Michael Milken: The Junk Dealer
The Journal of Private Equity Winter 2019, 23 (1) 39-54; DOI: https://doi.org/10.3905/jpe.2019.1.095
Posted: 10 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 8, 2019
We take a closer look at the life and legacy of Micheal Milken. We discuss why Michael Milken, also know as the Junk Bond King, was not just any other King or run-of-the-mill Junk Dealer, but ”The Junk Dealer”. We find parallels between the three parts to any magic act and what Micheal Milken did, showing that his accomplishments were nothing short of a miracle. His compensation at that time captures to a certain extent the magnitude of the changes he brought about, the eco-system he created for businesses to flourish, the impact he had on the wider economy and also on the future growth and development of American Industry. We emphasize two of his contributions to the financial industry that have grown in importance over the years. One was the impetus given to the Private Equity industry and the use of LBOs. The second was the realization that thorough research was the key to success, financial and otherwise. Perhaps an unintended consequence of the growth in junk bonds and tailored financing was the growth of Silicon valley and technology powerhouses in the California bay area. Investors witnessed that there was a possibility for significant returns and that financial success could be had due to the risk mitigation that Milken demonstrated by investing in portfolios of so called high risk and low profile companies. We point out the current trend in many regions of the world, which is the birth of financial and technology firms and we suggest that finding innovative ways of financing could be the key to the sustained growth of these eco-systems.
Keywords: Milken, Junk Bond, Junk Dealer, Magic Trick, Drexel Lambert Burnham
JEL Classification: G18, B26, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation