The wealthiest Americans avoided billions in taxes by voluntarily doing something most only do out of necessity: borrowing money.

billionaires 03
  • America’s 25 wealthiest people got $401 billion richer from 2014 to 2018, according to Forbes.
  • ProPublica reported the income taxes they paid amounted to just 3.4% of that new net worth.
  • One way the ultra-rich avoid taxes: borrowing money at low-interest rates, according to ProPublica.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

ProPublica reported Tuesday it had obtained a massive trove of IRS documents, revealing that America’s wealthiest individuals have avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes for years, resulting in income tax bills that amount to a fraction of their net worth.

One of the key strategies employed by the ultrawealthy to keep their tax bills low: borrowing money.

Many Americans borrow money only when they have to for large purchases like college tuition or a house, as interest can quickly add up, especially if they’re not able to pay back the loan right away.

But according to ProPublica and independent experts, America’s billionaires have often financed their lavish lifestyles by using their vast fortunes as collateral for loans, which can come with single-digit interest rates.

Borrowing money allows the ultrawealthy to earn minuscule salaries, avoiding the 37% federal tax on top incomes, as well as avoid selling stock to free up cash, bypassing the 20% top capital gains tax rate. Since loans aren’t considered taxable income, the wealthy need only pay back the principal and interest, rather than the higher taxes that would accompany multimillion-dollar incomes and investments.

America’s 25 wealthiest individuals saw their net worth grow by $401 billion from 2014 to 2018, according to Forbes. But they paid a total of $13.6 billion in federal income taxes in that same period, amounting to 3.4% of that newly acquired wealth, ProPublica found.

By contrast, a middle-class American in their 40s who had amassed a “typical amount of wealth for people their age,” saw their net worth grow by $65,000 from 2014 to 2018, but paid $62,000 in income taxes, or 95% of that new wealth, according to ProPublica.

The US does not directly tax individuals’ total wealth, unlike some European countries. Nor does it tax stock holdings until they are sold. And billionaires tend to have a lot of their net worth wrapped up in stocks.

However, ProPublica’s analysis revealed in new detail how America’s tax code allows the ultrawealthy to take advantage of a litany of tax loopholes and wealth-management strategies to increase their wealth without also increasing their tax bills substantially.

To illustrate the gap between wealth and taxes paid by the ultrawealthy, ProPublica created what it called a “true tax rate.” ProPublica defined this as the total federal income tax a person paid, in this case from 2014 to 2018, compared to how much new wealth they acquired in that same time period.

ProPublica did not publish its source data or disclose how it obtained IRS data.

According to ProPublica, the top 25 wealthiest Americans paid a “true tax rate” of 3.4% – a result of tax avoidance strategies that are out of reach for most Americans.

Borrowing, it turns out, is one of those strategies.

In 2014, for example, Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison disclosed he had used 250 million of his Oracle shares as collateral to secure a $9.7 billion personal line of credit.

Elon Musk has similarly put up a massive amount of his equity in Tesla and SpaceX as collateral for loans, rather than sell those shares and pay 20% in capital gains tax to free up the money. From 2014 to 2018, Musk paid $455 million in taxes on a reported income of $1.52 billion, resulting in an effective tax rate of 29.9%. But his wealth grew by $13.9 billion during that time, meaning his “true tax rate,” according to ProPublica’s methodology, was just 3.27%.

Musk replied to ProPublica’s request for comment with: “?”

Investor Carl Icahn also took advantage of borrowing money, paying $0 in federal income taxes despite reporting an adjusted gross income of $544 million, as he had an outstanding loan with Bank of America worth $1.2 billion, ProPublica reported.

“I didn’t make money because, unfortunately for me, my interest was higher than my whole adjusted income,” Icahn told ProPublica, adding that while he does borrow a lot of money, it’s “not at all” meant to lower his tax bill, but rather that he borrows “to win. I enjoy the competition. I enjoy winning.”

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Oracle insiders say there’s a ‘culture of fear’ in a key cloud unit, and executives are leaving

Oracle Executive Vice President Clay Magouyrk
Oracle Executive Vice President Clay Magouyrk.

Clay Magouyrk, a former Amazon software engineer who joined Oracle as an individual contributor in 2014, quickly impressed Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison and CEO Safra Catz with his ability to deliver results quickly.

That’s led to a rapid ascent through the ranks: Magouyrk was last year appointed to take over Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the company’s best hope to take on Amazon in the cloud wars – a unit of over 10,000 employees that people close to the company say brings in about $1 billion a year in revenue.

But the reign of Magouyrk has raised questions about Oracle’s culture. Magouyrk’s leadership style was cited in a pair of lawsuits filed by former vice presidents against the company and an executive, including an allegation that he once told an executive that his actions were “f—ing stupid” in front of all of OCI’s senior leaders. One of the former vice presidents who sued Oracle died by suicide in April. Oracle is seeking to force both cases into private arbitration.

