Goldman Sachs was founded in 1869 by German Jewish immigrant Marcus Goldman. The company made a name for itself pioneering the use of commercial paper for entrepreneurs and was invited to join the New York Stock Exchange in 1896. It was during this time that Goldman's son-in-law Samuel Sachs joined the firm which prompted the name change to Goldman Sachs.
In the early 20th Century, Goldman was a major player in establishing the Initial Public Offering market. It managed one of the largest IPO's to date, that of Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1906. It also became one of the first companies to heavily recruit those with MBA degrees from leading Business Schools, a practice that still continues today.
In 1929, it launched the Goldman Sachs Trading Corp., a closed-end mutual fund with characteristics similar to that of a Ponzi Scheme. The
fund failed as a result of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, hurting the firm's reputation for several years afterward.
In 1930, Sidney Weinberg assumed the role of Senior Partner and shifted Goldman's focus away from Trading and towards Investment Banking. It was Weinberg's actions that helped to restore some of Goldman's tarnished reputation. On the back of Weinberg, Goldman was lead advisor on the Ford Motor Company's IPO in 1956, which at the time was a major coup on Wall Street. Under Weinberg's reign the Firm also started an Investment Research division and a Municipal Bond department. It also was at this time that the firm became an early innovator in Risk Arbitrage.
Gus Levy joined the firm in the 1950s as a well known securities trader, which started a trend at Goldman where there would be two powers generally vie for supremacy, one from investment banking and one from securities trading. For most of the 1950s and 1960's, this would be Weinberg and Levy. Levy was a pioneer in block trading and the firm established this trend under his guidance. Due to Weinberg's heavy influence at the firm, it formed an Investment Banking Division in 1956 in an attempt to spread around influence and not focus it all on Weinberg.
In 1969, Levy took over as Senior Partner from Weinberg, and built Goldman's trading franchise once again. It is Levy who is credited with Goldman's famous philosophy of being "long term greedy," which implies that as long as money is made over the long term, trading losses in the short term are not to be worried about. That same year, Weinberg retired from the firm.
Another financial crisis for the firm occurred in 1970, when the Penn Central Railroad Company went bankrupt with over $80 million in commercial paper outstanding, most of it issued by Goldman Sachs. The bankruptcy was large, and the resulting lawsuits threatened the partnership capital and life of the firm. It was this bankruptcy that resulted in credit ratings being created for every issuer of commercial paper today by several credit rating services.
During the 1970s, the firm also expanded in several ways. Under the direction of Senior Partner Stanley R. Miller, it opened its first international office in London in 1970, and created a Private Wealth division along with a Fixed Income division in 1972. It also pioneered the "White Knight" strategy in 1974 during its attempts to defend Electric Storage Battery against a hostile takeover bid from International Nickel and Goldman's rival Morgan Stanley. This action would boost the firm's reputation as an investment advisor because it pledged to no longer participate in hostile takeovers.
John Weinberg (the son of Sidney Weinberg), and John C. Whitehead assumed roles of Co-Senior Partners in 1976, once again emphasizing the co-leadership at the firm. One of their most famous initiatives was the establishment of the 14 Business Principles that are still used to this day.
In the 1980s, the firm made a major move by acquiring J. Aron & Company, a commodities trading firm which merged with the Fixed Income division to become known as Fixed Income, Currencies, and Commodities. J. Aron was a major player in the coffee and gold markets, and the current CEO of Goldman, Lloyd Blankfein, joined the firm as a result of this merger. In 1985 it underwrote the public offering of the Real Estate Investment Trust that owned Rockefeller Center, then the largest REIT offering in history. In accordance with the
beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the firm also became largely involved in facilitating the global privatization movement by advising companies that were spinning off from their parent governments.
In 1986, the firm formed Goldman Sachs Asset Management, which manages the majority of its mutual funds and hedge funds today. In the same year, the firm also underwrote the IPO of Microsoft, advised General Electric on its acquisition of RCA and joined the London and Tokyo stock exchanges. 1986 also was the year when Goldman became the first United States bank to rank in the top 10 of Mergers and Acquisitions in the United Kingdom. During the 1980s the firm became the first bank to distribute its investment research electronically and created the first public offering of original issue deep-discount bond.
Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman assumed the Co-Senior Partnership in 1990 and pledged to focus on globalization of the firm and strengthening the Merger & Acquisition and Trading business lines. During their reign, the firm introduced paperless trading to the New York Stock exchange and lead-managed the first-ever global debt offering by a U.S. corporation. It also launched the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) and opened a Beijing office in 1994. It was this same year that Jon Corzine assumed leadership of the firm following the departure of Rubin and Friedman. The firm joined David Rockefeller and partners in a 50-50 join ownership of Rockefeller Center during 1994, but later sold the shares to Tishman Speyer in 2000. In 1996, Goldman was lead underwriter of the Yahoo! IPO and in 1998 it was global coordinator of the NTT DoCoMo IPO. In 1999, Henry Paulson took over as Senior Partner.
One of the largest events in the firm's history was its own IPO in 1999. The decision to go public was a tough one that the partners debated for decades. In the end, Goldman decided to offer only a small portion of the company to the public, with some 48% still held by the partnership pool. 22% of the company is held by non-partner employees, and 18% is held by retired Goldman partners and two longtime investors, Sumitomo Bank Ltd. and Hawaii's Kamehameha Activities Assn (the investing arm of Kamehameha Schools). This leaves approximately 12% of the company as being held by the public. Henry Paulson became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm. Hull Trading Company, one of the world�s premier market-making firms, was acquired by Goldman in 1999 for $531 million.
More recently, the firm has been busy both in Investment Banking and in Trading activities. It purchased Spear, Leeds, & Kellogg, one of the largest specialist firms on the New York Stock Exchange, for $6.3 billion in September 2000. It also advised on a landmark debt offering for the Government of China and the first electronic offering for the World Bank. It merged with JBWere, the Australian investment bank and opened a full-service broker-dealer in Brazil. It expanded its investments in companies to include Burger King, McJunkin Corporation, and in January 2007, Alliance Atlantis alongside CanWest Global Communications to own sole broadcast rights to the CSI franchise. In May 2006, Henry Paulson left the firm to serve as U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Lloyd Blankfein was promoted to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.We currently have the following pieces in our inventory that were issued to this historic firm: