Leon Black sees Apollo lose value on first day

APOLLO boss Leon Black, who founded the private equity giant in 1990, is a man well used to the trials and tribulations of company stocks.

During the financial crisis his personal fortune is believed to have plunged from $4bn (£2.5bn) to $1bn as shares in Apollo and other investments rode stormy waters.

Bearing this in mind he will not be overly worried by his firm’s shaky performance in its first day trading, with Apollo falling 2.1 per cent in afternoon trading on its maiden day yesterday.

The news will, however, still come as a disappointment after Apollo pulled off a remarkable IPO, pricing at the top of its indicative range and selling an additional 13 per cent of its equity. It raised a total of $565m – a feat made all the more impressive by the tough IPO market. The sale values the whole company at $7bn – more than some expected but still far behind fellow publicly listed private equity groups such as KKR at $12bn and Blackstone at around $21bn.

The IPO priced Apollo at about 5.8 times its 2010 adjusted income.

Black, a former banker with Drexel Burnham Lambert, is known as a charismatic leader with an eye for a deal and an appetite for risk.

In the lead-up to the financial crisis he invested $8.1bn of equity in 10 buyouts. But just as his personal fortune took a hammering after 2008, so did his portfolio, and some of the assets, particularly property-based ones, are still in recovery.

Most, however, have bounced back strongly, giving Black the confidence to take Apollo to market.

His art collection is the envy of curators around the world, taking in everything from past masters to impressionists. The Harvard graduate is married with four children.

Advising his firm on its IPO were Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.