Stephen Schwarzman and Sam Zell are the richest private equity real estate investors in the US, according to the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America.
The founders of The Blackstone Group and Equity International have an estimated personal wealth of $6.4 billion and $5 billion respectively. It however pails against the likes of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, who topped the overall list with fortunes of $57 billion and $50 billion.
Last February, Zell sold his Equity Office Properties portfolio to Blackstone for a record $39 billion after a fierce bidding war with Vornado Realty.
Zell is now in the process of selling the headquarters of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, after taking the Tribune Company private in an $8.2 billion deal last year. Media reports suggest the sale is part of attempts to slash the Tribune’s estimated $13 billion of debt.
Schwarzman and Zell were among a handful of private equity real estate GPs that make it into the top 400.
Apollo Global Management founder Leon Black, who has just hired former Citi Property Investors chief executive Joe Azrack to launch the firm’s real estate platform, is believed to be worth $3.5 billion, while Blackstone co-founder Peter Peterson comes in at $2.8 billion.
The Carlyle Group’s co-founder David Rubenstein, who this week said his firm was steeling itself to take advantage of potential opportunities through the US government-led bailout of troubled real estate-related assets, has a personal wealth of $2.7 billion, the list said.
Colony Capital founder Tom Barrack and Tishman Speyer co-founder Jerry Speyer were both reported to have $2 billion each. Blackstone president Hamilton ‘Tony’ James is estimated to have a $1.4 billion fortune, while Walter Shorenstein, the father of Shorenstein Properties’ chairman and chief executive officer Doug Shorenstein, and his family have a reported $1.3 billion.
Among other noted real estate names were Stephen Ross, the founder of the Related Companies, on $4.5 billion. Earlier this year, Related entered a $1 billion JV with Goldman Sachs’ real estate arm, the Real Estate Principal Investment Area, to redevelop the largest undeveloped plot of land in Manhattan. Donald Trump came in at $3 billion, according to the list.