An Adopted Boy Grew up a Man Who Bought an Island for 600 Million Dollars

2012/07/06 English damladogan


What would you do if you earned 213 thousand dollars a day; collect cars, yachts or real estate? Perhaps all of those… However, someone chose a really different way to spend his money. He bought himself a Hawaiian island for 600 million dollars. To top it all off, that island is ‘really special’ to his biggest rival Bill Gates. Welcome to the world of Larry Ellison, owner and CEO of Oracle.


American Larry Ellison has a wealth of 36 billion dollars at the age of 68. The founder and CEO of the renowned software company Oracle is the sixth richest man in the world. He is like a cartoon billionaire come to life. As wealthy people do, he spends a lot of his time collecting extravagant things: mansions, luxurious cars, airplanes, yachts… Plummeting real estate prices after the 2008 global economic crisis created an opportunity for him . He started buying houses he liked for pennies. His real estate properties are estimated to be worth about a billion dollars. However, the software tycoon says that he will continue buying houses until he owns the entire ‘Monopoly board’. Another passion of Ellison is luxurious yachts. When he visited Bodrum, the Aegean resort, in 2010, he was travelling on the 8th largest yacht in world, Rising Sun, for which he spent over 200 million dollars to build.
The sentence that changed his life: ‘You are adopted’
When Ellison was 12 his father gave him the shocking news. He told his son that he was adopted and added: “We’re having meatloaf tonight.” In an interview later on, Ellison admitted that he had spent quite a long time thinking about the sentence. With time, his anger grew so much that he wanted to prove himself to the man he long knew as his father. He dropped out of college twice and decided to start working. He moved from Chicago to California, the heart of technology. He became an instant success once he started writing codes at a software company called AMPEX. 
He was asked to develop a database program for the US intelligence, CIA. All of the international intelligence data was going to be collected in this program in order to create a massive database. The codename of the project was “Oracle.” Although the program was in its first version, Ellison named it Oracle v.2. Because he believed that no one would like to buy the first version of a product. Oracle became the name of his own company in 1977.
He hired private detectives to dig up dirt on Bill Gates
Oracle grew more and more each day. The business that started with an investment of $1,400 now has an annual revenue of 10 billion dollars. However, each new Forbes “World’s Billionaires” list was a disappointment for Ellison. On each list he was overshadowed by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Even private investigators were involved in the clash between the two. Ellison admitted in an interview that he once hired detectives to dig up dirt on Gates, even labeling this a “civic responsibility.” Investigators perused Microsoft garbage in search for confidential information, but could not come across something outstanding.
The tension rose between Ellison and Gates last week because of an island in Hawaii. One of the main islands in the archipelago, Lana’i, was put up for sale. It was on that island that Bill Gates married his wife in 1994. On top of this, Bill Gates is the co-owner of the Four Seasons hotel chain that manages the two hotels on the island. For all these reasons Bill Gates wanted to buy the island. However, Ellison was both faster and more eager to buy it – which translated in bigger generosity.
The most expensive island in the world is famous for its pineapples
So, how much does a Hawaiian island go for these days? The exact amount Ellison paid for the ownership of 98 percent of Lana’i island is kept confidential. However, it is estimated to be around 500 – 600 million dollars. The other 2 percent of the island are still owned by local residents. If the estimation is correct this makes Lana’i the most expensive island ever sold. English investor and owner of Virgin Group, Richard Branson held this title with Necker Island he bought for 100 million dollars. Ellison, who says that he is addicted to ‘winning’ outscores Branson by at least 400 million dollars.
Larry Ellison now owns a vast land of 365 square kilometers – just like in Maxis’ renowned Sim City game. He has still not decided what to do with the island. For years, the island’s 3,200 residents are depended on whoever owns it. They ask Ellison to make investments to the island and solve the unemployment issues. Lana’i used to provide 75 percent of the pineapple demand in the world. However, the ex-owner of the island ceased most of the agricultural production and rented the land to hotels. Inhabitants of Lana’i want these lands back. On the other hand, most people believe that Ellison’s priority will be investing in tourism. The island has neither an airport nor traffic lights. Moreover, the paved roads only total about 50 kilometers. For all these reasons Lana’i had remained in the background compared to other Hawaiian islands. 
Why did he congratulate Facebook’s founder
Larry Ellison and his ex-wife Melanie Craft
Ellison is also under the spotlight with regards to his private life. He declared that he uses Facebook to meet new people. He even congratulated Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg at one point for creating such a ‘life-changing’ technology. Known as a womanizer, Ellison was married 4 times, and also has 4 divorces. He has become the protagonist of novels since his last wife, Melanie Craft, is a romantic novelist. His fame has even spread to Hollywood where he appeared in the famous movie Iron Man 2. His last obsession is buying an NBA team. He has already bid for Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Hornets. Ellison hasn’t been able to buy a team yet. He needs remain content with only his stadium for now.

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