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Tom Gores (b. 1964) is an Israeli-American private equity fund manager and billionaire businessman who founded Platinum Equity, a Los Angeles based global firm, in 1995. Under Mr. Gores' direction, Platinum has become one of the largest GPs in the industry with $23bn in AUM. In February of this year, Platinum Equity closed its fifth fund since inception, Platinum Equity Capital Partners V, with a higher than anticipated >$10bn. Mr. Gores grew up in Flint, Michigan after moving from Israel at the age of four and comes form a comfortable middle class background. He has two brothers- Alec, also a PE billionaire, and Sam, a top Hollywood agent and head of Paradigm. Tom began his career in the LBO business with Alec and the two parted ways during the mid nineties. Mr. Gores graduated from Michigan State University in 1986 with a degree in construction management. Within sixteen years, he was listed on The Forbes 400.
Tom started Platinum Equity from his home in Sherman Oaks, cold calling businesses seeking to divest. His first acquisition was of a poorly performing technology company, Litigation Services, Inc. for the sum of two hundred thousand dollars. Within six months, he had returned LSI to profitability. Over the next five years, he led thirty two acquisitions with $226m (realizing $940m), building a reputation to execute larger and larger transactions. Not only this, but the acquisition of partners seasoned in operations. Platinum company publications cite Tom's core philosophies as derived from these earlier experiences in diversified lower-middle market acquisitions; namely, "swift and thorough diligence, sound acquisitions, effective management, and driving value through honest, intelligent operational improvement rather than financial engineering." In fact, within four years of its inception, Platinum Equity was recognized by Forbes as one of the nation's largest private companies. Platinum raised its first fund in 2004 and realized 62.5% returns. Their secret sauce? "M&A&O" or "mergers and acquisitions and operations" whereby the value creation of portfolio companies is seen as mission critical. They have equity across many diverse industries.