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Perella is head of Perella Weinberg partners, a boutique M&A advisory firm.


Brooklyn-born Perella cut his teeth as a member of First Boston Group's famed M&A group, and has been a household name (at least in finance households) since playing a role in one of history's biggest takeovers, the $31 billion deal to acquire RJR Nabisco in 1988. Perella and fellow First Boston alum Bruce Wasserstein left to found their own firm in 1988, walking out the door on a Friday afternoon with nearly their entire department in tow and starting the following Monday from Herb Wachtell and Marty Lipton's Midtown offices. Wassperella—as it was soon called—quickly became a powerhouse: It took just two years to reach the top of the M&A charts. But five years later, the firm fell apart after a falling-out between the two partners. Perella landed at Morgan Stanley, where he headed up investment banking until walking out in 2005 after a bruising battle with then-CEO Phil Purcell over the future of the firm. He co-founded Perella Weinberg in 2006.

Of note

Possibly the most expensive start-up in Wall Street history, Perella Weinberg raised more than $1.1 billion and hired 22 big-name bankers as partners before setting up shop in one of the most expensive office buildings in Midtown. (The financing came from 11 seed investors, including Dubai's ruling family and Peter Weinberg, a former Goldman Sachs exec whose grandfather, Sidney Weinberg, ran Goldman for nearly 40 years.) With an all-star team assembled—including former Morgan Stanley hotshot Tarek ("Terry") Abdul-Meguid and Robert Boldt—big things were expected, particularly since Perella had been landing clients even before he'd opened the doors. (Just months after leaving Morgan Stanley, Perella advised MBNA on its $35 billion acquisition by Bank of America; the result: a $40 million fee.) But despite Perella's involvement in a few big transactions—Unibail in its $19 billion acquisition of Rodamco Europe, for example, and Pathmark on its sale to A&P for nearly $700 million—rivals have pointed out that the firm has yet to pose any serious competition just yet. More recently, Perella Weinberg took on Nelson Peltz as a client, the raider who tried to break up Cadbury Schweppes recently.

Keeping score

Perella's net worth is estimated at $800 million.

Pet cause

Perella donated $10 million to his alma mater, Lehigh, to endow the department of finance. He also sits on the university's board of trustees.


Perella is married to Amy, a Hodgkin's disease survivor. (The couple endowed the Amy and Joseph Perella Professor of Medicine to fund cancer research.) They live on Fifth Avenue, in the same building as Steve Rattner, Henry Elghanayan, and Maureen White. They also have a house in East Hampton.