Michael Milken : The Junk Dealer

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Journal / PublicationThe Journal of Private Equity
Issue number1
Online published2 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


The author takes a closer look at the life and legacy of Michael Milken. He discusses why Michael Milken, also known as the Junk Bond King, was not just any other king or run-of-the-mill junk dealer, but, in fact, “The Junk Dealer.” The author finds parallels between the three parts to any magic act and what Michael Milken did, showing that his accomplishments were nothing short of a miracle. Milken’s compensation at that time captures, to a certain extent, the magnitude of the changes he brought about, the ecosystem he created for businesses to flourish, and the impact he had on the wider economy and on the future growth and development of US industry. The author emphasizes two of Milken’s contributions to the financial industry that have grown in importance over the years. One was the impetus given to the private equity industry and the use of leveraged buyouts. The second was the realization that thorough research was the key to success, financial and otherwise. Perhaps an unintended consequence of the growth in junk bonds and tailored financing was the growth of Silicon Valley and technology powerhouses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Investors witnessed that there was a possibility for significant returns and that financial success could be had due to the risk mitigation that Milken demonstrated by investing in portfolios of so-called high-risk and low-profile companies. The author points out the current trend in many regions of the world—the birth of financial and technology firms—and suggests that finding innovative ways of financing could be the key to the sustained growth of these ecosystems.

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Citation Format(s)

Michael Milken: The Junk Dealer. / Kashyap, Ravi.
In: The Journal of Private Equity, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2019, p. 39-54.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review