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Posted on Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 10:30 a.m.

U-M's Zell Lurie Institute hosts private equity conference headlined by real estate billionaire Sam Zell

By Ben Freed

University of Michigan alumnus and real estate billionaire Sam Zell will visit Ann Arbor on Friday as part of the seventh annual Zell Lurie Institute Private Equity Conference.

The conference, which attracts about 200 students and an additional 200 hundred alumni and industry leaders, will be held at the Michigan Union.


Sam Zell during an interview in 2007

M. Spencer Green | AP Photo

“My major objective through the [Zell Lurie] Center for Entrepreneurship is to increase interaction of students with alumni and practitioners,” said David Brophy, director of the Center for Venture Capital & Private Equity Finance in the Ross School of Business.

“This is a great way to bring [alumni and professionals] here to Michigan and see what we’ve got going on here and to tighten the bonds.”

Brophy said the conference was started for business school alumni, but has since branched out and now includes many people from the area and from across the country.

“You need the draw, so we provide outstanding speakers of national importance,” he said. “And the panels tomorrow are particularly important as well.”

Zell will give the first keynote address at 8:15 a.m. Friday. Steven Klinsky, a U-M alum who manages New Mountain Capital in New York City, will deliver the second keynote speech. The speeches sandwich panel discussions and networking opportunities for the professionals and students in attendance.

One panel will deal with the role of limited partners in the private equity business. Limited partners are big companies or institutions like U-M that supply the money behind the industry, and Brophy said one of the big issues going forward in the business will be what those partners think about how funds are conducting their business.

On-site registration opens at 7:30 a.m. Friday at the Michigan Union.

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Rick Stevens

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Now we can have the opportunity to have yet another super wealthy person tell us that we're not as rich as he is because we're slackers, lazy, welfare state addicts and that we don't pay enough in taxes (and that he pays too much). Tell me again what 'private equity' companies produce? Can't wait...

John of Saline

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

He looks like Patrick Stewart in that picture.

Alan Benard

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Could some brave soul ask Mr. Zell about killing the Tribune Co.? And why he is such a lousy publisher?

say it plain

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

Hooray, a conference on how to get money to create more money for the very wealthiest by taking best advantage of the little guy! The little developer, the little shop-keeper, etc and so on... and how 'private equity' concerns like our STATE UNIVERSITY can be better 'engaged'--that is, take their huge endowments created on the backs of the students they saddle with debt they can't get out from under and lend it out to development conglomerates and VC funds dedicated to the buying and selling thereof, so as to become even wealthier! That'll allow them to keep their tuition increases to a very bare minimum of twice or so inflation, as opposed to even more than that, if there is ever a 'downturn' in the college business, cool! Hope the catering is worthy of the audience ;-)