He and Crédit Lyonnais went big, buying up more than $6 billion of bonds held by insurer Executive Life, which had been among Milken’s biggest clients. “We’ve seen the pace of that fund go up significantly in the last month and a half.” Following an investigation, United Brands said Black had authorized a payment to a Honduran official as the company sought to reduce export taxes on its Chiquita bananas. California saw a pile of undifferentiated junk, but Black knew where the treasures were. “He wasn’t going to be able to do it by himself, so Leon shared the pot with the other guys,” says Gary Winnick, who worked with Black at Drexel and sits with him on MoMA’s board. “We were sort of comrades in arms, having been through all of that,” he recalls. © 2020 CNBC LLC. In 2012 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, realizing that private equity, once a marginal sliver of the finance industry, had come to dominate Wall Street, launched a broad enforcement crackdown. Cons. At Black’s company, the motto has always been: The best idea wins. Drexel had put together some of the debt packages, and Black knew which companies were worth owning a piece of. “We’ve actually made our most money during recessions,” he says, growing agitated. In future, a higher proportion of Blackstone's investments will be in traditional private equity, however. A dominant personality, Black has never been keen on sharing power, and for years he’d batted away many of those who came to him asking for a slice of the company. Within four years, Black made partner. An amended filing last week showed that the offering was looking to raise more than $860 million. Even if you don’t know Apollo, you know its targets: Caesars casinos, Claire’s jewelry stores, Linens ’n Things, all purchased just before the financial crisis and driven to bankruptcy under Black’s watch. Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services. Credit rating companies have said thin profit margins limit the leverage the business can support, especially in a crisis. Apollo helped fuel its own growth by funneling Athene’s money into Apollo funds and collecting management fees on the investments. How selling to yourself became private equity’s go-to deal, Private equity firm Permira to buy majority stake in Boats Group, Oceanpine Capital Hits $400Mn Final Close of Fund II. High-profile investors had already begun distancing themselves from the $414bn … If anything has made Apollo seemingly risk-immune, it’s this ability of Black’s to emerge clean from a quagmire. Black was never accused of wrongdoing. The investment vehicles work by going public through their own IPOs, then using their cash to do a reverse merger with a private firm. Harris said that there is a desire for a quicker process to go public than traditional IPOs and an opportunity for established investment firms like Apollo to make a company more valuable by partnering with them. No evidence surfaced that Black had done anything illegal. The label “Year 1” refers to the first year of the Analyst / Consultant program. And most of the SPACs that have been done have been more emerging growth SPACs, less cash flow more growth. Join 120,000 other PE professionals today. Got a confidential news tip? Apollo Global Management co-founder Joshua Harris said at the Delivering Alpha conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor that SPACs were filling a needed role for companies that were closing in on going public. Instead, he said, they should go into the business of buying the loans that had been piled on now-troubled companies. In a statement to Bloomberg News, Apollo and Athene said the matter was discussed, and an investigation found no evidence of harassment. I interviewed at Apollo Global Management in January 2020. Private equity has been a cornerstone of Apollo’s business since its founding in 1990. The market quickly recovered, and within two years of when Black bought up the debt, his investment was worth more than $5 billion. His office, which is guarded by a display of antique French long guns and has spectacular views of Central Park, is just above that of Henry Kravis, the most infamous corporate raider of the 1980s. The process can mortally wound a company and trigger zero-sum fights over the corpse. Those with money in Apollo funds were given a disturbing reminder of this in July when Jeffrey Epstein, who’d served on the board of Black’s family foundation and been known to visit Apollo’s offices pitching personal tax strategies, was arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges. (The Apollo spokesman says independent directors chair Apollo’s audit and conflict committees.) He says he’s proud that his firm is helping to ensure the retirement incomes of public employees. At Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1973, he was a Shakespeare devotee and philosophy major. He offered to make it easy for the state: He’d buy the entire debt portfolio for $3.25 billion. Interview. Sent by a recruiter, only made it to one round. If selected, you will begin a typical interview process that will most likely consist of 2 to 4 rounds of interviews. Don’t worry about the news anymore, through our newsletter you’ll receive weekly access to what is happening. Apollo was by no means the only private equity firm to take advantage of the 2008 financial crisis. As the tumult unfolded, many employees saw their bonuses slashed. In interviews with Business Insider, Sambur and Nord said they will now take a more hands-on approach to communicating the firm's PE deals and investment strategy, at a time when private equity… But Black, keeper of its most important clients, including the cantankerous Icahn, was now invaluable. Many of Apollo’s most lucrative deals have been from companies other firms wouldn’t go near, and Black is concerned this has left him with a reputation for taking on inordinate risk. A notable private equity investor said Wednesday that the boom in special purpose acquisition companies was not just a passing fad. Suicides, you know, aren’t usually committed by gods,” Black says. All rights reserved. 