Bob Johnson Wheels and Deals to Fulfill Ambitions
(Washington Post) — Anyone keeping track of Robert L. Johnson, chairman and chief executive of Bethesda-based RLJ Cos., probably noticed the batch of deals he has closed in the past four months: a couple of hotels, a few equity ventures. Before the ink could dry on any of those agreements, the billionaire businessman had several more in the works, including plans for a debt equity fund and another community bank. Since selling Black Entertainment Television to Viacom in 2001 for $3 billion, Johnson, 64, has made aggressive moves to turn RLJ into a full-fledged conglomeration. The Bethesda company, with roughly $5 billion under management, owns or holds interests in 11 companies that have a hand in everything from automobile dealerships to insurance services.