In November 2015 billionaires Leon Black, Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris of Apollo Global Management finished cashing out on the what they believed was the biggest equity deal in history. It was an amazing score. The Blavatnik company had converted their $2 billion investment into a sixfold increase of $12 billion.
They made a net rate of return of %30 percent on the shares of LyondellBasell. The Rotterdam based plastics manufacturer and petroleum refiner. The company had risen from bankruptcy just two years ago and they believed that now was the time to cash out.
However, while Apollo was selling billions of dollars in shares there was another who continued to buy into the company. In 2013 Len Blavatnik spent $575 million purchasing 8.5 million of Apollo’s LyondellBasell shares, an unparalleled bet on an investment that had already helped make him one of the richest men in the world, and one that had many scratching their heads at the time.
In a rare interview with Forbes, he spoke of that time:
“It’s an easy argument against it: If Apollo is selling, why are you buying? Before every one of my additional purchases of stock in LyondellBasell, some people around me told me it was a mistake and that I should sell instead of buying more.”
Len Blavatnik, access industries continued to invest an additional $2.37 billions dollars in the company. All this while his advisors and others cautioned against the move. Wall street calls it the greatest deal of all time now as that investment is now worth over $10 billion netting Blavatnik a personal profit of $8 billion.
Len Blavatnik needs no introduction. He is the man at the top of Access Industries and world renowned philanthropist with contributions like the Blavatnik Harvard grant.