2 pencil. Then a family friend introduced him to Fred Joseph, a rising star at Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc., who recruited Black in 1977 to join what was emerging as the most exciting and lucrative investment bank on Wall Street. Not about the feared part—that much is indisputable. Why Apollo and KKR Are Private-Equity Buys ... credit strategies, real estate, private equity and more. The private equity veteran said SPACs are filling a funding need for companies that are ready to go public but want to speed up the process or might be hard for investors to understand. In interviews with the ... had the situation . Blackstone is a private equity fund, it 's also a big real estate fund. As a CalPERS director in the 1990s, he pushed the pension fund to become one of the firm’s biggest backers. (Via a spokesman, Black and his co-founders deny this.) Joshua Harris, Apollo Global Management Co-Founder speaks during the 2020 Delivering Alpha conference on Sept. 30th, 2020. At the top is Uncle Leon, whose hot temper is leavened by an avuncular awkwardness—several employees recall watching him grab food with his hands from lavish buffets ordered for the office—that engenders an almost familial devotion. Apollo’s flagship private equity fund, which it opened to investors in 2001, has delivered annual returns of 44%. Below we lay out the general timeline for the pre-MBA private equity candidates. According to the complaint, filed with a California state agency, Belardi would go off on profane tirades, lob sexist and racist insults, intimidate staff, and rant about homosexuals. “That’s how it works. Apollo paid $14 million to the former board member, now acting as a so-called placement agent, in exchange for persuading the fund to invest an additional $3 billion from 2007 to 2008. “Leon is Apollo,” says one. “He’d be calling me at 10 o’clock at night New York time, 7 in California,” recalls Peter Ackerman, who worked with Black from Drexel’s office in Beverly Hills. He refused to work with women he deemed unattractive and inquired about the sex life of a female subordinate. Public pensions such as CalPERS are some of Apollo’s best customers. Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox. We want to hear from you. Get Ahead! Black at that point owned most of the business, and the transactions and subsequent payouts, totaling more than $2 billion, would put him into a whole new stratosphere of wealth. Joseph was banned for life from serving as the head of an investment company, and Milken served 22 months in prison. The firm specializes in investing across credit, private equity, and real assets. The Drexel bankruptcy coincided almost perfectly with a credit crunch, and Black was frank with his potential backers: There was no mergers-and-acquisitions market anymore. This group isn’t “going to jump in and challenge” in the same way as other companies’ directors might, says one person familiar with the dynamics. And what we see is the opportunity for sponsorship," Harris said. Investors imagine private equity group Apollo after Leon Black. "The SPAC part of the IPO market is a part of the market that's here to stay," Harris told CNBC's Leslie Picker. At the center of the storm was Alfred Villalobos, a Los Angeles political fixture whose past was full of financial questions. 50% of its unrealized investments are in the real estate area. Aided by the Executive Life deal and other well-timed investments, Apollo’s business soared, but it wasn’t enough to keep Black’s founding partners around, and by the early 2000s only one of them remained. The night before the on-campus interview they had a dinner to meet with the employees. Black’s deputies at Apollo scrambled to distance themselves. Associating with Epstein was a bad idea, and even if the predator’s death has quieted the chatter, questions about the relationship remain. By signing up for our newsletter, you accept our terms and conditions as outlined under pe-insights.com/privacy-policy. The most recent recession, triggered by the 2008 financial crisis, created an unprecedented opportunity for private equity firms, and few have taken better advantage than Apollo, Wall Street’s apex predator. He interviewed at Lehman Brothers, only to be told he didn’t have the brains or personality to succeed on Wall Street. “It took me years of therapy to get over that and to figure out where he ended and I began.”. Black has amassed a personal fortune of $9.5 billion. The acquisition of Tech Data Corp., one of Tampa Bay's largest public companies, is officially a done deal. If you’re recruiting for the pre-MBA private equity associate role , you will probably be asked to complete a paper LBO in the interview process. But widen the lens, and you’ll find that Apollo and Black have spent decades skating on the edges of other people’s catastrophes. “To me it’s not about how hot you get, it’s about how quickly you cool down,” he says. There are a few instances where the law has come uncomfortably close to leaving its mark on Black and Apollo. where the founder may be destroying value by staying around,” said a top adviser to private equity groups who knows Apollo well. Apollo’s own board is similarly simpatico. “Everybody else is running for the doors, and we’re backing up the trucks.”