Shawn Baldwin from CMG with Thomas H. Lee

Pictured here is none other than Thomas H. Lee is an financier and investor par excellence and is credited with being one of the early pioneers in private equity and specifically leveraged buyouts. Thomas H. Lee partners is the firm he founded in 1974, is among the oldest and largest PE firms globally.

One of Tom’s early successes was the acquisition of Sterling Jewelers for $28 million. he supposedly put in less than $3 million and when the company was sold two years later for $210 million walked away with over $180 million in profits. 

In 1992, Tom acquired of Snapple Beverage, this marked the resurrection of the LBO’s the Snapple transaction made him an icon. Only eight months after buying the company, Lee took Snapple public and in 1994, only two years after the original acquisition, he sold the company to Quaker Oats for $1.7 billion. Lee was estimated to have made $900 million for himself and his investors from the sale. Quaker Oats Quaker Oats later sold the company, which performed poorly under new management, three years later for only $300 million.

From 1974 through 2006, Tom Lee raised more than $22 billion of capital in six institutional PE funds and completed more than 100 investments representing in excess of $125 billion of aggregate purchase price.