The deal of the century

Len Blavatnik, with a fortune that is estimated to be around $17 billion, is a Ukrainian born American citizen who lives in London and is both a businessman and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known for large strategic acquisitions with almost every Blavatnik company a success story. But more than any other, he is known for what some investors call the “deal of the century”.

The deal was for the purchase of shares of Rotterdam based plastics manufacturer and petroleum refiner LyondellBasell. The company was in trouble and along with Leon Black, Marc Rowan, Joshua Harris of Apollo Global Management, Len Blavatnik made significant investments. The decision was a smart one as by November 2015 the $2 billion investment grew to $12 billion. Leon Black, Marc Rowan, and Joshua Harris all sold their stakes, netting massive returns on the original investment.

This is where the story gets interesting. Against all advice from his advisors and those in Wall Street, Blavatnik continued to invest in the company. Through his holdings company Access Industries, he invested an additional $2.37 billion in the refiner. Speaking to Forbes at the 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.”

His additional share purchase netted a personal profit of $8 billion making it one of the greatest, if not the greatest, deal in the history of Wall Street.