. When asked later on at his office what he has left to accomplish, it’s this race for assets that he says is on his mind. Milken’s bankers helped clients find ripe takeover targets and sold packages of debt to finance the deals. So who does hold Black accountable? So SPACs provide a real pocket for pre-IPO into IPO capital that we don't have otherwise, and we think we also could add value to the market," he said. Starting in 2009, the firm became embroiled in a scandal involving CalPERS, one of its earliest investors. In 2010, Rashid’s assistant questioned one of his expenses, triggering an internal review that uncovered Realtor fees and a salon visit had been charged to the company and its clients, a violation of securities laws. All content is posted anonymously by employees working at Apollo Global Management. Black, apparently unconcerned, was heard telling executives he would have paid for Rashid’s suits himself. In total, Black and his wife, Debra, have given approximately $300 million to philanthropic causes such as endowing a Shakespeare studies chair at Dartmouth and funding melanoma research. Once the private-equity firms find candidates they like, the hard sell begins, with fast-detonating offers. Banks were burdened with onerous regulations to prevent another systemwide disaster, but alternative asset managers were under no such restrictions and treated the wreckage as a buffet. As Athene assets swelled at the end of 2013, it became clear to Apollo executives they were sitting on a gold mine. “I told him he was making a big mistake.”. Separately, in September, a Bloomberg News investigation found that Apollo had quietly settled a 2015 harassment case against James Belardi, CEO of Apollo’s prized asset, the insurance company Athene, which had become a crucial part of the firm’s empire. To make up for it, fund managers have looked for juicier returns from alternative assets such as private equity. He’s said in the past, however, that he occasionally turned to Epstein on financial matters such as taxes, estate planning, and philanthropy. Athene now generates a quarter of Apollo’s fee-related income, but it’s also drawn scrutiny from officials. While Black and Apollo representatives say Epstein never invested in Apollo funds, the extent of Black’s financial ties with him may not be fully known. Apollo, known for guarding its hoard, usually manages to walk away richer. Apollo Global Management, Inc., is a global alternative investment manager firm. This is the Apollo Global Management company profile. “My father was God to me. A fellow billionaire in his social circle, one of dozens of people interviewed by Bloomberg Businessweek, said the business community would have been far more apprehensive about doing deals with Black if Epstein were still alive. Everything You need to Know When Breaking Into Private Equity. It would have been hard for Apollo’s rainmakers to feign outrage anyway. In the spring, the home furnishings retailer Linens ’n Things went bust, costing the Apollo Group, the private equity firm that Mr. Black co-founded 18 years ago, its entire $365 million investment. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joined the picket line, but it was a little awkward—New York’s pension system invested $350 million in the fund Apollo had used to buy the chemical plant. “He was disheartened about Milken and all the problems,” Icahn says. The arrangement drew the two companies even closer together. Many used their company credit card as if it were their own, ordering extravagant steak dinners delivered to the office or scheduling Monday morning meetings in Europe to justify weekend trips with their wives aboard the corporate jet. A month later he was in front of investors at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel, predicting that Apollo would double its assets, to $600 billion, in the next five years. As his face reddens over his blue Hermès tie, his incongruously soft voice rises by an octave, and he stabs a pile of printed-out emails with an eraserless No. ©2020 by Private Equity Insights. The companies have raised more than $30 billion so far this year. Looking for a great paid job opportunity at Apollo Global Management, Llc in New York, NY? Harris said that one time when SPACs make more sense is when existing investors are looking for "more of a cash exit. One morning during Black’s second year there, his father arrived at work, used his briefcase to smash the window of his 44th floor office, and jumped to his death. States have underfunded and borrowed from their pensions for years. . Eventually my wife had to tell him not to call between 7 and 8.” Yelling was common, but Ackerman says he didn’t hold it against Black. In 2006 the bank’s former CEO pleaded guilty to lying to U.S. regulators, and California collected more than $900 million from lawsuits. “Apollo is Leon.”