stamp on the company. Hudson (who ranked as MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 26, 2009 1:39 PM ET
Guidance--the revenue and profit forecasts that companies divvy out to Wall Street analysts--is dying a slow death. Hooray for that!
As a slew of big names--Wal-Mart (WMT), Costco (COST), Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo (YHOO), among them--announced in the past two weeks that they would suspend or limit guidance because of economic uncertainty, analysts who follow these companies have reacted skeptically. Not giving 2009 guidance "hardly instills confidence in the business," Sanford MOREPatricia Sellers - Feb 6, 2009 3:25 PM ET
"We will end up with a bank, there is no doubt about that."
-- Wilbur Ross, Chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co. to cnnMoney.com. A major player in private equity, Ross said that although the government rescue of the banking system had delayed his company's purchase of a bank, it was inevitable. Last year the supersmart investor bought H&R Block's (HRB) subprime mortgage servicing unit, and also acquired bond MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jan 6, 2009 6:24 PM ET
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