Age: 71 Years, 71 Year Old Males
Also Known As: Paul Alec Bilzerian
Born in: Miami, Florida
Famous as: Corporate Takeover Specialist
U.S. State: Florida
education: Stanford University (1975), Harvard Business School, Harvard University
Who is Paul Bilzerian?
Paul Bilzerian is an American corporate takeover specialist, better known as the father of ‘Instagram’ celebrity Dan Bilzerian. Born in Florida and raised in Massachusetts, Paul has Armenian roots. He served in the American army and fought for his country in the ‘Vietnam War.’ After returning to the US once the war was over, Paul chose a different line of work and enrolled at ‘Harvard Business School.’ Equipped with a genius-level IQ, Paul entered the business arena soon after he graduated from ‘Harvard’ He invested in a radio station named ‘WPLP,’ along with two of his war veteran friends. However, the company went bankrupt shortly after. He ended up filing lawsuits against his partners. He started his corporate takeover career in the mid-1980s and made a few successful deals. However, he was eventually slapped with a lawsuit for securities and tax law violations. Paul was imprisoned in December 1991 and was released 2 years later, only to be kept under house arrest. By then, he had filed for bankruptcy. After several failed attempts at proving his innocence, Paul started a few ventures and got back on his feet again.
Childhood & Early Life
Paul Bilzerian was born in Miami, Florida, in 1950, to middle-class parents. His father was a civil servant, and his mother was a homemaker. His parents did not get along well with each other. Frequent disputes led them to get divorced when Paul was a teenager. By then, the family had moved to Massachusetts.
The divorce of his parents affected Paul badly, and he remained very bitter about it until his high-school years. He described himself as a “juvenile delinquent.” He had become markedly absent-minded around the same time. He was soon expelled from school when he violated the school’s dress code and appeared in school in jeans. His life seemed to be going nowhere. Upon graduating from high school, he enlisted in the army.
He served in the ‘Vietnam War’ as an army personnel and earned a great deal of honors from his fellow soldiers and the government. He was awarded with a ‘Bronze Star Medal,’ a ‘Vietnamese Gallantry Cross,’ and an ‘Army Commendation Medal.’
Once the war was over, he became determined to turn his life around and enrolled at the ‘Stanford University.’ He earned his BA degree from the university. After his graduation in 1975, he decided to enter the world of business. He had performed well in academics and refused offers from many law colleges, finally joining the highly respected ‘Harvard Business School.’
However, his early days at ‘Harvard’ were not too pleasant. He again contemplated his decision to enter the business arena and called back the law schools that he had turned down earlier. However, he somehow decided to stay back at ‘Harvard’ and graduated with a business degree.
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Soon after his graduation, Paul landed his first job at a company named ‘Crown Zellerbach Corporation.’ There, he learned the practical aspects of making investments. However, he also wished to start something of his own. Two other ‘Vietnam War’ veterans, who were his friends and knew about the broadcasting business, got in touch with Paul. He decided to make the first business deal of his life with a radio broadcasting company named ‘WPLP.’
Paul and his partners convinced the owner of the company to sell it to them instead of other bidders. Paul handled the finances of the company.
They took over the station in 1978, when it was not making any significant profit but was also not into losses. However, soon after they took over, the company registered heavy losses brought on by some risky changes in the format. This led to several disputes among the partners and resulted in lawsuits being filed by each party.
It all settled with Paul recovering whatever he had invested in the company and some more. He then ventured into the real-estate arena under the guidance of his father-in-law, Harry Steffen. He found his strength in the real-estate business and amassed a fortune of over $100 million.
After making enough money from his real-estate ventures, Paul turned to the stock market in 1982. He also aimed to venture into the corporate takeover arena.
In 1985, Paul successfully took over ‘Singer Corporation,’ a defence electronics manufacturer. It became common knowledge that Paul had purchased 2.1 million shares in the company, and as the company feared a takeover, it moved its headquarters to New Jersey, which had strict takeover laws. Eventually, Paul was successful in the takeover deal, despite the company’s frequent attempts to avoid a ruthless takeover.
Over the next few years, Paul made several successful and unsuccessful takeover attempts. He was also criticized for his methods and developed hostility among several companies that he tried to own. In December 1988, Paul was charged with securities and tax fraud by a Manhattan court.
Within a month, Paul pleaded not guilty and urged the court to speed up the trial so he could clear his name as quickly as possible. The term “corporate takeover” became a negative term for the general public, but those with intricate knowledge of business transactions knew that Paul was not guilty. Most of his takeover attempts had been beneficial to his investors.
In June 1989, he was declared guilty of nine charges, which included false statements, fraud, and conspiracy. In September, he was sentenced to 4 years in prison, with an additional fine of $1.5 million. However, he was allowed be free until the trial was over.
Paul’s appeals were rejected, and in December 1991, he was imprisoned in Florida. He was released in January 1993 but had to serve the remaining sentence under house arrest. Upon being released from prison, Paul was hired as the director of a Utah-based software company named ‘Cimetrix.’ A few years later, the government intervened and removed Paul from his position of the president. The firm filed for bankruptcy soon after.
Bankruptcy and Further Troubles
Paul Bilzerian filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and then again in 2001. However, the ‘Securities and Exchange Commission’ (SEC) alleged that Paul was not actually bankrupt and he was faking it to avoid letting his creditors know the true value of his assets. The court further imprisoned Paul for failing to providing his accurate asset valuation.
While he was in prison, his property was raided by the ‘SEC’ and he was ordered to settle the matter. Paul was subsequently released from prison, and it was decided that his wife would sell their house and the money would be split between her and the ‘SEC.’ Paul became highly critical of the ‘SEC’ and its ways, and the issue was heavily highlighted in the media.
Paul married Terri Steffen, his ‘Stanford University’ classmate, in 1978. They have two sons, Dan and Adam.
While Dan became a social-media celebrity, Adam left the US due to his frustration over how the US government had mistreated his father.
Paul later used the tactic of citizenship by investment in Saint Kitts & Nevis, following his younger son, Adam. He now lives in the West Indian country with his wife.