Medline LBO Strengthens Mills Family Fortune and Philanthropy


Ten years ago, Wendy Abrams lent her voice and her money to environmental causes. She and her husband, Jim, funded the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. A few years earlier, together with the Field Museum and City Hall, she had organized the Cool Globes installation of some 120 Model Earths along the lake, a ‘Cows on Parade’ type exhibit with an impact on climate change. .

Abrams’ public profile may have declined a bit since the early days of establishing herself as the most active and active client of the otherwise fairly private Mills family. But his stature could rebound in the wake of the pending takeover of the Northfield-based medical supplies giant that his extended family outright owns. His cousin Charlie Mills is the CEO of Medline; his brother Andy is president; and Jim, her husband, is the COO.

With the proposed sale of Medline to a consortium of private equity firms valuing it at over $ 30 billion, excluding debt, the Mills family is poised to become one of the wealthiest clans – and new to it. hunted down – from the region.

The transaction has been described in Pritzker-esque terms and not just because of the valuation figure. The Mills family was motivated to sell because of the same intergenerational tensions that forced the collapse of the Pritzker Empire two decades ago.

In such situations, the new investment frees up money for family members to control or donate as they see fit.

“Sometimes that wealth turns into a new foundation, a new avenue of charitable giving,” says Jack Darin, director of the Illinois section of the Sierra Club, to which Abrams donated $ 10,000 in 2015 and $ 5,000. in 2017, according to public records.

As recently as 2014, when Medline reported $ 5.8 billion in revenue, the Mills family ranked 170th on the Forbes 400 list, with an estimated net worth of 1.1 billion dollars. That figure obviously swelled as Medline’s revenue soared to $ 13.9 billion in 2019 and then, boosted by pandemic PPE claims, to $ 17.5 billion last year.

Abrams and the Millses decline to comment. In a statement, they said they would continue their “philanthropic commitment to important causes.”

The Mills Family Foundation made its largest donations to well-heeled higher education institutions, financial records show: $ 900,000 to Cornell University, Charlie Mills’ alma mater, in 2018, and $ 900,000 each to ‘Vanderbilt University and the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 and 2018.

The Misericordia House for People with Developmental Disabilities received $ 400,000 over two years, and the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago received $ 100,000 in 2018. Total donations in 2018 were $ 2.54 million. dollars.

Medline last year pledged $ 1 million to Black Lives Matter and three other social justice organizations, he said, and $ 3.1 million in 2019 to medical relief organizations.

Abrams, 56, has long financially supported Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel, and the pro-choice Personal PAC. One exception is former Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican. Those close to Medline are less visible as political donors. Charlie Mills donated $ 3,500 to the Lake County Republican Federation in 2008 and 2009, according to campaign disclosure forms.

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