They call that F U money

Good choice, Larry Ellison, good choice.

Word spread earlier tonight that Oracle CEO and twice-spurned NBA franchise-bidder Larry Ellison secured a deal to buy 98% of the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Initially the reports did not list a price for Lanai. Newer reports had the asking price at $500-600 million.

Ellison greatest love is yachting, so it stands to reason that the billionaire 36 times over would eventually seek out a dominion of his own to practice his sport. Lanai is one of the best yachting venues in the world. It’s secluded and secure enough for Ellison’s BMW Oracle team to develop and sail without much interference, and it’s “halfway” to New Zealand just in case the Kiwis win again.

Lanai has either over 3,000 residents or less than 2,000 depending on who you ask. It has two Four Seasons resorts – the same number as the Bay Area. Security can be remarkably tight since a private company runs the entire island (which is public).

In celebration of Ellison’s crazy-like-a-fox purchase, I’ve put together the following table comparing Ellison’s Lanai purchase to a typical NBA franchise.

Evil mountain/volcano lair potential is real.

I’m sure that Ellison has had this in the works for months, just as he did with the America’s Cup San Francisco development. Since that part had to be curtailed due the cost of developing Piers 30/32, it could be that he was motivated to pull the trigger on Lanai. It probably didn’t help the man’s legendary ego that some mere near-billionaire half Ellison’s age negotiated a deal to buy the Memphis Grizzlies.

On a related note, SF’s Pier 29 suffered significant damage from a four-alarm blaze that destroyed much of the pier’s warehouse structure. The structure was meant to house concessions and sponsor exhibits for the 2013 America’s Cup. Officials from the City and developers said that the fire wouldn’t impact the development.


16 thoughts on “They call that F U money

  1. Pfft, you are way behind the curve on this. You’re stuck in stupid ballpark land, whatever. I told you when you were in freaking LA: go to the beach. Nice win against the Dodgers tonight. LA sucks.

  2. Well so much for Ellison being the savior for the A’s, Warriors, Grizzlies, Kings, whichever desperate fan base is delusional this week. He bought something much better and far more exclusive than some dime a dozen pro sports team.

  3. @ML, thank for the “evil lair” part. I almost spit my coffee out. Too funny.

  4. It was funny and it’ll likely happen. I can’t imagine Ellison won’t build some wonderful “evil lair” somewhere on the island for his own enjoyment. Though whether it’ll be in the volcano or not remains to be seen (or not if it’s a secret lair). I feel kinda bad for the Lanai residents though that don’t seem to know Larry’s hit or miss history of community involvement. He does have a tendency to be less than cooperative when it comes to opposing views (like when he sued SJ over the airport curfew).

  5. There are more than five beaches on Lanai, but you have to use a boat to get to some of them. Spent a day on one over xmas holidays this past year. Good sized sandy cove, great little right-breaking wave wedged off a cliff, crystal clear water and snorkling reefs within easy swimming distance. Nobody but us around. Of course, you also get to motor back past the humpbacks when you decide return to civilization. The man has purchased paradise.

  6. ML, can you delete that crap he was writing about me, thanks.
    Xoot, makes me kind of sad since he’s been running some of his Oracle training out of San Diego as well as SF until recently. He’ll undoubtedly move it to Lanai before long. But then would could blame him.

  7. The land he bought was owned by Castle and Cooke which was co-founded by my ancestor Amos Starr Cooke (5 time great grandfather) and that land was in our family until it was sold to Murdock in the early 80’s. he kept the Castle and Cooke name though which is cool.

  8. by the way, Lanai kind of sucks

  9. if i had the choice i would buy the A’s over Lanai

  10. @ACV you’re like George Clooney’s character in The Descendants

  11. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but I had to comment on Lanai. I was with my soon-to-be ex in Maui way back in the spring of 2005 and took the ferry from Lahaina to Lanai. I think it was about a 45 minute ride and then we had to walk a considerable distance to a beach. We weren’t prepared with maps so we just winged it and went to a very secluded, beautiful beach on the southern part of the island. We ate brunch at a hotel there near the beach and the price was ridiculous. After brunch we walked to the nearest white sandy beach but I have to admit that it kind of sucked. For one thing the wind that day was beyond irritating, which made it impossible to keep towels or anything light on the ground because it would be swept away. The other thing is that there were these miniature crabs crawling all over the sand and they made it impossible to lay out in the sun without a bunch of them crawling next to you. Because of the high winds, the shore break seemed to be Mavericks-sized and made it, um, uncomfortable if not dangerous to swim in unless you knew how to handle rips. Finally, the nearest bathroom was way back at the hotel. We knew there was an inland city but we didn’t go to it. There was maybe one other couple on this beach that, admittedly, would be beautiful on a non-windy day and minus the crabs. My assessment: Great areas that can be greatly improved upon. It’s possible that Lanai caters to a specific demographic; those who want a very private vacation and don’t really have an interest in the beaches, hence the inland city. Whatever. I’ve done it once but I doubt if I’ll go back unless some of the coastal areas are developed to make it easier to get around. It will be interesting to see what/if LE does with the island. One other interesting factoid that we learned while there: We mainlanders call it Luh-Nigh while locals call it Luh-Na-EE, with an emphasis on the EE.

  12. Pier 29 just magically catches on fire? $50 says Ellison moves the America’s Cup to Hawaii. The only better location in the West other than SF is Hawaii. He just bought a whole damned island. Plus, Hawaii is already built for tourism, and all of the hotels needed for America’s Cup don’t have to be on Lanai. Obviously Hawaii has a strong boating community and lots of wealthy people. As you mention, “Lanai is one of the best yachting venues in the world.”

    Does anybody know America’s Cup rules? The winner gets to declare where the next race is but once he’s declared it, can he change it? Did Ellison already officially declare it would be in SF, or was he just shopping venues when he was looking at Pier 32?

    I never really paid attention to Larry Ellison until he tried to buy the Warriors. I gotta say, I like the dude’s style.

  13. @LakeshoreOAK – Ellison can’t just move on a whim. The official bidding ended last year. Unless something truly catastrophic happened like a major earthquake, it would be difficult to unwind everything that’s already been done legally and process-wise, unless Ellison is fixin’ for a lawsuit by the City of SF.

  14. I’ll give a slightly different report in Lanai. I took the ferry over from Maui to play both golf courses in December. There’s an extensive shuttle system in place from the ferry around the island, and the Four Seasons Resort in the beach is jaw-droppingly awesome. Would love to back and stay there in the future.

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