(Black contests this characterization, saying he was shy and didn’t like getting up early.) 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. The deal sparked at least a decade of litigation, after it was later revealed that Crédit Lyonnais, owned by the French government, also bought Executive Life through a series of entities, a violation of California law preventing foreign governments from investing in domestic insurers. The SEC determined Apollo had been tricked, and the company wasn’t charged with wrongdoing. This is an industry standard and it’s usually asked early in the process to weed out candidates. Year 1 June – August:Fresh graduates join the investment banks / consulting firms and begin their training Year 1 August – September:Headhunters begin to reach out to schedule initial meetings where you meet with them to go over your firm preferences and for them to get to know you as a candid… But widen the lens, and you’ll find that Apollo and Black have spent decades skating on the edges of other people’s catastrophes. © 2020 CNBC LLC. Black’s aggressive approach—involving layoffs and slashing benefits—is also among the most profitable. 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. The relationship between the companies is so intricate, says one former employee, that it would take regulators a year to understand it. In this way, yes, Apollo is one of the least risky bets out there. It was only at the behest of his father, Eli, chief executive officer of United Brands Co., that he attended Harvard Business School. 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. “I am incredibly proud that we can perform for them and give them great returns.” Not everyone sees it that way. 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. To make up for it, fund managers have looked for juicier returns from alternative assets such as private equity. Drexel had put together some of the debt packages, and Black knew which companies were worth owning a piece of. If selected, you will begin a typical interview process that will most likely consist of 2 to 4 rounds of interviews. I worked in their London office. 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. Investors imagine private equity group Apollo after Leon Black. 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. 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. If you're interviewing for a job in a private equity firm, then you will almost certainly come across a case study.Be warned: recruiters say this is the hardest part of the private equity interview process. Apollo helped fuel its own growth by funneling Athene’s money into Apollo funds and collecting management fees on the investments. Why Apollo and KKR Are Private-Equity Buys ... credit strategies, real estate, private equity and more. Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis. Belardi is still CEO of Athene. Learn more about the 2021 Mba/Graduate Summer Associate | Real Estate Private Equity position now! That’s not always the outcome, but when it is, creditors are on the hook. 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. In the months before Drexel declared bankruptcy in 1990, Black received the biggest bonus at the firm that year: $16.6 million. 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. If anything has made Apollo seemingly risk-immune, it’s this ability of Black’s to emerge clean from a quagmire. 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. “We’ve actually made our most money during recessions,” he says, growing agitated. After prices tanked, California’s insurance regulator was forced to seize the company to protect policyholders at risk of losing their coverage. In 2006 the bank’s former CEO pleaded guilty to lying to U.S. regulators, and California collected more than $900 million from lawsuits. “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. “From a risk/reward point of view,” he says, “we have the best game in town.”. Now 68, he became chairman of New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2018, a coronation of sorts among the wealthiest of the wealthy. The night before the on-campus interview they had a dinner to meet with the employees. Get close enough to the patriarch, and you’re almost as unlikely to wind up in trouble as he is. Preparing For Your Career in Private Equity: 7-Step Checklist. Looking for a great paid job opportunity at Apollo Global Management, Llc in New York, NY? “Everybody else is running for the doors, and we’re backing up the trucks.”. Odner was in need of a cash infusion. no real surprises for a private equity interview. Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and services. That compares with a 20% drop in the S&P 500 index. 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. (Apollo says its expense policies are “clear and strictly enforced.”). “They’re going to have their full pensions,” he says. Below we lay out the general timeline for the pre-MBA private equity candidates. Black, apparently unconcerned, was heard telling executives he would have paid for Rashid’s suits himself. Private equity: Apollo’s lucrative but controversial bet on insurance. Blackstone is a private equity fund, it 's also a big real estate fund. He’s said in the past, however, that he occasionally turned to Epstein on financial matters such as taxes, estate planning, and philanthropy. What Private Equity Firms Are Looking For. The publicly traded shares of the SPAC then become the shares of the formerly private company. “I’m not retiring,” he adds. Within four years, Black made partner. 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. But if you’re an investor deciding where to put your money, it’s good to know. (The firm maintains he didn’t.). Why would it need an intermediary? 