Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

# 274 Jim Pattison $6.43B

Random fact: Counts Montana-based billionaire Dennis Washington as a friend.

Overview

Pattison owns Jim Pattison Group, a conglomerate with C$10.6 billion ($8 billion) of revenue in 2018. The company is the largest car dealer in western Canada and publisher of Guinness World Records. It also has a stake in Westshore Terminals Investment, operator of the busiest coal export facility in North America.

As of :
Last change -$21.9M ( -0.3%)
YTD change +$131M ( +2.1%)
Industry Media & Telecom
Biggest asset Overwaitea Group
Citizenship Canada
Age 91
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Jim Pattison's net worth of $6.43B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Pattison's fortune is derived from his ownership of the Jim Pattison Group, a conglomerate that operates in a dozen industries. The only financial figure Pattison discloses is annual revenue, which was C$10.6 billion ($8 billion) in 2018. 

The valuation is based on analysis of 12 business segments derived from information disclosed by competitors, analyst estimates, legal and regulatory disclosures and non-financial metrics, such as headcount and market share, that were disclosed by Pattison during phone and in-person interviews from 2012 through 2018.

Where publicly traded peer companies exist, the businesses were compared to the financial valuations of competitors in the market. In cases where there are no publicly traded peers, valuations are based on recent sales of similar companies and the stock performance of public peers.

Pattison also controls shares in publicly traded companies in Canada. Most are identified through regulatory disclosures including 50 percent of Canfor, a forest-products company, 33 percent of coal export terminal Westshore Terminals, 18 percent of diamond miner Canterra Minerals, 16 percent of green energy producer Just Energy and 11 percent of lumber producer West Fraser Timber.

Pattison was ranked as Canada's wealthiest person in 2013, when he was asked about the valuation in a phone interview with Bloomberg News. "I haven't done the numbers, so I really don't know,'" he said. "I never pay attention to that." 

Biography

Birthdate: 10/1/1928
Family: Married, 3 children

Born during the Great Depression in rural Saskatchewan to American homesteader parents, James "Jimmy" Pattison turned a youthful willingness to work hard into a love of selling cars, through which he built one of the largest fortunes in Canada. Soon after Pattison was born, the financial ruin caused by the Depression sent his parents westward to Vancouver. There he accompanied his father on piano-repair calls during the day and was home-schooled by his mother in the evening.

Before he turned 10, Pattison earned extra money working odd jobs in food and periodicals -- industries he would later come to dominate -- selling seeds and magazine subscriptions, and being a swamper, the person who tossed newspaper bundles off delivery trucks to newsstands.

As an undergraduate at the University of British Columbia, Pattison paid his tuition by fixing up and selling used cars to fellow students for $150. That led to a job managing a GM dealership, which he took rather than completing his studies. Within a few years, according to his biography with the Horatio Alger society, which honored him in 2004, he was recruited to manage a pots and pans business for four times what he made selling cars. Unhappy to have left the car business, he returned to the dealership, vowing to only work at what he loved.

He persuaded a bank manager in 1961 to lend him an amount eight times the bank's loan limit, enabling him to purchase his own Pontiac dealership. Pattison grew familiar with advertising by marketing cars on radio. By the end of the decade, he bought a radio station and an illuminated signs business, which he felt were natural extensions of his car operation. By the end of the decade, he acquired the Overwaitea grocery store chain and a regional periodical distributorship.

In the decades that followed, he expanded those businesses and added divisions in food packaging, hotels and entertainment -- the Ripley's Believe It or Not and Guinness Book of World Records brands -- as well as a stake in Canada forest products company, Canfor.

Pattison owns the largest billboard company in Canada, the largest magazine distributor on the North American continent, grocery stores, a food distribution business, a fishing fleet and seafood brand in Canada, radio and television stations and more than a dozen auto dealerships in western Canada.

Except for a single minority investment that was bought by another company, Pattison told Bloomberg News in December 2012 that he hasn't sold an investment in 22 years. "We're operators, not investors," he said. A strong market position and return on invested capital are his primary investment metrics.

Pattison lives in West Vancouver with his wife, Mary. Their son, James Pattison Jr., runs the Ripley's business out of Orlando, Florida. Two other children, both daughters, are not involved in the family business.

Milestones
  • 1928 Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to American homesteader parents.
  • 1961 Persuades bank to exceed its loan cap to fund first car dealership.
  • 1967 Buys a neon sign maker and outdoor advertising company.
  • 1968 Expands into food business by acquiring Overwaitea grocery stores.
  • 1986 Holding company becomes Canada's largest individually owned firm.
  • 2009 Demise of competitor gives News Group half of U.S. periodical market.
  • 2013 Takes snack maker Sun-Rype private in deal valuing company at $78 million.
  • 2017 Annual sales exceed C$10 billion for the first time.