Oracle owner takes over the Hawaii Pineapple Island
Lanai's future in the hand of an unpredictable money hungry billionaire ?
The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission gave interim approval on Monday for three utilities on the Hawaiian island to be transferred to a billionaire software magnate.
As reported by FOX News, the Hawaii public utilities agency is approving of the sale of most of Lanai to Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, clearing the way for the deal to close this week.
The seller, billionaire David Murdock's Castle & Cooke Inc., asked that the transfer be approved quickly to let the sale go through.
The deal will make Ellison owner of 98 percent of the island's 141 square miles. It's not exactly clear what he plans to do with the island where some 3,200 people live.
The island's sale price has not been revealed.
No one knows what Larry Ellison's plans are for the Hawaiian Island of Lanai but he sure has taken on a boatload of problems.
Most billionaires buy private islands to get away from people. But Lanai is home to about 3,000 people, mostly living in Lanai City, since 98 percent of the island was privately owned by Castle and Cooke (Dole).
Plus, the island makes its living from tourism, with about 75,000 visitors a year.
That's a lot of people trooping through paradise.
Lanai was once known as the pineapple island. But the previous billionaire owner, David Murdock (who got his stake in Lanai when he rescued Castle and Cook from bankruptcy in 1985), shifted directions for Lanai. He ended the pineapple farms (less than 100 acres remain) and built two luxury resorts.
They've been a disaster, losing $20 million to $30 million a year, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser previously reported. At one point, Murdock contemplated shifting directions again and building a wind farm on Lanai to it to sell electricity to Maui. The locals hated that idea, too.
So, Ellison's island isn't private and needs $20 million to keep it afloat. At one point, critics said it was a "fantasy" to even think the property was sell-able.
Plus residents are starting to lobby Ellison for favors as if he were the king. He's not. Lanai is very much part of the United States. Reports NPR:
"Working-class residents on Lanai want stable jobs. Affordable housing. No onerous restrictions on hunting or fishing. A return to agriculture. Improved transportation to Maui, Oahu and other islands given an airport with limited flights. Even simple things like the reopening of the community pool."
Good luck with this one, Larry. The people of your not-so-private island are depending on you.
Harry Ellison isn't just another billionaire.
He is the stuff of legend, of movies and romance novels.
At 67, Ellison is the fifth richest person on the planet with a net worth of $33 billion, Forbes says.
No one enjoys money like Larry. He collects real estate, cars, airplanes, yachts. As a self-made man that came from modest beginnings, he has also developed an ego the size of his fortune.
Besides spending unfathomable amounts of money acquiring stuff, Ellison says and does so many outrageous things, that satirical stories about him have been widely reported as true and true stories about him have been widely reported as false.
Business insider collected some of the most outrageous stories about him.
Larry Ellison frequently spends past his billion dollar credit limit
True, at least as of 2002.As part of a shareholder lawsuit, a judge unsealed e-mails between Ellison and his personal financial advisor, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In them, the advisor chided Ellison for his spending habits. Ellison regularly pushed his credit limit of more than a billion dollars to its max in buying yachts and homes, the e-mails said.
A billion-dollars on credit … who knew?
Ellison snooped through Microsoft's garbage
True, sort of. It wasn't actually Ellison's hands that went through the garbage and the trash wasn't technically Microsoft's.
Oracle hired private investigators to sift through the trash of a research group Oracle suspected of being funded by Microsoft during that company's antitrust trial.
"It's absolutely true we set out to expose Microsoft's covert activities," he said at a press conference. "I feel very good about what we did.… Maybe our investigation organization may have done things unsavory, but it's not illegal. We got the truth out."
Ellison has twice tried, and twice failed, to buy an NBA team
True. He tried to buy the New Orleans Hornets and was turned down. The Hornets were instead bought by the NBA.
One unclear point is if he was planning on bringing the Hornets to San Jose. The San Jose Mercury News published a statement from Ellison denying plans to move the team (that story has since disappeared from the site). But former owner George Shin told Nola.com that he refused Ellison's higher offer because he knew Ellison wanted to move the team to California.
Ellison also tried to buy the Golden Gate Warriors, too, but lost that bid, too. This even though the Warriors play at Oracle Arena and Ellison is often seen at Warriors games.
Sadly, basketball fan Ellison still doesn't own his own team, only a stadium.