US financier. He was one of Wall Street's most successful arbitrageurs during the 1980s boom before becoming involved in the largest insider trading scandal in US financial history. He was convicted of securities fraud in 1987, and implicated other Wall Street financiers, including Michael Milken, to receive a less severe three-year prison sentence from 1988.
Boesky started his career in the securities industry with L F Rothschild in 1966, and worked for First Manhattan Company (1968–70) and then as a general partner with Edwards & Hanly (1972–75), before setting up the Ivan F Boesky Corporation in 1975.
He bought shares in companies that were potential takeover targets, either to force up the price of the company before the bid or to take a position in an undervalued firm while waiting for the bid to take place. He then sold the shares at a profit, either to the bidder or back to the company itself. Having made losses on a Gulf Oil bid in 1982, he built up a secret network of investment bankers and brokers, using inside information about impending bids to trade stock in the companies involved.
In addition to his prison sentence, Boesky paid a $100 million fine and was barred for life from the US securities industry. After his release in 1990, he relocated to La Jolla, California.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan, and educated at the Detroit College of Law. He trained as a tax accountant and moved to New York City in 1966. Associated with the expression ‘greed is good’, he published Merger Mania: Arbitrage: Wall Street's Best Kept Money-Making Secret in 1985.