Sam Zell is best known as a real estate entrepreneur in the United States. He is the co-founder and Chairman of the Equity Group Investments firm, a private investment company that has managed to bring four internationally based real estate developers into public offerings. In 2008 Sam Zell had an estimated worth of $6 billion.
Zell, with Robert H. Lurie founded Equity Group Investments, LLC, which spawned three real estate public companies, including: Equity Residential, the largest apartment owner in the United States; Equity Office Properties, the largest office owner in the country; and Manufactured Home Communities, a mobile home company. In addition, Zell has created a number of public and private companies.
In 2007 the Blackstone Group completed its purchase of Zell’s Equity Office Properties Trust for $39 billion, and sold off many of the portfolio’s properties for record amounts. By early 2009 most of the properties sold were “under water” (worth less than the mortgage).