Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The One Appointment Everyone Must Keep

Bruce Wasserstein has died. I never met the man. I've met millionaires, but no billionaires, as he was. Some years ago, he controlled an entity that controlled the entity that published the magazine I edited. Or something like that. The exact lines of control and ownership were opaque to me, as these things sometimes are, but I knew he was the prime cheese in some way or other.

The magazine had a kick-off party and a lot of people came, but not Mr. Wasserstein. Instead, he sent a right-hand man whom I spoke to briefly. I suspect we didn't rate highly enough among his properties to fit into his schedule. Other publishing ventures that he eventually bought were more important, at least to judge by what's mentioned in his obits -- New York magazine, for instance.

Later, after I no longer worked for the publishing company he controlled, he sold it. Why he wanted to own publications after being a M&A mogul, I couldn't say, though he had been a student newspaper editor at the University of Michigan once upon a time. Mostly he'll be remembered as the architect of some of the whopping big mergers of the 1980s. Notable activity, certainly, but I have a simple mind about that kind of thing. Besides enriching those involved, the point of all that frenzy was... what?

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