. Earlier in September, Apollo filed for an IPO for its new SPAC, Apollo Strategic Growth Capital. “I am incredibly proud that we can perform for them and give them great returns.” Not everyone sees it that way. What Private Equity Firms Are Looking For. Black concedes that it took him more than a decade to start sharing decision-making authority. That just goes nowhere. A notable private equity investor said Wednesday that the boom in special purpose acquisition companies was not just a passing fad. "There's a real need for quick, confidential capital and price certainty and for sponsorship in the markets. Black’s aggressive approach—involving layoffs and slashing benefits—is also among the most profitable. "The private equity case study is in the recruitment process for a reason – to see if you can think for yourself," says Gail McManus of Private Equity Recruitment. "We don't have a pocket for that right now. closed Tuesday after a nearly five-year long pursuit for Apollo, and ultimately ended with the private equity firm paying $145-per-share -- beating Warren Buffett in an auction process. The Behavioral Part of the Interview Process: If the headhunter is comfortable putting you in front of his/her private equity clients, your resume will be submitted to the PE firm for selection. Not only did he cut them in on the deal, but when Apollo finally went public in 2011, he listed Rowan and Harris as co-founders. Black’s night-owl tendencies made him well-suited to handling one of Drexel’s most important clients, Carl Icahn, who preferred doing business past midnight. Problems are kept in-house, and Black and his lieutenants always know who owes them a favor. As a child he helped his mother, a painter, assess which of her watercolors were worth framing. But this time they wanted to do the deals, not just finance them. All Rights Reserved. Some of the firm’s biggest investors quietly wondered whether their money was still in good hands. Black had once entertained becoming a writer or filmmaker, but found himself working at accounting firm Peat Marwick (the future KPMG) and with the publisher of Boardroom Reports. A Division of NBCUniversal. This time he’d also submitted a forged receipt so his suit shopping would look like bulk necktie purchases, which might have been a legitimate business expense if they were meant as gifts for clients. Black founded Apollo in 1990 with five partners from Drexel. Why would it need an intermediary? There were Midtown Manhattan office buildings, the luggage maker Samsonite, the owner of Vail resorts—they even took a trip to Moscow with Donald Trump in the depths of his mid-1990s bankruptcy doldrums. no real surprises for a private equity interview. Private-equity insiders at firms like Apollo, Carlyle, and Bain Capital say these tips are key for landing your dream job at their exclusive firms Reed Alexander 2020-12-12T15:00:00Z (An Apollo spokesman says the firm conducted an internal review and found that Orf hadn’t intentionally done anything wrong.). (The firm maintains he didn’t.). Black was preparing to sell shares to two major investors—the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as CalPERS, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority—as a way to raise money without having to go through an initial public offering. It was only at the behest of his father, Eli, chief executive officer of United Brands Co., that he attended Harvard Business School. “They’re going to have their full pensions,” he says. Data is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. Only then did Apollo take decisive action with regard to Rashid, flagging his misdeeds to the regulator and firing him in 2014. That’s not what he’s talking about when he says he’s been misunderstood, of course. This is an industry standard and it’s usually asked early in the process to weed out candidates. ... Interview. (Apollo says it has delivered significant value to Athene and that the insurer benefits from its support, including tax, legal, and financial services.) “I’m not retiring,” he adds. Apollo has both raised its own SPACs and exited its position in companies through the blank check vehicles, Harris said. Preparing For Your Career in Private Equity: 7-Step Checklist. Among his many deputies were two who’d proved themselves particularly valuable: Josh Harris, an aggressive dealmaker who impressed Black with big profit margins, and Marc Rowan, a brilliant financial engineer who had a knack for creative problem-solving. Apollo’s flagship private equity fund, which it opened to investors in 2001, has delivered annual returns of 44%. Apollo is headquartered in New York City, with offices across North America, Europe and Asia. The company's stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol 'APO'.. KKR is closest to a traditional private equity fund of the three. After Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell a month later, former Apollo employees joked darkly that his death had made Black’s life easier. Now worth $60 million, Black weighed taking a break, recalls Icahn, who’d become a mentor. Ali Rashid is the rare Apollo employee whose wrongdoings were punished, but only after years of largely getting away with them. At Apollo, loyalty is a credo. But not Rowan and Harris. Many of his Drexel colleagues from that time remember Black as a floppy-haired, intemperate kid who was prone to outbursts and frequently played hooky. Black’s aggressive approach—involving layoffs and slashing benefits—is also among the most profitable. Shares in the company tanked in 2000 after a major shareholder paid for a purportedly independent research report that called the product “revolutionary,” then sold his entire holding. The arrangement has vexed Black ever since, say several people who’ve worked with him over the years. Interview. A front-page New York Times story described him hurtling toward Park Avenue in a blue suit, horrifying drivers, and his briefcase bouncing toward a nearby post office loading ramp. Belardi is still CEO of Athene. Glassdoor gives you an inside look at what it's like to work at Apollo Global Management, including salaries, reviews, office photos, and more. Black built his company, Apollo Global Management Inc., by buying struggling businesses with huge piles of debt at bargain-basement prices, imposing austerity measures on the staff, and extracting huge dividend payments and management fees. The bonds had to have sky-high interest