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John Alfred Paulson (born December 14, 1955) is the founder and president of Paulson & Co., a New York-based hedge fund.

Paulson was born in Queens, New York, the son of Jacqueline and Alfred Paulson, a chief financial officer for Ruder Finn. Paulson attended the Whitestone Hebrew Centre (a United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism school) in Queens. He received his bachelor's degree in finance from New York University’s College of Business and Public Administration (now called NYU Stern School), where he graduated first in his class. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was designated a Baker Scholar, the school's top academic honor, for graduating in the top 5 percent. Paulson began his career at Boston Consulting Group before leaving to join Odyssey Partners, working under Leon Levy. He later worked in the mergers and acquisitions group at Bear Stearns. Prior to founding his own firm, he was a partner at mergers arbitrage firm Gruss Partners LP. In 1994, he founded his own hedge fund with $2 million and two employees (himself and an assistant).

Paulson & Co., Inc. had assets under management (as of June 1, 2007) of $12.5 billion (95% from institutions), which leapt to $36 billion as of November 2008.In 2007 alone he made $15 billion for his firm. Under his direction, Paulson & Co has capitalized on the problems in the foreclosure and mortgage backed securities (MBS) markets. In 2008 he decided to start a new fund that would capitalize on Wall Street's capital problems by lending money to investment banks and other hedge funds currently feeling the pressure of the more than $345 billion of write downs resulting from under-performing assets linked to the housing market. On May 15, 2008, Paulson & Co., which bought 50 million shares of Yahoo stock during the first quarter of 2008, said it is supporting Carl Icahn on a proxy fight to replace Yahoo's board. In early 2008, the firm hired former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

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