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Wall Street billionaire Leon Black just sold his Apollo Global stock for the first time since co-founding the private equity giant

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Leon Black sold Apollo Global Management Inc. stock for the first time, making the move almost three years after he exited the buyout giant that made him one of Wall Street’s richest billionaires.

Black unloaded $172.8 million of stock in the New York-based firm last week, according to a regulatory filing Monday. That’s almost 2% of his stake in the alternative-asset manager, which has seen its shares rise about 480% since going public 13 years ago.

The Apollo co-founder had never previously sold a share in the company, choosing instead to pledge part of his holding to boost his liquidity and diversify his wealth. He’s also received billions of dollars in dividends over the years that he’s reinvested through his family office Elysium Management, which is run by Bradley Wechsler and invests in real estate and private equity. 

About a third of Black’s $6.5 billion stake in Apollo is still pledged as collateral, latest filings show.

“Mr. Black is confident in Apollo’s management team, which he selected with the support of the board, and believes in the growth strategy they are executing,” Sloane & Co.’s Whit Clay, a spokesperson for Black, said in an emailed statement. “His sale of shares was for tax and estate planning purposes and to further the growth of Elysium. He remains the largest shareholder and intends for that to continue.”

A representative for Apollo declined to comment.

Black retired as chief executive officer in March 2021 after three decades atop one of the world’s most powerful investment firms, which is now run by fellow co-founder Marc Rowan.

His departure came after a tumultuous period that included a report produced by law firm Dechert that showed Black paid convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein $158 million for financial advice. Black has admitted paying Epstein, who died in 2019, that sum for tax services but denied knowing of his sex crimes.

He has an overall fortune of $13.8 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In addition to his Apollo holdings, Black has built a world class art collection, including Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” and amassed luxury properties in New York and London.

Since leaving Apollo, he’s hired former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Nikolaos Vasilatos to oversee his investments in early-stage businesses. He’s also boosted his philanthropic activity, donating Apollo shares that are now worth about $125 million to charity-related entities since the start of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

–With assistance from Vernal Galpotthawela.

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