Oracle insiders who spoke with Insider said the comments alleged in the lawsuit were generally “tame” compared with others Magouyrk had made. One former employee said that Magouyrk was “abusive to people in large group settings. It was never, ‘Stay after the meeting and let’s have a conversation.’ If he was upset, he would insult you personally and professionally.”

“He’d drive grown men to tears, and then just be like, ‘Jesus f—ing Christ,'” that former employee said.

All told, a dozen current and former Oracle employees and executives said there was what one person described as a “culture of fear” at OCI, telling Insider that Magouyrk is known for trying to get results by “beating down” employees emotionally. One employee said they were told during the interview process that they were going to want a “fear buddy” to turn to when they inevitably thought they were going to get fired.

They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were concerned speaking out might negatively affect their careers. Oracle declined to comment on Magouyrk’s management style or OCI’s culture.

Click here to read about what insiders said is a “culture of fear” inside Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the unit that’s Oracle’s best hope to compete with Amazon in the cloud wars.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is tearing down his new $80 million Palm Beach mansion and says he has no plans to leave Hawaii

Larry Ellison
Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison plans to tear down his $80 million Palm Beach mansion.
  • He told employees that he became a resident of Hawaii last year and has no plans to move back.
  • Ellison owns 98% of the island of Lanai, Hawaii’s smallest inhabited island.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Larry Ellison is staying in Hawaii full time – and knocking down the $80 million Palm Beach mansion he just bought.

The Oracle billionaire sent an email to employees this week explaining his future plans after reports surfaced that he had purchased a 15,000-square-foot home in South Florida. Ellison confirmed that he had purchased the mansion, but that he’s “tearing the house down and not moving to Florida,” according to Recode’s Theodore Schleifer.

“Last year I moved from California to the island of Lana’i and became a resident of the State of Hawaii,” Ellison wrote. “I love it here and have no plans to move back to Florida, Texas, back to California … or anywhere else.”

Ellison’s home in Palm Beach sits on 7.35 acres, making it the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to a real estate listing. The Tuscan-style home, which previously belonged to hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, includes seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms and three half-bathrooms, a VIP guest suite, a home theater, a wine room, a chef’s kitchen, a swimming pool, and a tennis court.

The home was built in 1998, and it’s unclear why Ellison would want to knock it down. Ellison already has an extensive real estate portfolio that includes multimillion-dollar homes in San Francisco, Malibu, Lake Tahoe, Rhode Island, and Japan.

Read more: Peek into Palm Beach’s wild, sometimes maskless pandemic party scene as wealthy residents carry on ‘living their lives’

But it seems the tech mogul, who’s worth $91.5 billion, has no plans to live in the mansion, or anywhere else in the contiguous United States.

Ellison revealed last year that he had moved to Lanai, Hawaii, amid the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to use “the power of Zoom to work” from the island, he wrote in an email to Oracle employees at the time, who had been asking about Ellison’s plans in the wake of Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas.

Ellison purchased nearly 98% of the island of Lanai in 2012 for a reported $300 million – his purchase included 87,000 of the island’s 90,000 acres of land. Lanai, which is home to about 3,200 residents, is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is home to serene beaches, rugged terrain, high-end resorts, as well as Ellison’s sustainability ambitions, which he’s executing through a development company called Pulama Lanai.

He also launched a wellness company called Sensei in 2018, which is working on three main issues: global food supply, nutrition, and sustainability. Sensei has since launched two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses on the island, known as Sensei Farms, and a luxury spa called Sensei Retreat that costs $3,000 a night.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Inside Larry Ellison’s new $80 million Palm Beach mansion, which sits in a high-security gated community and has 520 feet of ocean frontage

larry ellison palm beach mansion
Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.

Tech billionaire Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

The Oracle cofounder, who’s worth $89.3 billion, bought the estate from hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, who put it on the market in June 2020 for $79.5 million, as Katherine Clarke reported for the Journal.

Chris Leavitt, Ashley McIntosh, and Tonja Garamella of Douglas Elliman handled the transaction and declined to comment on the deal.

Ellison said in December that he had moved from California to Lanai, the Hawaiian island he owns.

larry ellison
Oracle’s Larry Ellison.

After Ellison announced in December that he’d be moving Oracle’s headquarters from Redwood Shores, California, to Austin, Texas, he got questions from employees about whether he was also moving to Austin, Recode reported.

“The answer is no. I’ve moved to the state of Hawaii and I’ll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai,” Ellison wrote in an email to staffers.

At 7.35 acres, his new Palm Beach property is the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to the listing.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

The estate sits in a gated community called Seminole Landing, which has a manned security gate and 24-hour security. The property itself is also gated.

The listing also notes that the Palm Beach estate is one of “only a handful of properties in Florida where someone could land and take off in a helicopter from the estate.”

