Texan private equity tycoon John Grayken (58) became an Irish citizen in the late 1990s. Grayken made a fortune in Japan and South Korea buying distressed assets in bombed out economies, flipping them as markets improved. The strategy has generated a 20pc return on average per year over the last 20 years.
He now owns large chunks of Ireland, with his €45bn investment group, Lone Star, the most active buyer of bank loans and real estate assets being sold as the banks and Nama de-leverage. Lone Star bought a block of Anglo Irish Bank’s $9bn US loan book, some of its Irish loans, as well as a €650m block from AIB.
This has left Lone Star with assets ranging from the INM HQ on Talbot Street, a magnificent office building at 75 St Stephen’s Green and loans against Sunderland FC’s Stadium of Light. Grayken has put his own money into Lone Star funds, investing €580m of his personal wealth in the last two years.
More recently, Lone Star has moved into Hollywood, with a credit finance wing signing a $200m deal with Sony to help fund blockbusters including Spider-Man 2 and 22 Jump Street. Grayken bought a €100m mansion on the shores of Lake Geneva from Switzerland’s richest man Ernesto Bertarelli in 2010. He also owns properties in London and Surrey as well as a yacht in the Caribbean.