Bruce Wasserstein Net Worth & Biography

Popular Name: Bruce Wasserstein
Real Name: Bruce Jay Wasserstein
Birth Date: December 25, 1947
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York,  United States
Age: Died on October 14, 2009 (aged 61)
Gender: Male
Nationality/Citizenship: American
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Sexuality: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Spouse(s): Laura Lynelle Killin ​(m. 1968; div. 1974)​
Christine Parrott (m. N/A; div. 1992)
Claude Wasserstein (m. 1996; div. 2008)
Angela Chao ​(m. 2009)
Children: 7
Profession: Businessman, Entrepreneur, Investor
Years active: N/A
Net Worth: $3 Billion
Last Updated: 2022

The American banker and writer Bruce Wasserstein, who made a name for himself in the American banking industry, left a mark in the financial services industry. With his longtime friend and business colleague Joseph Perella, he proved that an investment bank’s most valuable assets are the people who have the tenacity and talent to realize the ideas they come up with. The duo worked at the investment bank First Boston in New York together until 1988 when they quit their jobs to open their own investment banking outfit, Wasserstein Perella. In less than 5 years of working at Wassertein Perella, Joseph switched alliance to another investment banking firm, Morgan Stanley, but Bruce continued to drive his business until he sold it to Dresdner Bank for roughly $1.5 billion in 2000. Credited with handling thousands of deals with a total value of over $250 billion during his working lifetime, Bruce left Dresdner soon after the takeover and started working at Lazard, where he was chairman and chief executive officer until his passing in 2009.

Early Life: Childhood, Family, Education

He was born Bruce Jay Wasserstein on December 25, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, the United States to Morris, a wealthy Jewish immigrant from Poland who managed a ribbon-making business, and his wife, Lola Schleifer, a dancer and the daughter of the renowned playwright Simon Schleifer. His sister, Wendy, a playwright, won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony award for “The Heidi Chronicles”. When Wendy passed away in 2006, Bruce adopted her 6-year-old daughter. His other siblings were Georgette Levis, Abner Wasserstein, and Sandra Wasserstein Meyer.

Bruce Wasserstein attended the Yeshiva of Flatbush for high school, as well as the University of Michigan, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Law School. He also spent a year at the University of Cambridge.

Professional Life: Banking Career

After completing his studies, Bruce went on to work for the law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore based in Manhattan. He moved on from there and joined First Boston in 1977, and thus started his investment banking career, specializing in mergers and acquisitions. His reputation was sealed in the year 1989 when he counseled the venture capitalist company Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) on its procurement of RJR Nabisco, a legendary business deal that was documented in a book and subsequently made into a film.

Bruce’s methods and demeanor were dissimilar from conventional Wall Street. He neither looked like an investment banker nor sounded like one, appearing more like an uncoordinated academic, in contrast to the immaculate manners and appearances of most of his Ivy League peers. Yet in 2002, he was recruited by Michel David-Weill, the then chairman, who realized Lazard needed a positive change in order to compete with the most profitable of the investment banks.

Bruce demanded that the partnership structure that had served Lazard for over a century should be consigned to history and set about a restructuring that would include offering shares to the public, against the opposition of David-Weill. He then went on a hiring spree, enticing in former colleagues with eye-popping salary packages. Soon, the single-minded Bruce won his bitter power struggle with David-Weill, and floated the company into a bull market in the year 2005. David-Weill vacated his job as chairman and left Bruce in full control. His negotiating techniques earned him the nickname of “Bid ’em up Bruce” due to his seeming ability to persuade clients to pay more than they wished for any assets his clients happened to be selling.

The businessman had a lifelong interest in journalism and in that sense, owned a clutch of media titles, including the New York magazine and several law journals. He controlled Wasserstein & Co., a private equity company with investments in a number of industries.

After he left First Boston in 1988, he co-founded the investment bank boutique Wasserstein Perella & Co. He later sold the business in 2000 Dresdner Bank of Germany for around $1.4 billion in stock.

Personal Life: Relationships, Divorces, Children

He met his first wife, Lynne Killin, during his time living in Michigan, and they married when Wasserstein was just 20. Following a divorce in 1974, he married a psychotherapist named Christine Parrott. With his fortunes very much on the rise, the couple moved into a large apartment on Fifth Avenue. They divorced in 1992 after three children. He dated an art dealer named Lorinda Ash, and later married a young Emmy Award-winning CBS producer, Claude Becker, in 1996. They had two sons together before calling it quit in 2008.

Mr. Wasserstein, who was married four times and had six biological children, is survived by his fourth wife Angela Chao, and seven children. He died in Manhattan on October 14, 2009 at the age of 61, three days after he was admitted to a hospital with an irregular heartbeat.

Bruce Wasserstein Net Worth: Salary, Assets, Income Sources

According to a report published by Forbes, Bruce Wasserstein’s net worth was approximately $3 billion at the time he breathed his last. He was a successful American investment banker who earned his fortune from the American financial services industry where he established and controlled several firms and completed numerous money-spinning deals. He was involved in thousands of deals that have been estimated to be worth a cumulative $250 billion, including the mergers that created UBS, Time Warner, Morgan Stanley, and more.

As of 2008, he owned a lavish apartment at 927 Fifth Avenue in New York City as well as an estate in Santa Barbara in California. His other assets included a fancy home in Paris, France, a house at 38 Belgrave Square in London, England, and an Atlantic oceanfront estate in East Hampton.

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