The Rothschilds

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The Rothschilds

Postby Vlad » Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:09 am

The man who may become the next Baron Rothschild
By Landon Thomas Jr.
Published: March 9, 2007

NEW YORK: Happy or unhappy, each family generation often resembles another, and that is especially
true when it comes to the Rothschilds.

More than 200 years after Mayer Amschel Rothschild founded the family dynasty that offered discreet
counsel and investment wisdom to kings, queens, emperors and industrial titans, his 35-year-old
direct descendant, Nathaniel, has emerged as a kingmaker in his own right and an investor who some
say may become the richest Rothschild of them all.

In five short years, the man in line to be the fifth Baron Rothschild is close to becoming a
billionaire through a web of private equity investments in Ukraine, Eastern Europe and most
significant, his partnership stake in Atticus Capital, the fast-growing $14 billion hedge fund.

The ascent of Rothschild is a vivid illustration of how the still glittering, if somewhat faded,
prestige and wealth of Europe's most storied banking family has been reinvigorated from bold bets in
this era's flashy new-money investment vehicles.

Like his forebears, Rothschild prefers that his influence remain unseen.
Rothschild is a principal adviser to Oleg Deripaska, one of the richest oligarchs in Russia and the
owner of the aluminum giant Rusal, which recently merged with two other companies to create the
world's largest aluminum company. Rothschild received no public credit despite having played a crucial role in getting the deal done.

And like a true Rothschild, he has a taste for the good life: An avid skier, he makes his principal residence in Klosters, Switzerland, and uses his Gulfstream jet to shuttle among his other homes in Paris, Moscow, London, New York and Greece.

But he is also a man of contradictions: He dates models and actresses, sits on an advisory board of the Brookings Institution, a policy research organization in Washington, and serves his guests the best wines from the Rothschild vineyards, which he does not drink.

He would not be interviewed for this article, yet he allowed his lushly renovated townhouse in Greenwich Village to be featured in Men's Vogue magazine. Despite his reputation as the most gregarious of men and the increasingly public nature of his life and career, he comes across as a pinched, reticent man in the few photographs that exist of him.

The burden of being a Rothschild can be a heavy one. In 1996, one of Rothschild's cousins, Amschel, having been asked to fill a leadership position in the family bank in London, hanged himself in a hotel bathroom at the age of 41.

Four years later, Raphael de Rothschild, also a cousin, died on a New York sidewalk at age 23 from a heroin overdose.

In the early 1990s, some thought that Rothschild might also buckle under the weight of the family name. He appeared to be a playboy with a taste for the slack lifestyle often embraced by the sons and daughters of Europe's wealthy families.

For Rothschild, whose ancestor Nathan Mayer Rothschild helped finance Britain's victory at Waterloo and whose father, Jacob, split from the family bank in 1980 to begin his own successful career as an investor, the family legacy was daunting.

So much so that until he started work as a 25-year- old investment analyst at the firm Gleacher in New York in 1995, Rothschild avoided it altogether.

He was the life of parties in New York, Paris and London, and in 1995 he eloped to the Dominican Republic with Annabelle Neilson, a London socialite with a reputation for dancing on dinner tables in her high heels.

"This is the story of Prince Hal turning into Henry IV," said Charles Phillips, who supervised Rothschild during his time at Gleacher. "He is one of the few sons of great men who has enhanced the family stature and created his own wealth."

While he undertook the drudgery of trainee investment banking work, Rothschild kept his eyes open for an opportunity more in tune with his growing ambition. In the spring of 1995, he found just that when he left the Gleacher offices to smoke a quick cigarette a few floors above.

Puffing away in an anteroom, he ran into Timothy Barakett, then a 29-year- old investor who was doing the rounds trying to raise funds for Atticus, his new hedge fund. Learning that Barakett was starting up a fund, Rothschild asked for a job. Barakett turned him down.
But the two men stayed in touch, and in the fall of 1996, Barakett took Rothschild on as a minority partner in the nascent fund, then with $90 million in assets, and gave him the title of director of business development with a mandate to tap his considerable Rolodex and family connections for new capital.

Rothschild took to the new opportunity with renewed vigor. He stopped drinking, reached a divorce agreement and devoted his energies to promoting the investment talents of Barakett.

The fund's extraordinary performance — since inception it has grown on average 30 percent a year — made Rothschild's job an easy one.

With his mix of Old World politesse, a racy appreciation for fast times and the brute force of his accumulating wealth, Rothschild has become friend and adviser to many — including Russian billionaires, Indian steel magnates and a long list of people who have helped him out during his ascent.

"I will literally get a BlackBerry from him in Siberia asking me how I am doing," said Glenn Dubin of Highbridge Capital, an early investor in Atticus.

To a large extent, the source of Rothschild's renewed wealth and influence is tied to the explosive growth of Atticus, which has seen its assets surge to $14 billion from $2 billion over the last three years. In 2005, Rothschild was paid $80 million in compensation and made more than that last year, according to people with knowledge of his pay arrangement at Atticus.

Now co-chairman, he spends less time raising money for the fund, which is for the most part closed to new investors. But his influence in opening doors for Barakett, especially in Europe, has been considerable.

By all accounts, Rothschild's relationship with his father is a complicated one. He sits on the board of RIT Capital Partners, Lord Rothschild's investment trust, and he has never been shy about using the family name to open doors. Still, people who know him say that he is consumed by a furious ambition to live up to, if not surpass, the reputation and doings of his father.

"Being Jacob's son was difficult for him," Dubin said. "But he has matured and is comfortable with himself."

But while his rapidly won riches may give him pleasure, it will take more than a billion dollars to live up to the wider social and charitable responsibilities that fall upon a Rothschild baron.

"The family is accomplished in so many different ways," said Jeffrey Leeds, a private equity investor who knows the Rothschilds well. "Nat knows that he would not be fulfilling his
responsibilities if he were simply someone who amassed great wealth."

Courtesy of International Herald Tribune - http://www.iht.com/
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