Built in 1998, the Tuscan-style main home has 15,514 square feet of living space.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

The house has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and three half-bathrooms.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

There’s also a VIP guest suite, a home theater, a wine room, chef’s kitchen, and a tennis court.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

The swimming pool is surrounded by palm trees and a large private terrace.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

Perhaps the most coveted feature of the property is its 520 feet of ocean frontage.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

Source: Douglas Elliman

Ellison’s newest home purchase adds to the billionaire’s already impressive real-estate collection.

larry ellison palm beach mansion

He also owns a 23-acre estate in Woodside, California, and a home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, multiple homes on Malibu’s “Billionaire’s Beach,” and several properties in Lake Tahoe.

An Oracle representative did not respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider

It’s smackdown season in techland

Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Insider Tech newsletter, where we break down the biggest news in tech, including:

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Soundtrack: This week’s newsletter has been specially designed to be consumed while listening to Blue Öyster Cult’s “Godzilla”


This week: It’s smackdown season in techland

godzilla vs kong warner bros

Maybe it’s because of all the hoopla over the new “Godzilla vs. Kong” movie, but I’m noticing a lot of news about clashes between the titans of the tech industry lately.

The decade-long courtroom battle between Google and Oracle came to a close this week when the US Supreme Court declared Google the victor, absolving it of any allegations that it stole Oracle’s code by using Java APIs in the Android operating system.

Another brewing showdown between Box and activist investor Starboard Value seems to have been averted.

And of course, tensions between Apple and Facebook continue to rise as we near the release of Apple’s new privacy feature, which will make it easy for iPhone users to avoid the ad targeting Facebook’s business depends on.

But, lest you grow tired of the same old tech match-ups, don’t fear: a new rivalry is forming.

Ghodsi.Slootman
Ali Ghodsi, the CEO of Databricks and Frank Slootman, the CEO of Snowflake.

As Ashley Stewart and Jeff Elder report, Snowflake and Databricks, two of the hottest, young enterprise tech companies are inexorably moving into each other’s turf in a battle for data supremacy.

  • Each company has carved out a lucrative role helping business customers analyze data in the cloud. But, as one industry analyst notes in the story, the two companies’ interests are starting to converge, putting them “on a collision course.”
  • Throw in a pugnacious CEO (Snowflake’s Frank Slootman) who likens himself to WWII’s General George S. Patton, and a rival CEO (Databrick’s Ali Ghodsi) skilled at forming alliances with deep-pocketed partners and at raising cash, and you have the makings for a great rivalry.

Read the full story here:

The next big tech rivalry will be between $67 billion Snowflake and $28 billion Databricks, which are on a ‘collision course’ as the AI and data analysis market heats up


From the curious file…

Don’t bring a robot to war without charging its battery: That’s the lesson from Saint-Cyr, the elite French military academy whose alumni include Charles de Gaulle, after a series of combat exercises with “Spot,” the robotic quadruped made by Boston Robotics. Apparently Spot performed valiantly under fire, doing tasks like reconnaissance – right up until its battery died midway through the action.

Spot   construction2

Camp ByteDance: The “world’s top university students” have been invited to TikTok-parent company ByteDance’s Beijing headquarters for a weeklong training camp. Campers will focus on skills like speech recognition, computer vision and graphics, in addition to being eligible for “big cash prizes” and internships. The camp, now in its fourth year, reflects the growing competition for AI experts amid the US and China’s tech cold war.

Blockchain wedding: The hot new wedding item in Silicon Valley is an NFT, or non-fungible token. In March, a bride and groom in Palo Atlo whipped out their cellphones at the altar and swapped an animation of unique, blockchain-based digital rings as part of their vows. The blockchain is “forever,” just as “love should be,” said the bride said, who like her new husband, work at … Coinbase.


Snapshot: The face mask to kick off your cyborg makeover

Covid-wear reached a new pinnacle this week with the release of the Xubermask, a wild-looking internet-connected face mask that’s the result of a collaboration between musician-cum-entrepreneur Will.i.am, electronics company Honeywell, and Jose Fernandez, a designer whose credits include the SpaceX flight suit.

Xupermask
The Xupermask.

The mask is made of mesh and silicone, and comes with built-in noise-cancelling headphones, dual three-speed fans and LED lights. It’ll cost you $300, but you’ll be protected from germs and smog, and you’ll look like a cyber-warrior.


Recommended Readings:

Leaked Amazon documents detail a controversial system that insiders say forces managers to give bad reviews to good employees

OPINION: Mark Zuckerberg’s first crack at a cryptocurrency was an embarrassing flop. Don’t bet on him giving up so easily.

DeepMind’s cofounder partied with Elon Musk for his raucous 40th birthday party on the Orient Express, a new book revealed

Clubhouse only has about 35 employees. Meet the 13 executives and earliest employees behind the year-old startup in talks for a $4 billion valuation.

