The story behind the Bill Gross/Pimco breakup just keeps getting more interesting. We already knew that Gross, believing Pimco’s board was set to fire him, reached out to his closest competitor, DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach, to see if he was willing to hire or partner up with the Bond King. Now we know all the details. It was as awkward as you might imagine.
Having never met Gundlach before, Gross didn’t have his phone number. So he did what anyone else would do: he called DoubleLine’s switchboard, told the person who he was and asked for Jeffrey Gundlach, according to Reuters. Fearing it was a prank call, Gundlach had the receptionist take a message and then call the number back to verify that it wasn’t some radio DJ. After all, how many captains of industry use an 800-number?
Eventually the two connected on the phone, at which time Gross told Gundlach that Pimco was set to fire him, which is probably not something you want to do during your first phone-screen interview, but Gross is a different breed. A day later, he made the 90-minute trek to Gundlach’s home to talk about a potential partnership, according to the report.
There were a couple highlights from the conversation, which went well despite the fact that no deal was cemented. Gross came in “well-informed” about Gundlach, according to the DoubleLine founder, but he didn’t use your traditional resources. He had his wife, Sue, do a little recon for him – something he told Gundlach directly during the meeting. Sue did some solid Googling, it appears.
The other noteworthy anecdote is how Gross ended the meeting. He gave Gundlach a vision of what the partnership would be like using a sports metaphor.
"I am Kobe. You are LeBron James. I have five rings, you have two rings - probably going to five,” Gundlach recalled. A week later, Gross called Gundlach – leaving him a voicemail – and let him know that he was set to join a smaller fund, Janus Capital.
Alas, the Dream Team never came to fruition. Who knows: maybe Gundlach isn’t a basketball fan. Or he thinks Kobe shoots too much.
Either way, Gross is fired up to be back in the game, telling Investment News that he is ready to “whip the pants off anybody competing on the same football field.”
Gross likes sports, evidently.
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Quote of the Day: "Bill came out and told me: 'Pimco doesn't want me anymore.' And I said, 'That is an unbelievably stupid decision.'" – Jeffery Gundlach on his talk with Bill Gross