Michael Milken on Drexel's Legacy

In a March interview with Bloomberg, financier Michael Milken discussed the continuing influence of Drexel Burnham Lambert—a firm which came crashing down about thirty years ago. Milken’s legacy, however, says Bloomberg, “lives on in the high-yield market,” citing firms such as Moelis & Co. and the Milken Institute global think tank.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

Milken is most proud, he said, of his former employees that are now “responsible members of the community and have used their wealth creation in the fields of philanthropy and, obviously, building successful businesses.” The group includes names such as Leon Black (co-founder of Apollo Global Management), Ken Moelis and David Solomon (of Goldman Sachs Group), among many others.

How to approach negotiations: Milken said that, “even if you have a price that a person would want to do the transaction, sometimes you have to let a person feel like they can negotiate. A person like Carl Icahn, for example: It would take the thrill out of it if he couldn’t negotiate.”

On Drexel’s legacy, Milken said, “We had a mission. A view of creating access to capital for small and medium businesses—to align management with owners—I think that’s been achieved. The idea of how you finance a business has been passed on.”