40 insiders reveal the meteoric rise of Silver Lake’s Egon Durban, the tech-focused PE firm’s No. 1 dealmaker who strong-armed his way to the top and is about to get $18 billion more to invest

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Egon Durban became co-CEO of Silver Lake Partners in December, giving him more control of the tech-focused private-equity firm he joined as a young banker in 1999.
As Durban rose through the firm, he pushed Silver Lake to expand its investment targets outside of tech and into live events, travel, and content, industries that are particularly challenged by the coronavirus pandemic.
Business Insider spoke to more than 40 people who have or currently work with Durban, or across from him on deals, to understand his rise, including a moment when some of those sources said he led an effort to push the firm’s founders for control.
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It seems like nothing can touch Egon Durban.

Durban, the co-CEO of private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, is a newly-minted billionaire drawing comparisons to Warren Buffett, with membership in some of golf’s most exclusive clubs and an inside track to the Oscars. A Texas native who made his name acquiring and then selling Skype, he has rapidly become the lead dealmaker on investments spanning entertainment, media, and technology.

When Twitter shareholders demanded the ousting of its CEO, Jack Dorsey, Durban stepped in and put up $1 billion. The lead instigator, Elliott Management’s Jesse Cohn, settled his campaign. And when home-for-rental company Airbnb faced a dropoff in business, Durban again pulled out his private-equity wallet.

Business Insider interviewed more than 40 people close to Durban and Silver Lake, including those who do or have worked directly with him and across from him, to get inside the media-shy firm and understand how Durban will drive its investment choices for years to come.

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They described how one of the most prolific private-equity executives climbed the ladder in an organization, pushed for more control, and then proceeded to put his mark on the firm.

Read more: Silver Lake has been plowing money into bets like Airbnb, Twitter, and Waymo. Here’s a look inside why it’s being called the Warren Buffett of tech.

One person who attended Silver Lake’s annual gathering — a virtual event this year, rather than at a San Francisco hotel — noted that it was Durban who spoke for the majority of the time allotted. In the past, according to the repeat attendee, the air time would have been more evenly split among top executives.

“It was the epitome of how the firm has transformed from what it was to what it is today,” the person told Business Insider. “It’s become the Egon Durban show.”

Flying too close to the sun

Already, Silver Lake is invested in Hollywood, media and global sports, and there’s a clear sense that its expansion has only just begun as competitors such as SoftBank Group retreat from a series of losing investments and Buffett stands on the sidelines.

The firm is almost finished raising its latest fund — one source said it could settle on as much as $18 billion — making it one of the largest buyout …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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