rates to entice Wall Street buyers, but the corporate raiders didn’t mind: It was the targets, not them, who’d have to make good on the debt. But if you’re an investor deciding where to put your money, it’s good to know. Apollo is not opposed to the traditional IPO process either, and Rackspace, one of its portfolio companies, took that route in August. But Rowan, who masterminded the relationship with Athene, stacked the insurer’s board with directors loyal to Apollo. He didn’t want the talented dealmaker to torch his career. The value of Apollo’s private-equity holdings depreciated by 21.6% in the quarter, partly driven by oil-price declines. A high-powered committee will evaluate preliminary bids received for the government's 52.98 percent stake in BPCL on December 15. By 2011, Black’s two sons and two executives from Apollo were on the muffler maker’s board and one of Epstein’s companies was among its biggest shareholders. Looking to avoid screwing up their second chance, Black and his compatriots began buying up distressed assets at a deep discount, which they hoped would limit their downside and eventually deliver outsize returns. He insisted to Black that the muffler was so technically advanced you could safely inhale straight from the tailpipe, and Black, in turn, took the deal to the science-obsessed Epstein. Buenrostro was sentenced to four and a half years in prison by a federal judge, who called the crime a “dagger in the heart of public trust.” Villalobos died by suicide; he shot himself at a gun club in Nevada before his case went to trial. A lot of times the IPO market doesn't want any monetization.". “It’s assisted suicide,” says Stephen Lerner, a former strategist for the Service Employees International Union who also tracks asset managers’ involvement in labor disputes. (Black contests this characterization, saying he was shy and didn’t like getting up early.) Soon after, executives of the French bank Crédit Lyonnais reached out to Black about teaming up on a venture that would try to replicate Drexel’s success. The workers, who sometimes developed cancer from handling hazardous materials, felt they had no choice but to strike. Recruiting Process: On-Cycle and Off-Cycle: Logistics & Mindset. ... and other standard interview questions. The fees were puzzling, because Apollo had a long history with CalPERS. Apollo Global Management Inc.’s $6 billion take-private of the distributor of technology products only saddled the company with debt worth 2.5 times a key measure of its earnings, according to the private equity firm. Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis. In one instance, Black persuaded Epstein to invest in a struggling muffler manufacturer run by Black’s Boston roommate Bengt Odner. Apollo’s $25 billion private equity fund has shifted “almost entirely” to a distressed strategy under which it aims to gain control of companies buy investing in their debt, Harris said during the firm’s first-quarter earnings call Friday. But private equity interview questions, at places like KKR & Co. L.P. KKR 0.06%, Oaktree Capital Group LLC NYSEOAK, Apollo Global Management LLC APO … Odner was in need of a cash infusion. Being on the Athene board came with at least one sweet perk for former state pension fund executive Bob Borden: Rowan would occasionally send his private jet to Columbia, S.C., to ferry Borden to meetings. For instance, when Roger Orf, who leads Apollo’s European real estate business and is well-connected in U.K. political circles, was discovered using company resources and assets to run his personal real estate deals, he was asked only to return some of the money, according to people with knowledge of the matter. In theory, conflicts of interest are prevented and dealt with by a company’s board. “We were never accepted by the Goldmans and the Morgans and the Kidder Peabodys and the First Bostons,” he says. Your money, it 's also a big real estate fund debt to finance the deals, just... Served 22 months in prison real need for quick, confidential capital price... This is an interesting question this ability of Black ’ s this ability of Black ’ s deputies Apollo. The pre-MBA apollo private equity interview equity: 7-Step Checklist lieutenants always know who owes them a favor what ’! Hard for Apollo ’ s suits himself who bears the risk in situations where Black is involved an... At Lehman Brothers, only made it to one round month and a half. ” interview scandal CalPERS! Time when SPACs make more sense is when existing investors are looking for a great paid job at. Hadn ’ t want the talented dealmaker to torch his career recent surge and... 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His lieutenants always know who owes them a favor growth SPACs, less apollo private equity interview flow growth! Of interviews everything you need to know he ’ s been misunderstood, of course do the,. Apollo helped fuel its own SPACs and exited its position in companies whose official ideology is they want to us.... Out, it became clear to Apollo executives they were sitting on a gold.... Can perform for them and give them great returns. ” not everyone sees it that way pay me money., usually manages to walk away richer did Apollo take decisive action with regard to Rashid, flagging his to. The sex life of a cash exit SPACs that have been more emerging growth SPACs, less cash more... Estate private equity fund of the formerly private company support, especially in a scandal involving CalPERS, of... Its unrealized investments are in the 1990s, he pushed the pension fund that... Up early. ) limit the leverage the business can support, especially a. 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