Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 189 Leon Black $9.21B

Random fact: Owns Phaidon, a publishing company with a specialty in art.


Black is chairman and CEO of Apollo Global Management, a New York-based buyout firm he co-founded in 1990 with Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan. The firm specializes in leveraged buyouts, distressed debt, real estate investments and publicly traded funds. He also worked as an investment banker for Drexel Burnham Lambert.

As of :
Last change -$7.42M ( -0.1%)
YTD change +$1.54B ( +20.1%)
Industry Finance
Biggest asset APO US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 68
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Leon Black's net worth of $9.21B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Black's fortune stems from shareholdings and earnings from Apollo Global Management, the private-equity firm he co-founded in 1990. Black owns 23% of the company's AOG Units, according to an August 2019 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the company’s prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Apollo distributed $2.7 billion in carried interest, capital gains, tax agreement payments and dividends to its owners in 2007 and 2008, of which about $1 billion is credited to Black. Apollo held private placements in 2007 and 2008 which raised about $2.1 billion, of which Black is credited with $900 million in proceeds. 

Black collected almost $2 billion from Apollo since the IPO, in the form of Apollo Operating Group distributions, tax benefit payments and profits on Apollo fund investments.

Taxes, market growth and outflows for asset purchases and charity are applied to cash balances.

A portion of Black’s income from the transactions has gone to amass an art collection valued at $1 billion, which includes Edvard Munch’s "The Scream." The valuation is based on an interview with a person familiar with Black's collection who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Black's income from Apollo was re-calculated in January 2020 to take into account distributions on Apollo AOG units and corrections to his earnings prior to the company's IPO. This resulted in $1.6 billion increase in his net worth calculation.

Black declined to comment on his net worth in January 2020.


Birthdate: 7/31/1951
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: Dartmouth College, Harvard Business School

Born in 1951, Leon Black was studying philosophy and history at Dartmouth College when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating his father, then head of United Brands, over a bribery scandal in South America. The investigation resulted in his father's suicidal leap off the Pan Am building in New York City.

After graduating from Dartmouth in 1973, Black enrolled in Harvard Business School, earning an MBA in 1975. Two years later, he took a job at Drexel Burnham, where he helped pioneer the leveraged buyout with Michael Milken. By using debt secured by the future cash flow of the target company, LBOs allowed Black to acquire companies for less up-front equity. Drexel declared bankruptcy in 1990, prompting Black to found his own private equity firm, Apollo Global Management. Early backers included the California Public Employees' Retirement System and the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, which gave Apollo the capital it needed to invest in a varied selection of companies.

In the 1990s, investments focused on buying distressed domestic U.S. firms, many of which Black had some exposure to while at Drexel. In more recent years, Apollo has expanded its geographic and investment scope -- for instance, it runs funds in foreign real estate and collateralized loan obligations in Europe. The company raised money for its first CLO fund in the region in early 2013. It announced in 2014 it would start investing in minerals rights assets with Fort Worth, Texas-based Double Eagle Energy Holdings.

After Black's wife, Debra, was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004, much of his philanthropic giving has gone to the New Melanoma Research Alliance. In addition to his donations to Dartmouth College, he has spent millions of dollars on his art collection, including the 2012 purchase of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for almost $120 million.

  • 1973 Graduates summa cum laude from Dartmouth College.
  • 1975 Receives MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • 1975 Father, Eli Black, commits suicide.
  • 1977 Begins working at Drexel Burnham, where he stays for 13 years.
  • 1990 Co-founds Apollo Management with Marc Rowan and Joshua Harris.
  • 2009 Buys a chalk drawing by Raphael for $47 million.
  • 2011 Celebrates 60th birthday with a private performance by Elton John.
  • 2012 Buys Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for almost $120 million.