Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill is returning to finance, spotting an opportunity to profit from the global financial collapse by setting up a private equity fund to purchase dilapidated financial firms and assets. Hmm…will Citigroup be its first acquisition?
WSJ: Mr. Weill, who pulled off the deal that created Citigroup a decade ago and became its chairman and chief executive, is in talks about launching a private-equity fund that would invest in beaten-down financial companies and assets, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Weill’s potential partners are Michael Klein, who was co-head of Citigroup’s investment bank until he left in July, and Michael Masin, former chief operating officer at the New York company.
Such ventures often fizzle before getting off the ground, so it isn’t clear if Mr. Weill will go through with the plan. In recent weeks, though, Mr. Weill’s team has reached out to potential investors, including sovereign-wealth funds, outlining their strategy and gauging interest in putting money into such a fund, people familiar with the discussions said. The tentative goal is to raise about $5 billion…
Mr. Klein is a charismatic investment banker with a bulging Rolodex. Since leaving Citigroup, he has advised the U.K. government on handling the financial crisis and recently landed a fellowship at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.
Mr. Masin got to know Mr. Weill during their time together as trustees at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Weill recruited him to join Citigroup’s board and later hired him as chief operating officer. Mr. Masin left Citigroup in 2004 and is now a senior partner at law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP.
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