Haute 100 Los Angeles 2010: The Billionaires

Our 2010 Haute 100 Los Angeles details the accomplishments of the most influential people in the city. See below the group of billionaires who made the list this year.

Donald Bren
Industry: Real Estate
Irvine Company

What Makes Him Haute: An American real estate mogul and chairman of the Irvine Company, Bren is the master builder/designer behind Orange County, where he developed half of Newport Beach. In March 09, Bren made The Sunday Time’s “Green Rich List” for donating $20 million to UCSB’s School of Environmental Science. The conservationist has donated 50,000 acres of land to the O.C. to be used for parks, recreation, greenways, and preserves.

Ronald Burkle
Industry: Investing
Company: Yucaipa Companies

What Makes Him Haute: He started his fortune by buying and selling supermarket chains and soon after created his private equity firm, Yucaipa, which invests in retail, manufacturing, and distribution. The company recently invested in the retail brand, American Apparel. The business billionaire is currently stuck in a heated dispute with Barnes & Noble, as he tries to increase his share from 19 percent to 37 percent.

Alan Casden
Industry: Real Estate
Company: Casden Properties LLC

What Makes Him Haute: One of the wealthiest men in the world, this self-made accountant-turned-developer billionaire is a builder of inner-city, high-density real estate. He is a loyal backer of Jewish and Israeli causes. Casden has two mixed-use projects in the works in West Hollywood and West L.A.

David Geffen
Industry: Entertainment
Company: DreamWorks SKG

What Makes Him Haute: Geffen is an American record executive, film producer, theatrical producer, and philanthropist. He first founded Asylum Records in 1970 (Eagles) followed by Geffen Records (Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses). He then moved on to start entertainment boutique DreamWorks with partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, eventually selling it to Viacom for $1.5 billion. His personal $175 million profits are said to have gone to charity.

Alec Gores
Industry: Private Equity
Company: Gores Group

What Makes Him Haute: Gores is the founder, chairman, and CEO of The Gores Group, an extremely lucrative private-based equity firm that specializes in acquiring multi-million dollar businesses. Their most recent acquisition was Alliance Entertainment in early September, which is the largest wholesale distributor of CDs, DVDs, and video games in the U.S.

William H. Gross
Industry: Finance
Company: PIMCO

What Makes Him Haute: He’s a chief investment officer and legendary bond investor. The co-founder of PIMCO is one of the financial geniuses of our time and has authored several books.

George Joseph
Industry: Insurance
Company: Mercury General

What Makes Him Haute: The self-made billionaire developed Mercury General insurance company for individuals having difficulty obtaining auto insurance; the company went public in 1985. Mercury General backed the June ballot initiative that would allow insurers to offer discounts to Californians who switch providers. Joseph stepped down as chief executive in 2006 at age 86.

Kirk Kerkorian
Industry: Real Estate
Company: MGM

What Makes Him Haute: With only a high school diploma, Kerkorian is arguably one of the greatest business visionaries in the world. After serving as a fighter pilot in WWII he went on to buy and sell hotels, an airline, and sold and bought MGM studios three times. MGM Mirage owns more than half the hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip today, and last December, the 92-year-old invested in the $8.5 billion CityCenter in Las Vegas, a hub for shops, restaurants, residences, hotels, and spas.

Gary Michelson
Industry: Medicine
Company: Found Animals

What Makes Him Haute: Michelson found his fortune by licensing tools that are often integral to the completion of complicated back surgery. He then enforced his patents in two legal cases, one of which resulted in $1.35 billion settlement. He now uses his fortune for charities and is working on a solution for the large number of unwanted pets in the U.S., focusing on the Los Angeles area.

Michael Milken
Industry: Finance/Philanthropy
Company: Milken Family Foundation /Milken Institute / Melanoma Research Alliance

What Makes Him Haute: Responsible for creating the market for junk bonds during the 1970s and 1980s, this financier spent a brief stint in prison for finance-related charges, and since his release has donated more than $1 billion to medical research. He currently has a net worth of $2 billion.

