The deal he couldn't close

  @FortuneMagazine June 13, 2013: 7:14 AM ET
GLE01 eric gleacher
(Fortune)

Eric Gleacher is killing me on the golf course. It's a sunny morning at the exclusive Seminole club in Juno Beach, Fla., and Gleacher splits every fairway with a sweet draw. I've just pulled two shots out of bounds. Gleacher, Wall Street's top golfer for most of the past three decades, is now 73. He may have lost a couple of strokes with age. But his six handicap would still spark envy in the rivals he fought as Morgan Stanley's top dealmaker back in the 1980s when he advised KKR on its then-record $25 billion RJR Nabisco buyout and orchestrated Texaco's defense against a marauding Carl Icahn.

As a rule, Gleacher doesn't talk business on the course. It's just as well, since business is a painful subject lately. In January he quit as chairman of the New York investment bank that carries his name after losing a fight to sell the struggling company. Things only got worse for the bank after that. Employees continued streaming for the exits, and in June, Gleacher & Co. announced that it will be liquidated or sold.

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