When you are the third richest man in America, of course you can afford to buy Hawaii island. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle Corp., has bought Lanai, the sixth-largest Hawaiian island. How much Ellison paid for the island wasn’t disclosed, but the asking price for the island was said to be between $500 million and $600 million.
Lanai, also known as the Pineapple Island (due to its pineapple fields) is still sparsely inhabited and boasts plenty of unspoiled charm. The 365 sq km (141 sq mile) island include 80 kilometres (47 miles) of coastline, two Four Seasons resorts and two golf courses with clubhouses, and is accessible from neighbouring islands by helicopter and small planes. According to a Bloomberg News story, the island has zero traffic lights and some of its luxury hotels and rugged rural areas can be reached only by vehicles with 4-wheel drive.
Ellison has bought 98% of the Lanai island from its owner – billionaire David Murdock, boss of the Castle & Cooke, a Los Angeles-based company. Murdock owned it since 1985, but he decided to sell the property after losing a whopping $18 million and $25 million each year on the same. The State of Hawaii owns the rest, 2% of the island.
Ellison hasn’t said what he plans to do with the vast majority of the island, but the sellers say he plans substantial investments that will create jobs and stimulate tourism to the island once owned in the 1920s by the founder of Dole Foods Co. Lanai is home to 3,200 residents.
“I believe that Larry Ellison will bring a new and fresh perspective to the island and its people,” said Mr Murdock. “As a property owner on Lanai, I will continue to be a member of the community and will be looking forward to its future.”