Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 255 Nicky Oppenheimer $8.35B

Random fact: Studied politics, economics and philosophy at Oxford University.


Oppenheimer sold his family's 40% stake in De Beers, the world's biggest diamond producer, to mining company Anglo American in 2012 for $5.2 billion in cash. He maintains private equity investments in Africa, Asia, the US and Europe through London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital.

As of :
Last change +$25.0M ( +0.3%)
YTD change +$325M ( +4.0%)
Biggest asset Cash
Country / Region South Africa
Age 77
Industry Diversified
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Nicky Oppenheimer's net worth of $8.35B 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

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Oppenheimer's fortune is derived from the proceeds he collected selling his family's 40% stake in De Beers, the world's largest rough diamond producer, to Anglo American for $5.2 billion in August 2012. 

He also collected about $390 million in dividends from Anglo American, and the value of his cash investments is based on these proceeds and the effect of taxes and charitable contributions. Market performance of the investments is weighted towards commodities and African markets.

The billionaire told Bloomberg News in a November 2011 interview he planned to deploy most of the proceeds into private equity investments focused on Africa, with some of the money going to increase his stake in Tana Africa Capital, a private equity joint venture he has with Temasek Holdings, a Singapore-based investment fund. He invested an undisclosed amount in 4Di Capital, a South Africa-focused venture capital firm, in November 2012 according to an article in news website, Ventureburn, citing a company statement. He formerly held a less than 1% stake in Anglo American, which was removed from the analysis in December 2017 following completion of a sell-down.


Family: Married, 1 child

Nicholas Frank Oppenheimer was born June 8, 1945, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the third generation of a mining dynasty. His grandfather, Ernest Oppenheimer, founded the mining company Anglo American in 1917 to dig the world's biggest gold field, the Witwatersrand, near Johannesburg. The elder Oppenheimer took control of De Beers in 1929, building it into the world's biggest diamond business -- a distinction it still holds today -- and linking it to Anglo through cross-shareholdings between the companies. Harry, who is Ernest's son and Nicky's father, took over as chairman in 1957. He led Anglo American's expansion into South African banking, steel, sugar and paper as the country's isolation during apartheid prevented it from buying mines in foreign markets.

Nicky joined the family business at age 23 after graduating from Oxford, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics. His first job at Anglo American was as a personal assistant to the chairman, his father. He became chairman of De Beers in 1998, and was eventually charged with transforming the company's business model after it lost its near-monopoly on the diamond distribution market in 2000. Another challenge: purging the company of its association with so-called blood diamonds, which had been traded through conflict zones. In 2003, the company helped establish the Kimberley Process certification scheme, which aims to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market.

The Oppenheimer family sold their remaining 40 percent stake in De Beers to Anglo American for $5.2 billion in August 2012, ending the diamond dynasty's 80-year ownership. Oppenheimer told Bloomberg News at the time he planned to invest some of the proceeds from the sale in Africa. He already had an Africa-focused private equity joint venture, Tana Africa Capital, with Temasek Holdings. A supporter of wilderness conservation, he owns South Africa's largest private game reserve, Tswalu Kalahari, with his son Jonathan.

He and his wife live in Johannesburg and have a country estate in the English county of Berkshire.

  • 1968 Joins Anglo American as a personal assistant to the chairman.
  • 1983 Appointed deputy chairman of Anglo American; serves until 2001.
  • 1998 Becomes chairman of De Beers.
  • 2000 De Beers loses its near-monopoly on diamond distribution.
  • 2001 De Beers is delisted from Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • 2003 Joins Kimberley Process, a scheme to ban conflict diamonds.
  • 2011 Nicky Oppenheimer resigns from Anglo American board.
  • 2012 Sells remaining 40 percent stake in De Beers to Anglo American.