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. Meanwhile, Apollo was busy building Athene, the insurer that would become its main source of cash. I interviewed at Apollo Global Management in January 2020. As it turned out, it didn’t: The money was part of a kickback scheme. 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. “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. Some of the firm’s biggest investors quietly wondered whether their money was still in good hands. 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. 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. (The Apollo spokesman says independent directors chair Apollo’s audit and conflict committees.) 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. The firm specializes in investing across credit, private equity, and real assets. 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. “We’ve seen the pace of that fund go up significantly in the last month and a half.” 6. The acquisition of Tech Data Corp., one of Tampa Bay's largest public companies, is officially a done deal. During the past 10 years, its assets grew sixfold, to more than $320 billion. Ali Rashid is the rare Apollo employee whose wrongdoings were punished, but only after years of largely getting away with them. But memories are short on Wall Street, and with enough zeros, almost anything can be forgiven. "The SPAC part of the IPO market is a part of the market that's here to stay," Harris told CNBC's Leslie Picker. The label “Year 1” refers to the first year of the Analyst / Consultant program. We have a value-oriented approach across private equity… We want to hear from you. "There's a real need for quick, confidential capital and price certainty and for sponsorship in the markets. Problems are kept in-house, and Black and his lieutenants always know who owes them a favor. Starting in 2009, the firm became embroiled in a scandal involving CalPERS, one of its earliest investors. “That’s how it works. New York City-based private equity firm Apollo … “To me it’s not about how hot you get, it’s about how quickly you cool down,” he says. 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 would have been hard for Apollo’s rainmakers to feign outrage anyway. Apollo’s flagship private equity fund, which it opened to investors in 2001, has delivered annual returns of 44%. . Pride of Private Equity: Joshua Harris An interview with Joshua Harris, Co-Founder & Senior Managing Director, Apollo Global Management LLC. Apollo has both raised its own SPACs and exited its position in companies through the blank check vehicles, Harris said. In future, a higher proportion of Blackstone's investments will be in traditional private equity, however. The arrangement drew the two companies even closer together. Sent by a recruiter, only made it to one round. “I told him he was making a big mistake.”. Villalobos was an old friend of Apollo’s. He says he’s proud that his firm is helping to ensure the retirement incomes of public employees. On top of everything else, Black gave $10 million to Epstein’s charity, and according to someone familiar with his thinking, would sometimes take Epstein’s tax ideas to his own lawyers, asking them why they hadn’t come up with the strategies Epstein produced. 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. 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. Private Equity Interviews. It's a VERY US-centric company. “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. 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. In a statement to Bloomberg News, Apollo and Athene said the matter was discussed, and an investigation found no evidence of harassment. 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. Who bears the risk in situations where Black is involved is an interesting question. Athene now generates a quarter of Apollo’s fee-related income, but it’s also drawn scrutiny from officials. Give me equity, pay me enough money, you get loyalty.”. 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. “Apollo is Leon.”. The process took 3+ months. All rights reserved. Interview. Apollo is not opposed to the traditional IPO process either, and Rackspace, one of its portfolio companies, took that route in August. He refused to work with women he deemed unattractive and inquired about the sex life of a female subordinate. 2 pencil. In theory, conflicts of interest are prevented and dealt with by a company’s board. Associating with Epstein was a bad idea, and even if the predator’s death has quieted the chatter, questions about the relationship remain. But Black, keeper of its most important clients, including the cantankerous Icahn, was now invaluable. I applied through a recruiter. All content is posted anonymously by employees working at Apollo Global Management. 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. At Apollo, loyalty is a credo. 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. The strike lasted an impressive 105 days through the dead of winter, but in the end, Apollo, which had been paying itself millions of dollars to oversee the ailing company, held all the cards. A notable private equity investor said Wednesday that the boom in special purpose acquisition companies was not just a passing fad. At Dartmouth College, from which he graduated in 1973, he was a Shakespeare devotee and philosophy major. Apollo was by no means the only private equity firm to take advantage of the 2008 financial crisis. In 2016, Apollo moved to cut retirement and health benefits for workers at a chemical plant it owned in upstate New York. But Rowan, who masterminded the relationship with Athene, stacked the insurer’s board with directors loyal to Apollo. Credit rating companies have said thin profit margins limit the leverage the business can support, especially in a crisis. They were still the same guys who’d thrived in Drexel’s cutthroat culture. 