Egon Durban, the co-CEO of private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, is a newly-minted billionaire who has been drawing comparisons to Warren Buffett, with membership in some of golf’s most exclusive clubs and an inside track to the Oscars.
A Texas native who made his name acquiring and then selling Skype, he has rapidly become the lead dealmaker on investments spanning entertainment, media, and technology.
Under Durban, Silver Lake’s name has recently been associated with pandemic-era investments into social media platform Twitter, home-for-rental company Airbnb, and travel site Expedia. The investments have been flashier than the staid but dependable investments upon which Silver Lake made its name, backing the operations of software and hardware companies.
And this week, Klarna, which was founded in 2005 and specialises in “buy now, pay later” retail, announced it raised $US650 million at a $US10.65 billion valuation from Silver Lake and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. The deal made Klarna Europe’s most valuable private fintech company and the fourth most valuable worldwide.
Silver Lake has been raising its latest fund â€” one source had said in June it could settle on as much as $US18 billion â€” making it one of the largest buyout funds focused exclusively on tech investments, with the opportunity to reshape entire industries.
In June, Business Insider interviewed more than 40 people close to Durban and Silver Lake, including those who do or have worked directly with him and across from him, to understand his management style and how he’s been able to amass his power inside the notoriously media-shy firm.