Billionaire Ron Perelman selling almost everything as pandemic roils his empire

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Bit by bit, billionaire Ronald Perelman is parting with his treasures.

His Gulfstream 650 is on the market. So is his 257-foot yacht. Movers hauled crates of art from his Upper East Side townhouse after he struck a deal with Sotheby’s to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of works.

He’s unloaded his stake in Humvee-maker AM General, sold a flavorings company that he’d owned for decades and hired banks to find buyers for stock he holds in other companies.

What in the world is going on with Ron Perelman?

His exploits on and off Wall Street have been tabloid fare in New York since the go-go 1980s. But now, at an age when most fellow billionaires are kicking back, Mr Perelman, 77, is facing a range of financial challenges, most of all at Revlon, his cosmetics giant.

Once touted as America’s richest man, his wealth has dropped from US$19 billion to US$4.2 billion in the past two years, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Bankers, socialites and art collectors have been buzzing about Mr Perelman since his investment company, MacAndrews & Forbes, said in July it would rework its holdings in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the ravages it caused to American businesses, including his own.

“We quickly took significant steps to react to the unprecedented economic environment that we were facing,” Mr Perelman said in a statement.

“I have been very public about my intention to reduce leverage, streamline operations, sell some assets and convert those assets to cash in order to seek new investment opportunities and that is exactly what we are doing.”


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