The firm has made 30 acquisitions and significant investments and returned over $14 billion in profit for its investors. Successful acquisitions include Gulfstream Aerospace, Topps Playing Cards, Dr Pepper, and General Instrument. The company has usually been successful in making a profit on such purchases, selling Gulfstream to General Dynamics, and General Instrument to Motorola. In the case of Gulfstream, Ted Forstmann took direct control of the financially ailing company's day-to-day operations to improve the company's attractiveness to a potential acquirer.
One prominent episode in the life of the company was the 1988 bidding war for RJR Nabisco. Forstmann Little offered to acquire RJR Nabisco, but the management (chiefly F. Ross Johnson) instead chose Shearson Lehman Hutton. In the end, the board of directors chose Forstmann Little's arch-rival, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.. The episode was popularized in the book Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco.
Other headline transactions the firm participated in include Revlon (1985), which resulted in the so-called Revlon Duty, and Citadel Broadcasting, of which Forstmann Little owns 27%, following a merger with ABC Radio in 2006. In 2004, Forstmann Little acquired IMG in a $750 million deal, and in 2005 bought 24 Hour Fitness for $1.6 billion.