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Islanders investors Ledecky, Malkin built corporate empires

Jonathan Ledecky, left, and Scott D. Malkin.

Jonathan Ledecky, left, and Scott D. Malkin. Credit: AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Getty Images / Daniel Berehulak

The two investors teaming up to buy the New York Islanders were Harvard roommates who went on to run corporate empires, one in America and the other in Europe.

Jonathan Ledecky, a Manhattan investor, and Scott Malkin, who runs upscale shopping centers across Europe, have agreed to pay an undisclosed amount for a minority stake in the team in a deal that would give them majority control in two years.

While the pair bunked together as undergrads more than 30 years ago, according to the Harvard Crimson, they come to the Islanders with starkly different business backgrounds.

Ledecky made his name as a corporate merger specialist who specialized in buying handfuls of small businesses and rolling them up into one big company.

His biggest success was U.S. Office Products, which he founded in 1994 and built into a juggernaut by consolidating 260 other companies. By the time Ledecky left in 1998, U.S. Office Products' annual sales were $2.6 billion.

He went on to run a series of investment firms and was part of a group that owned the Washington Capitals hockey team and a stake in the Washington Wizards basketball team. Ledecky, who has homes in Manhattan and Wyoming, runs Connector Capital Corp., which invests in e-commerce, mobile technology and other companies.

Malkin is a scion of one of New York's leading real estate families. His grandfather, Lawrence Wien, helped found what is now a sprawling property empire that includes millions of square feet of Manhattan apartments, retail and office space, including a controlling stake in the Empire State Building.

Instead of New York real estate, Malkin has primarily focused on European retail. He lives in London and is chairman and chief executive of London-based Value Retail. The company, founded in 1992, operates luxury shopping centers in nine European cities, and opened its first in China in May. The centers attracted 31 million people last year, according to the company's website.

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