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. Milken’s bankers helped clients find ripe takeover targets and sold packages of debt to finance the deals. The workers, who sometimes developed cancer from handling hazardous materials, felt they had no choice but to strike. In one instance, Black persuaded Epstein to invest in a struggling muffler manufacturer run by Black’s Boston roommate Bengt Odner. “We invest in companies whose official ideology is they want to destroy us.”. (An Apollo spokesman says Athene’s board is diverse and accomplished.) At the center of the storm was Alfred Villalobos, a Los Angeles political fixture whose past was full of financial questions. (Via a spokesman, Black and his co-founders deny this.) Apollo, known for guarding its hoard, usually manages to walk away richer. 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. 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. where the founder may be destroying value by staying around,” said a top adviser to private equity groups who knows Apollo well. Black founded Apollo in 1990 with five partners from Drexel. In announcing a $52.7 million settlement, the SEC said Apollo had “failed to take appropriate action to protect its clients,” resulting in “repeated misconduct.” The spokesman for Apollo, which neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in the matter, said “no wrongdoing was identified except with respect to Mr. Rashid, who was a clear outlier.” Rashid is fighting the SEC’s allegations. All Rights Reserved. (Apollo says it has delivered significant value to Athene and that the insurer benefits from its support, including tax, legal, and financial services.) 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.Credit rating companies have said thin profit margins limit the leverage the business can support, especially in a crisis. “Year 2” corresponds to the second year of the program. Interview / Case Study Framework: Real Interview … Interview. Public pensions such as CalPERS are some of Apollo’s best customers. Two months after Epstein died, Black celebrated MoMA’s reopening after a substantial renovation, an effort to which he personally gave $40 million. Black was never accused of wrongdoing. Harris estimated that SPACs have gone from 3% of the market to 20% during the recent surge. Black has often tried to ease the cognitive dissonance by reminding pension fund managers that he comes from a family of teachers. He interviewed at Lehman Brothers, only to be told he didn’t have the brains or personality to succeed on Wall Street. 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. In the end, CalPERS CEO Federico Buenrostro admitted to taking bribes and gifts from Villalobos, as well as falsifying documents given to Apollo that indicated CalPERS had approved payments to the middleman. 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. The insurer has made Apollo the envy of Wall Street. Once the private-equity firms find candidates they like, the hard sell begins, with fast-detonating offers. Suicides, you know, aren’t usually committed by gods,” Black says. Private equity has been capturing more and more attention as many investors look beyond hedge funds to private equity in search of alpha. The companies have raised more than $30 billion so far this year. Recruiting Process: On-Cycle and Off-Cycle: Logistics & Mindset. 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. Now worth $60 million, Black weighed taking a break, recalls Icahn, who’d become a mentor. 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. He offered to make it easy for the state: He’d buy the entire debt portfolio for $3.25 billion. He didn’t want the talented dealmaker to torch his career. That’s not what he’s talking about when he says he’s been misunderstood, of course. . Apollo Global Management co … 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. 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. Some current and former employees compare their early days there to pledging a fraternity. Joshua Harris, Apollo Global Management Co-Founder speaks during the 2020 Delivering Alpha conference on Sept. 30th, 2020. 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. Black’s deputies at Apollo scrambled to distance themselves. Black’s aggressive approach—involving layoffs and slashing benefits—is also among the most profitable. 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. "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. Apollo Global Management is one of the largest alternative asset managers serving many of the world’s most prominent investors. Apollo is headquartered in New York City, with offices across North America, Europe and Asia. Apollo’s own board is similarly simpatico. Says Gary Fontana, a trial lawyer hired to win back funds for Executive Life policyholders, “That’s the thing that really got Apollo rocketing off.”. It’s a pattern that’s defined his career: One way or another, Black always wins. “We were never accepted by the Goldmans and the Morgans and the Kidder Peabodys and the First Bostons,” he says. Hours after last week’s announcement that Apollo Global Management was investigating the relationship between its founder and chairman Leon Black and the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, rank-and-file employees received an email that seemed to mark a passage of power at the formidable Wall Street firm. Josh Harris of Apollo … Private equity has been a cornerstone of Apollo’s business since its founding in 1990. There are a few instances where the law has come uncomfortably close to leaving its mark on Black and Apollo. Cons. If you are an investment professional, this is a great place to advance your career in the private equity sector. 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. 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