It’ll probably come as no surprise to learn some of the world’s richest people live in California’s glitziest town, Los Angeles. As Investopedia notes, around 25% of American billionaires live in California, with a higher than average concentration of those choosing to base themselves in LA. How these billionaires made their fortunes is as variable as the individuals themselves: some were born to wealth, others have made it through technological innovations, others still have made it through revolutionizing the transportation industry. Here, we take a look at the top ten richest people in LA in reverse order.
10. William Barron Hilton - Net Worth: $2.5 billion
In at number 10 with a net worth of $2.5 billion is hotelier, William Barron Hilton. In 1966, he was named the president and CEO of his father’s business, Hilton Hotels. During his tenure, Hilton was responsible for introducing gambling in the hotel’s portfolio, making the Hilton the first NYSE-traded company to enter the casino gaming industry. The bulk of Hilton’s personal wealth comes from the $800 million he secured in 2007 when the hotel chain was sold to the private equity firm Blackstone for $26 billion.
9. Sean Parker - Net Worth: $2.7 Billion
With a fortune of $2.7 billion, Sean Parker ranks as the 9th richest person in LA. The entrepreneur’s wealth can be traced to his various ventures in tech: in 1999, he cofounded the file-sharing site Napster, a site that, despite being forced to close under record label pressure, has since been credited as helping to revolutionize music during the early 2000s. Other projects include Plaxo, a social networking service, Spotify, and Brigade Media.
8. Steven Udvar-Hazy - Net Worth: $4 Billion
Hungarian businessman Steven Udvar-Hazy comes in next with a net worth of $4 billion. After launching his own airline business in his 20s, he realized the quickest way to success (and wealth) was in leasing planes to other airlines. As chairman of Air Lease Corp, he’s credited as not only profiting from the airline leasing industry, but in actually creating it.
7. John Tu - Net Worth: $5.1 Billion
Next up we have John Tu, co-founder and president of Kingston Technology. Tu’s first step toward billionaire status came in 1982 when he co-founded Camintonn. In 1986, he and his co-founder David Sun sold the company for $6million, using the proceeds to found Kingston Technology. In 1996, they decided to sell 80% of the company to Softbank. At the time of the sale, they netted $1.5 billion from the deal; 3 years later, they bought the company back under their control for the relatively minor $450 million.
6. Edward Roski - Net Worth: $5.7 Billion
In 1948, Ed Roski Sr founded Majestic Realty; 71 years later, and the business has grown into one of the foremost real estate developers in the country thanks to Roski Sr’s son, Edward Roski. As President and Chairman of Majestic, Roski owns more than 83 million square feet of prime real estate. He also owns majority interests in the Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers, and Silverton Las Vegas Stadium.
5. Eli Broad - Net Worth $6.9 billion
In 1957, Eli Broad took his first major leap in business with the creation of Kaufman & Broad. The firm, which was part-financed by a $25000 loan from his in-laws, rapidly developed into one of the primary homebuilders in the US, churning out millions of quick-to-build, affordable-to-buy homes for the post-war generation. As The Famous People notes, his portfolio grew still further when he acquired Sun Life Insurance, while his bank balance grew substantially when he later sold it for $18 billion in 1998.
4. Patrick Soon-Shiong - Net Worth $7.1 billion
While some people may be unfamiliar with the name Patrick Soon-Shiong, millions of cancer patients across the globe are familiar with his invention, Abraxane, one of the primary drugs used in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. In addition to his works in the pharmaceutical and medical arenas, Soon-Shiong owns the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Tribune, as well as owning a minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. In April 2016, he was reported by the LA Times to be one of the highest paid CEO’s in the country- something he’s still enjoying the benefit of today, as his $7.1 billion net worth attests.
3. David Geffen - Net Worth: $7.8 billion
Business magnate, producer, studio executive and philanthropist David Geffen takes bronze position on our list with a net worth of $7.8 billion. Geffen’s first step toward achieving billionaire status came in 1970, when he co-created Asylum Records. 10 years later, he formed Geffen Records, and a furher 10 years after that he launched DGC Records. In 1994, he co-founded DreamWorks SKG alongside Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenburg, marking his transition from simply a music maker to a key Hollywood player. Geffen’s contribution to the entertainment industry has been recognized on numerous occasions over the years, not least by the President’s Merit Award for ‘indelible contribution to the music industry’ he received at the Pre-GRAMMY Gala And Grammy Salute To Industry Icons in 2011.
2. Stewart and Lynda Resnick - Net Worth: $9 Billion
If you’ve ever purchased a Halos mandarin orange, a POM Wonderful or Fiji Water, then you’ll have directly contributed to the $9 billion fortune Californian couple Stewart and Lynda Resnick currently sit on. As well as owning a huge chunk of Kern Water Bank, one of California's biggest underground water storage facilities, the couple own the holding company, The Wonderful Company, parent to the POM Wonderful and Fiji Water brands, Wonderful Halos, Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds JUSTIN Wines, Landmark Wines, JNSQ Wines and the Teleflora floral wire service company.
1. Elon Musk – Net Worth: $21 billion
It’ll come as little surprise to learn that of all the wealthy people in LA, Elon Musk is the richest. With a net worth of $19.5 billion, the CEO and Chairman of Telsa currently ranks #1 on Forbes’ list of Innovative leaders, #40 on Billionaires 2019, #24 on Forbes 400, #25 on Powerful People, and #12 Richest in Tech. With Telsa, Musk is helping to transform the automotive industry by introducing fully -electric vehicles into a market that has traditionally been dominated by gas-guzzling, CO2 pumping, environmental disasters. Meanwhile, his $20 billion-dollar rocket company, SpaceX, is taking some of the greatest strides in space transportation the world has ever witnessed.
Written by Allen Lee
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