Hill is the fifth billionaire to be minted at Blackstone. The company was started in 1985 by Steven Schwarzman and Peter G. Peterson, who left the firm in 2008 to pursue philanthropic causes. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, has a net worth of $10.7 billion and is the world’s 114th-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Tony James, Blackstone’s president, has a stake valued at more than $1.1 billion and sold more than $275 million of Blackstone stock since the firm’s 2007 initial public offering. Hill has collected more than $300 million in share sales, dividends and compensation since 2006. Jonathan Gray, the 44- year-old who runs the company’s real-estate business, emerged as a billionaire last year.
Blackstone has been the most successful of the large private-equity firms to expand beyond leveraged buyouts, gathering assets under management of $272 billion.
The firm’s stakes in companies from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. to Pinnacle Foods Inc. have soared since the financial crisis as Blackstone improved operations and unprecedented central bank stimulus across the world inflated the price of real estate, stocks and art.
Hill’s business investing in and backing hedge funds has more than doubled since 2008 to $58 billion. Gray’s real estate group is also the largest of its type in the world with $81 billion and the firm has a $66 billion credit unit.
After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1973, Hill worked in mergers and acquisitions, rising to co-chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
He became a “steely M&A gladiator who’d been in the thick of some of the most memorable hostile takeover battles of the 1980s, siding with Federated Department Stores in its defense against Robert Campeau and working with Ross Johnson, the CEO of RJR Nabisco, in the fight for control there,” according to “King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone” by Bloomberg News’s David Carey and John E. Morris.=
Hill, known for wearing bespoke Paul Stuart suits and a slick, combed-back hairstyle, “dressed the part to perfection,” according to the book. “Rumor had it that Gordon Gekko in the movie ‘‘Wall Street’’ was styled after Tom Hill,” the authors wrote.
He’d also been an architect of some of the most iconic friendly mergers of the age: Bendix Corp.’s $1.8 billion merger with Allied Corp. in 1983, American Stores’ $2.5 billion takeover of Lucky Stores in 1988, and Time Inc.’s $14 billion merger with Warner Communications in 1989.
Hill joined Blackstone in 1993 and has grown Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, which invests in and backs hedge funds, to be the largest allocator in the $2.7 trillion industry.