Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 36 Len Blavatnik $25.8B

Random fact: Movie financier and an executive producer on "The Butler."

Overview

Blavatnik owns Access Industries, a New York-based business that controls 20.7% of LyondellBasell, the world's largest producer of polypropylene. He owns Warner Music Group and has stakes in several closely held and publicly traded assets. He collected $7 billion selling his share of a Russian oil venture in 2013.

As of :
Last change -$64.3M ( -0.3%)
YTD change +$7.47B ( +40.7%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset LYB US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 62
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Len Blavatnik's net worth of $25.8B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Blavatnik's fortune derives from a 20.7% stake in publicly traded chemicals manufacturer LyondellBasell, the world's largest producer of polypropylene and polypropylene compounds, according to its website. He controls the Houston-based business through Access Industries, a New York-based holding company he created in 1986.

He also owns an estimated 5.8% stake in United Co. Rusal through Sual Partners, a joint venture with billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

Blavatnik sold a 12.5% stake in Russian oil joint venture TNK-BP for $7 billion to Russia's state-owned oil company, Rosneft, in March 2013, after collecting almost $5 billion in dividends from 2004 to 2012. The value of his cash investments was provided by the company in August 2016 and is tracked along with market returns since then.

He acquired Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion in 2011, investing $1.2 billion in cash. WMG is valued using published financials for the year ended Sept. 30, 2018, and comparing it to the Universal Music Group, which was valued at 29 billion euros by Deutsche Bank in January 2019 and discounting 55 percent to account for Warner's smaller market share and lower revenues. Warner's valuation was updated on April 25, 2019 resulting in a $6 billion increase in net worth estimate.

Through Access, Blavatnik has invested in numerous companies, including Facebook, Spotify and Amazon. He also owns personal and commercial properties around the globe. The value of these assets are less transparent, and are included based on information provided by a spokeswoman for Blavatnik in March 2019. The representative asked not to be identified because the information is private. The assets are detailed in the individual valuation notes and verified independently where possible.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/14/1957
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: Harvard Business School, Columbia University, Moscow State University

Len Blavatnik was born in Ukraine in 1957, the son of two university professors. After attending Moscow University in the 1970s, he emigrated from Russia to the U.S. with his family. He graduated with a master's degree in computer science from Columbia University in 1981 and an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1989. He had become a U.S. citizen five years earlier.

After school, Blavatnik worked at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where he developed pattern-recognition software that helped the school catch cheating students. He later worked at Andersen Consulting and Macy's, where he became director of information services. He began investing in New York real estate and soon recognized the opportunities emerging in Russia.

He incorporated Access Industries, a holding company, in 1986. Four years later, he partnered with his former classmate Viktor Vekselberg to make investments in aluminum businesses that were being privatized by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Surviving Russia's so-called aluminum wars, the two began buying smelting factories, eventually combining the assets into United Co. Rusal, now the world's second-largest aluminum producer.

With Vekselberg and three billionaire partners from Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, Blavatnik acquired a 40 percent stake in TNK in 1997, taking control of the former state-owned oil company that had interests in several West Siberian oil fields. Two years later, they acquired the most productive subsidiary of competitor Sidanco -- then owned in part by BP -- which had been declared bankrupt by a commercial court in Siberia. BP's chief executive officer at the time, John Browne, later called the legal system "rigged."

BP paid almost $7 billion to become a 50 percent owner of TNK. Fridman and his partners consolidated the other half under the holding company Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR). The investment formed TNK-BP, Russia's largest foreign oil investment. TNK-BP CEO Bob Dudley -- now CEO of BP -- was forced to leave Russia in 2008 after a strategy dispute. AAR sued BP in 2011 over a separate Arctic development deal it tried to strike with Rosneft. BP executives said that the company would sell its stake, and in May 2012, Fridman stepped down from his role as CEO. In October, Rosneft announced it would acquire the entire company. TNK-BP paid $38 billion in dividends through 2012. The billionaires sold their half of the venture to Russia's state-owned oil company, Rosneft, for $27.7 billion in March 2013.

In the past decade, Blavatnik has accelerated his acquisitions, including his purchase of the now-merged chemical companies Lyondell in 2005 and Basell in 2007. Operating under heavy debt in a weak economy, LyondellBasell filed for bankruptcy in 2009. It emerged a year later, with financing in part from Access, which owns more than 20 percent of the company's equity.

Milestones
  • 1957 Born in Ukraine.
  • 1981 Graduates with a master's degree from Columbia University.
  • 1986 Incorporates holding company Access Industries.
  • 1989 Gets an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • 1996 Forms aluminum company SUAL with Renova's Viktor Vekselberg.
  • 2003 Joins TNK-BP partnership between BP, Alfa-Access-Renova.
  • 2010 Funds Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government.
  • 2011 Acquires Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion.
  • 2013 State-owned Rosneft buys AAR's TNK-BP stake for $27.7 billion.