Ted Forstmann, one of the legendary investors who was an early pioneer in the leverage-buyout business has died at the age of 71 in his New York City home after battling with brain cancer. Forstmann was the principal of Forstmann Little & Company.
He is widely regarded as the source for the quip that resulted in the title of the book, Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. Though he is well-known for quite a few buyouts, including those of Dr. Pepper, 24 Hour Fitness, and Gulfstream Aerospace, Forstmann was one of the many legendary investors who lost a lot of money betting on the telecom companies at the turn of the century. He was one of the key characters in my book, Broadbandits.
He had invested in XO Communications and McLeodUSA. He started with a $1 billion investment in McLeodUSA of Cedar Rapids, Ind. and in the end, invested almost $3 billion in telecom companies. Those investments resulted in the State of Connecticut suing Forstmann Little. His firm has not had a web presence since 2000, when it shuttered its website. He was most recently the CEO and chairman of sports management agency, IMG. The New York Times has reactions from his peers in the buyout business.