Richard Rainwater, the Texas investor who helped the Bass family turn a $50 million oil inheritance into a reputed $5 billion fortune, has died. He was 71.
He died Sunday at his home in Fort Worth, Texas, according to a statement from Rainwater Charitable Foundation, the group he founded. In 2009, he was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, a degenerative brain disease.
A gregarious man who enjoyed golf and drag racing, Mr. Rainwater looked for industries that were out of favor and sought out partners he could back to form companies to bet on a recovery.
His best-known investment while working for the Bass family from 1970 to 1986 was Walt Disney Co., where he endorsed the hiring of Michael Eisner to turn around the movie studio and theme park operator. Mr. Rainwater later helped former President George W. Bush earn about $16 million through an investment in the Texas Rangers baseball team while Mr. Bush was governor of Texas.
“He was able to see around corners,” said John Goff, his former investment partner, in a 2011 Bloomberg interview.
Mr. Rainwater spotted value in the consolidation of the U.S. hospital industry and formed what became the biggest hospital chain at the time to profit from it.
He bought Texas office buildings in the early 1990s after the oil price decline and savings and loan crisis depressed property values in the state. One early purchase, the five-building Crescent office complex in downtown Dallas, formed the basis of the real estate investment trust that Mr. Rainwater took public in 1994 and was later acquired by Morgan Stanley.
At least twice — after the oil bust of the late 1980s and before the commodities boom of the 2000s, he made large and profitable bets on a surge in crude prices.
He majored in mathematics at the University of Texas, then attended Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, where he met Sid Bass, the oldest of the four Bass brothers whose great-uncle Sid Williams Richardson had made millions drilling for oil and natural gas.
Mr. Bass helped start Mr. Rainwater's career. In 1969, at the age of 27, Sid Bass was given charge of the family fortune by his father Perry and the following year Mr. Bass invited Mr. Rainwater to join him. Mr. Rainwater had spent two years working for Goldman, Sachs & Co., part of the time selling securities in Dallas. Mr. Bass eventually put Mr. Rainwater in charge of managing the family's investments.
“Richard was a great partner,” Sid Bass said in a statement. “We learned together and we invented as we went along. It was always fun and exciting.”
His survivors include his wife; three children from his first marriage, Courtney Rainwater, Todd Rainwater and Matthew Rainwater; and brother Walter Rainwater.