Is Henry Silverman ’61 the real artist of the deal?

When Henry R. Silverman gazes north from the cozy 41st-floor office he shares with two assistants on New York’s Fifth Avenue, he looks down on the famed Plaza Hotel and much of sleek Trump Tower. The view couldn’t be more fitting. Silverman, chief executive of HFS Inc., has no use for trophy properties, though he controls the biggest hotel network in the world. And there are few dealmakers he differs from more than his flashy longtime acquaintance, Donald Trump. Says the reserved former tax attorney: ”I don’t believe in self-promotion.”

Nonetheless, the hotel, real estate, and rental-car empire Silverman is building seems bound to make him a far more important dealmaker than Trump. Already, he owns the rights to such powerhouse brands as Howard Johnson, Days Inn, and Ramada in hotels; Century 21, ERA, and Coldwell Banker in real estate; and Avis in rental cars. With his $1.7 billion purchase of PHH Corp., announced on Nov. 11, he’ll add a topflight corporate relocation, mortgage, and car-fleet management company. The deal will bring to about $5.1 billion the value of acquisitions he has made since mid-1990.

When Henry R. Silverman gazes north from the cozy 41st-floor office he shares with two assistants on New York’s Fifth Avenue, he looks down on the famed Plaza Hotel and much of sleek Trump Tower. The view couldn’t be more fitting. Silverman, chief executive of HFS Inc., has no use for trophy properties, though he controls the biggest hotel network in the world. And there are few dealmakers he differs from more than his flashy longtime acquaintance, Donald Trump. Says the reserved former tax attorney: ”I don’t believe in self-promotion.”

Nonetheless, the hotel, real estate, and rental-car empire Silverman is building seems bound to make him a far more important dealmaker than Trump. Already, he owns the rights to such powerhouse brands as Howard Johnson, Days Inn, and Ramada in hotels; Century 21, ERA, and Coldwell Banker in real estate; and Avis in rental cars. With his $1.7 billion purchase of PHH Corp., announced on Nov. 11, he’ll add a topflight corporate relocation, mortgage, and car-fleet management company. The deal will bring to about $5.1 billion the value of acquisitions he has made since mid-1990.

Finance, like love, is a timeless story because the characters and scenes repeat endlessly through history. Was this article written today or yesterday or decades ago?

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