David Murdock
Industry: Investment/Real Estate
Company: Dole Food Company, Inc./Castle & Cook

What Makes Him Haute: This high school dropout made a tidy fortune in the real estate industry. Then he bought portions of Dole Food Company, Inc. and Castle & Cook. The two combined companies result in one of the largest privately held entities in the U.S., with 63,000 employees in more than 90 countries. Its portfolio includes development and ownership of real estate, leasing of transportation equipment, manufacture of brick and building materials, oil and gas holdings, aviation services, and ownership of public warehouses. In Hawaii the company also owns a significant portion of the 90,000-acre island of Lana’i and two award-winning Four Seasons Hotels.

A. Jerrold Perenchio
Industry: Television/ Communications
Company: Univisión Communications

What Makes Him Haute: This talent-agent-turned-network-mogul is a self-made billionaire. The UCLA grad’s first big break was when he sold the TV and film company he founded with Norman Lear, Embassy Communications, to Coca-Cola for $485 million in 1985. He then made a quick turnaround profit of $140 million from buying and selling Lowes movie theaters. Currently, he is best known for his reign over the Hispanic broadcasting market, thanks to his purchase of Univision Communications Inc., the nation’s largest Spanish-language TV network. In the first week of September, Univisión beat ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox as the No. 1 network for the first time ever. Perenchio lives a private life in Malibu (where he is one of the city’s largest private land owners), and is known for his generous donations to charity and politicians.

Anthony Pritzker
Industry: Private Investment
Company: The Pritzker Group

What Makes Him Haute: Pritzker is one of three children of billionaire Donald Pritzker, the founder of the Hyatt hotel chain. He’s also the managing partner and co-founder of The Pritzker Group, a family-run company that partners with management teams and provides them investment and operating expertise specifically during buyouts and acquisitions of various companies. According to Forbes, he’s worth more than $1.4 billion.

Sumner Redstone
Industry: Media
Company: National Amusements Inc.

What Makes Him Haute: The 87-year-old Redstone is still one of the most powerful media moguls in the industry. His National Amusements, Inc., is the parent company of Viacom and CBS Corporation; Redstone serves as executive chairman of both.

Edward Roski Jr.
Industry: Real Estate
Company: Majestic Realty Co.

What Makes Him Haute: He owns more than 73 million square feet of commercial property from Los Angeles to Atlanta, as well as minor parts of the L.A. Lakers and hockey’s L.A. Kings. The noted risk taker, who will attack anything from Mount Everest to the Titanic wreckage, is also an avid philanthropist. He donated $23 million to alma mater USC in 2006 to fund a fine arts school. He serves on the board for a number of local organizations, museums, and science centers.

Haim Saban
Industry: Entertainment
Company: Fox Family Worldwide/Saban Entertainment

What Makes Him Haute: He’s founder and part owner of Fox Family Worldwide and Saban Entertainment. His namesake company is best known for bringing Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the United States. Through the various arms of his companies, he’s managed to have a net worth of more than $3.3 billion. He recently announced that his Saban Capital Group and its affiliate Saban Brands would soon acquire Paul Frank industries, the company famous for the infamous Julius the Monkey cartoons.

Steven Spielberg
Company: DreamWorks

What Makes Him Haute: Arguably the world’s most famous filmmaker, Spielberg currently has more than 30 projects underway, including Indiana Jones 5, War Horse, and an untitled Martin Luther King Jr. project.

John Tu
Company: Kingston Technology

What Makes Him Haute: This self-made billionaire co-founded Kingston with David Sun, which is currently the largest computer memory firm. When they sold an 80 percent stake in Kingston Technology in 1996 for $1.5 billion, they spent $100 million of it on lavish bonuses for their employees, with the average bonus exceeding $100,000.

Click here to see who else made this year’s Haute 100 Los Angeles.

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