Updated: Wall Street investment banker Bruce Wasserstein died unexpectedly Wednesday afternoon, just days after being hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat. Wasserstein, 61, was chairman and CEO of Lazard, as well as chairman of private equity firm Wasserstein & Co. While he may be better known for his role in some of the most hyped M&A deals of an over-hyped time, including the KKR takeover of RJR Nabisco, Wasserstein was a serious investor in media. He owned New York magazine, while Wasserstein & Co. holds a 50 percent stake in Penton Media Co. and sold American Lawyer Media to Incisive Media in 2007. Wasserstein was chairman of The Deal LLC, which is owned by U.S. Equity Partners, a fund sponsored by the PE firm. Carl Icahn brought in Wasserstein and Lazard during his efforts to make over Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), a round Wasserstein didn’t win.
Frequently mentioned as a possible media investor or buyer, most recently, Wasserstein was on the short list of potential bidders for BusinessWeek, now being acquired by Bloomberg L.P. More detailed accounts of his life can be at NYT, WSJ and Bloomberg.