Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 379 J K Irving $6.29B

Random fact: Dropped out of Acadia University.


Irving controls JD Irving, a closely held company that owns Canadian shipyards, potato processors, paper product makers and home improvement stores, and more than three million acres of timberland in Maine and eastern Canada. In 2008, he and two brothers split a $3 billion trust and the conglomerate their father founded.

As of :
Last change +$12.2M ( +0.2%)
YTD change +$37.6M ( +0.6%)
Biggest asset Kent Supply Centers
Country / Region Canada
Age 94
Industry Commodities
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

J K Irving's net worth of $6.29B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Irving's fortune is derived from his ownership of JD Irving, a conglomerate based in Saint John, New Brunswick. He's the sole owner of the business, which was part of a company founded by his father, K.C. Irving.

Irving owns 3.2 million acres of timberland in Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It's valued at $440 an acre. Prices are from Jack Lutz, president of Forest Research Group, in Hermon, Maine. Irving also leases 2.6 million acres of provincial New Brunswick land. It's valued at $440 an acre and discounted 25%, discounts seen in leased land transactions in the U.S. south, said Lutz. Subleased land isn't valued.

Irving Shipbuilding was awarded a $25 billion federal contract in 2011 to supply Canada's navy. The contract should run for 20 to 30 years but isn't guaranteed, according to the office of the National Procurement Strategy in 2014. The business is valued at 0.5 times its projected annual revenue of $500 million, which is based on a supply contract the company signed with the Canadian government in 2011.

Irving owns Kent Supply Centers, a home-improvement chain with 48 locations. Its valuation is based on company disclosed location sizes, peer sales per square foot and peer average enterprise value-to-Ebitda.

Irving's sawmills, consumer paper products and potato processing businesses are valued based on data disclosed by Irving, regulators and/or competitors. A series of other businesses are aggregated here because their valuation is based on data that isn't updated on a regular basis.

Irving also has one-third of a $3 billion trust left by his father, according to a 2012 Bermuda Supreme Court opinion.

Anne McInerney, a spokesperson for JD Irving, didn't respond to requests for comment on the net worth calculation.


Family: Married, 4 children

James K. Irving was born in New Brunswick, Canada. His father, Kenneth Colin Irving, founded the Irving Co., a collection of oil, timber, consumer products and ship-building assets valued at more than $10 billion at his death in 1992. The company was split into three and is owned by his descendants.

K.C. Irving started the family business with a Ford dealership in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1925, later expanding into gas stations and paper production. James and two his brothers, Arthur and Jack, grew up in the port city of Saint John, attended boarding schools in eastern Canada and, later, Acadia University, where all three dropped out to work in the family business, according to an interview with John DeMont, a Nova Scotia-based writer who worked for Arthur Irving and wrote a biography of the family, "Citizen Irving: K.C. Irving and His Legacy."

As a young man, JK preferred the family business to school, leaving Acadia University within a week to manage logging on family lands in northern New Brunswick, according to DeMont. The three branches of the Irving family split the company into three in 2008, with James getting ownership off the paper-focused division he had operated since leaving college.

While the Irvings' imprint on their home city of Saint John is strong, the family lets out little information about its activities, to the point of being obsessed with secrecy, according to DeMont. During K.C.'s life, the Irvings once hired a writer to produce an official biography of the family, then refused to cooperate when the writer requested a list of the family companies, DeMont wrote in his book.

JK's sons Jim and Robert attended prep school in Bath, Maine, while his daughters Judith and Mary Jeane went to prep school in Stony Brook, New York. The oldest of his children, Jim, runs the forestry products arm of JD Irving today.

  • 1882 J.D. Irving, the son of Scottish immigrants, founds Irving companies.
  • 1899 Kenneth Colin Irving is born in Bouctouche, New Brunswick.
  • 1957 James Irving begins company reforestation program.
  • 1992 Canada industrialist Kenneth Colin Irving dies.
  • 2008 JK, Arthur and Jack Irving legally split family conglomerate.
  • 2010 Brother Jack Irving dies after a brief illness.
  • 2011 Irving wins Canada shipbuilding contract worth $25 billion.
  • 2014 Wins rights to 2.6 million acres of New Brunswick crown lands.