Recent buyout fundraising: $7 billion
Description: Founder Tom Lee started his firm in 1974 with $150,000 - part inheritance, part loan from his brother. Lee moved to New York and left his Boston firm in 2005. Current senior partners Scott Sperling, Anthony DiNovi, and Scott Schoen continue to use his name. Lately Thomas H. Lee (the firm, not the man) has been hunting big game. Together with Bain Capital Partners and the Carlyle Group, Lee acquired Dunkin' Brands from Pernod Ricard for $2.4 billion in cash in March 2006. Again with Bain, Lee bid for Clear Channel Communications last fall. The price: $26.7 billion. With their most recent fund projected to close another $2 billion, expect to see Sperling, DiNovi, and Schoen continue to shake up the consumer, media, and business services sectors.
Boldface advisors: In October 2006 the firm hired media veteran Richard Bressler to lead its Strategic Resources Group. Bressler previously held positions at Viacom and was chairman and CEO of Time Warner Digital Media.
Fun fact: Some 30 out of 38 investment professionals are Harvard Business School alumni.