Poor Ronald O. Perelman. You almost gotta feel for the guy. Once ranked among the world’s richest men, with a personal net worth that nearly crested $20 billion, the famously brash businessman and investor says he wants to clean house and downsize to live a simpler life. Perhaps coincidentally, Perelman’s desire for a simpler life comes as the crown jewel in his portfolio, cosmetic giant Revlon, struggles with more than $3 billion in debt. His own worth has also plummeted; according to Forbes, Perelman is now makes do with a not-exactly-ready-for-the-poorhouse $2.6 billion.
To settle debts, and in the service of the aforementioned simpler life, Perelman has for the last couple of years engaged in a sort of billionaires-only yard sale, offering and unloading a staggering number of premium assets. In 2020, he sold off a majority of his shares in AM General, the company that owns the Hummer brand; his $65 million Gulfstream G650 jet went up for sale; and the voracious contemporary art collector has offloaded about $350 million worth of blue-chip artworks, including Alberto Giacometti’s nine-foot-tall “Grande femme I,” sold last year to an unknown buyer in a sealed auction with a minimum bid of $90 million. His nearly 16,000-square-foot Manhattan townhouse popped up for sale on the open market last spring at $60 million — it remains for sale at the same price — and also on the block is C2, his 281-foot yacht, asking a bit more than US$102 million.
One of Perelman’s most valuable assets was an oceanfront spread on East Hampton’s swank Lily Pond Lane, though he has not occupied the estate for many years. The property was listed last September for $115 million, and records show the estate traded just after the first of the year at a hugely discounted $84 million. The buyer’s identity is shielded behind an anonymous LLC.
At 9.25 acres, the estate is very large for the area, and includes 385 feet of ocean frontage. The house itself is no great shakes, a 1971 teardown with few appealing architectural features. It is, however, quite large at 11,425 square feet with 10 bedrooms and 11 full and four half bathrooms, which means a similarly sized home could be built on the existing home’s footprint. Like many Hamptons estates, the property also includes a pool with pool house and a tennis court with its own pavilion. The listing notes that the possibility exists to subdivide the property, which may have been a draw for the buyer.
Having owned the property since at least the 1990s, Perelman certainly realized a healthy profit that he can now throw at his debt and use to fashion a simpler life for himself, his fifth wife — Harvard-educated psychiatrist Anna Champion — and their two young children. (He also has six other children from previous marriages.) One wonders, however, if a simpler life for the complicated businessman involves keeping or selling The Creeks, his epic 57-acre estate on East Hampton’s Georgica Pond that for years has been rumored to be available on the down low with a price of around $180 million. We shall see.