CSFB Dealmaker Less Gifted Negotiator at Home

Bruce Wasserstein, dealmaker, CSFB

Bruce Wasserstein

He was known as «bid 'em up Bruce» in his heyday as a mergers-and-acquisitions banker for Credit Suisse First Boston, a reference to his ability to get acquirers to raise their offers – and the investment banking fee, as a result.

Bruce Wasserstein, who died in 2009, built the Swiss bank's M&A practice into one of the most powerful on Wall Street before leaving to form Wasserstein Perella with fellow banker Joe Perella in 1998.

The idiosyncratic Wasserstein, whose habit of negotiating even the tiniest details, such as where to meet, infuriated colleagues, continued doing deals for the rest of his career: he and Perella sold Wasserstein Perella to then-Dresdner Bank at the top of the market in 2000 and later joined Lazard, which he eventually took public in 2005.

No Negotiator at Home

The banker was apparently a less gifted negotiator at home than at CSFB: a bitter legal fight has emerged over his youngest daughter's rights to the estimated $2.2 billion fortune left behind by Wasserstein, who also enjoyed doing deals on his own dime via a private equity vehicle, such as buying «New York Magazine». 

Wasserstein juggled four marriages, five biological children, an adopted daughter and an illegitimate daughter born shortly before his last marriage – and shortly before his death seven years ago.

David vs Goliath

The mother of Wasserstein's youngest daughter, who is now seven and diagnosed with a mild form of autism, claims that Wasserstein put in writing that he wanted his child born out of wedlock to receive a share equal to her half-siblings – or one-sixth of an estimated $2.2 billion fortune.

The woman, Erin McCarthy, settled financial claims with Wasserstein two months before he died, with the banker ensuring his estate would provide for a similar quality of upbringing as his other children enjoyed.

McCarthy now claims that Wasserstein's older children have ganged up on their youngest half-sibling in «the manipulation of certain trusts left to a seven year old autistic child by her adult, multi-millionaire high society half-siblings.»



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