Finance

'I'm Going To Buy This Company, And I'm Going To Fire These Arrogant Men.'

Lynn Tilton, CEO Patriarch Partners.
Courtney Grant Winston/PR Newswire via AP

To the best of our recollection, Lynn Tilton is the only private equity mogul ever to make a salty joke — "I had fond memories of what I had once done with tassels" — in a Planet Money podcast.

(Context: Tilton's private equity firm, Patriarch Partners, owned a distressed firm with excess tassel inventory.)

Tilton told us some pretty compelling things about her work buying up failing companies. It's made her rich and, she says, saved firms that otherwise would have gone bust.

So we were interested to see Tilton and her firm profiled in this week's New York Magazine. It's a long piece, but this passage gives you the gist:

Patriarch currently claims over $8 billion in annual revenue, and Tilton says the company has made her a billionaire as well as the owner of more businesses than any other woman in America. These claims can't easily be verified, but they're impressive enough that Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a dean at the Yale School of Management, has invited her to speak on a leadership panel, which is why she has helicoptered up to New Haven today.There are three other executives on the panel, but Tilton quickly takes over, telling salty yarns about dinner at Silvio Berlusconi's house ("I'm grateful for being too old to sleep with him; it makes for a less difficult exit"), hot-tubbing with "the Dubai leader's son," and the time she grabbed Tony Blair's rear, then lectured him on industrial policy.

"We need an industrial base," she tells the audience. "And that's what I told Tony Blair. I let him know I thought the demise of the U.K. was based on the fact that they had let go of all of their industry."

For more:

Listen to our podcast on Tilton: "A Private Equity Boss In Four-Inch Stilettos"

Read more from this week's NY Mag: "Wall Street Won"

By the way: The headline of this post is also from Tilton — that's probably obvious by now — as quoted in the NY Mag profile.

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