Companies mired in bankruptcy and turmoil may look ugly to some investors, but to Ian Cumming and Joseph Steinberg they're downright foxy. Using their publicly traded investment firm, Leucadia National, the duo have built a reputation as master takeover artists who buy distressed companies at discount prices, revive them and sell them for hefty profits.
Leucadia's long-term record is extraordinary. When Cumming, 64, and Steinberg, 61, bought Talcott National, a flagging financial-services company, in 1978, it had a negative net worth of $7.7 million. They renamed the company and transformed it into a buyout machine that today has a net worth of $3.5 billion.
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