Harold Simmons

The late Harold Simmons was an American banking tycoon that was best known for developing the concept of a leveraged buyout, a method in which to buy property and companies through a combination of leverage and equity. The Texas-native was the son of two schoolteachers and earned both an undergraduate and a graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Simmons was the owner of the Contran Corporation and Valhi Inc., and was also the owner of five publicly traded companies in the New York Stock Exchange. He was known as a brilliant businessman, but also an icy dealmaker. His other interests also included steel, chemicals, vineyards, and sugar beet production.

Simmons was a well-known political activist and was one of the nation’s top political donors since the early 1990s. He was a huge supporter of the Republican Party and was once quoted saying, “Obama is the most dangerous American alive.”

In December 2013, Harold passed away at the age of 82.