Google continues its Search leadership shuffle, appointing new executives to focus its most important business


Not necessarily in tech:

Burnout, blown deadlines, and a tech-talent exodus: How Goldman Sachs’ Marcus is struggling to live up to its lofty consumer-banking ambitions


Thanks for reading, and if you like this newsletter, tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.

– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison just dropped $80 million on a Palm Beach mansion, 4 months after he said he’d moved to Hawaii

larry ellison palm beach mansion
A Google Maps satellite view of Ellison’s new mansion.

Palm Beach has gained yet another billionaire resident.

Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison has paid $80 million for a 15,000-square-foot beachfront mansion in the southeast Florida county, Katherine Clarke reported for The Wall Street Journal.

Ellison, who has an $89.1 billion fortune and is the world’s 10th-richest person, said in December that he had relocated from California to the island he owns in Hawaii. The tech billionaire’s massive real-estate portfolio also includes properties in Malibu, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Rhode Island, and Japan.

His newest purchase is the third-largest oceanfront parcel of land in Palm Beach County, according to the listing, which was held by Douglas Elliman. The Tuscan-style estate sits in a gated community and sprawls over more than 15,000 square feet, with 520 feet of ocean frontage. It features a home movie theater, a wine room, a large private pool terrace, and a tennis court.

It’s one of “only a handful of properties in Florida where someone could land and take off in a helicopter from the estate,” according to the listing.

larry ellison palm beach mansion
The home has 520 feet of ocean frontage.

Ellison bought the 7.35-acre property from hedge-fund manager Gabe Hoffman, who put it on the market in June 2020, asking $79.5 million.

With his newest purchase, Ellison joins an affluent community that’s added even more billionaires to its ranks in the past year.

Billionaire private-equity executive Robert F. Smith bought two homes in Palm Beach for about $48 million in November. In February, hedge-fund billionaire David Tepper went into contract on a $73 million Palm Beach mansion. And casino mogul Steve Wynn, who’s worth $3.2 billion, has bought two Palm Beach homes since December – one for $18.4 million and one for $49 million. He’s already flipped the former for $23.68 million.

These new ultra-wealthy Palm Beach residents may rub shoulders with longtime billionaire denizens like Stephen Ross, the chairman and owner of Related Cos., which owns Equinox and SoulCycle.

Hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who heads Citadel, has spent nearly $250 million over the years on real-estate along Palm Beach’s “Billionaires Row” with reported intentions of building a massive mansion.

Goodbye, Silicon Valley. Hello Texas, Florida, and Hawaii.

Ellison’s Palm Beach purchase is not the only big move the tech billionaire has made during the pandemic.

In December, he announced he’d be relocating Oracle’s headquarters from Redwood Shores, California, to Austin, Texas. A few days later, the Oracle executive chairman told his employees that he himself had moved to Lanai, the Hawaiian island of which he owns 98%, as Recode first reported.

“I’ve moved to the state of Hawaii and I’ll be using the power of Zoom to work from the island of Lanai,” Ellison wrote in an email to staffers.

larry ellison
Ellison told his employees in December that he had moved to Hawaii.

It’s unclear whether Ellison plans to make Palm Beach his new home base or simply add it to his collection of homes. He also owns a 23-acre estate in Woodside, California, and a home in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, multiple homes on Malibu’s “Billionaire’s Beach,” and several properties in Lake Tahoe.

An Oracle spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Google extends its 5-day streak to 10% after US Supreme Court hands the tech giant victory in $9 billion battle with Oracle

Sundar Pichai Berlin Office
Sundar Pichai, Alphabet CEO.

  • Google extended its 5-day streak to 10% on Monday after a big legal victory over Oracle.
  • Oracle accused Google of stealing code to make its Android operating system compatible with Java software.
  • The US Supreme Court’s 6-2 majority decision in favor of Google ends a more than decade-long legal battle.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Google stock extended its five-day streak to roughly 10% on Monday after the US Supreme Court handed the tech giant victory in its lengthy, $9 billion legal battle with Oracle.

The court overturned Oracle’s copyright win over Google in a six to two majority decision, with conservative justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissenting.

The court ruled that Google’s use of Java code, which was developed by Oracle, “did not violate the copyright law” and was done under “fair use” provisions.

Google traded up as much as 4.5% on Monday following the decision, continuing its week-long recovery after a rotation away from highly valued tech stocks hurt returns the month prior.

Oracle’s court case against the search engine giant began over a decade ago when Google used roughly 11,500 lines of Java code to make its Android operating system compatible with Java software.

Ever since, the two tech giants have been locked in a legal battle with Oracle stating damages could potentially top $9 billion.

A jury originally awarded Google a victory in the case citing fair use provisions, but the Federal Circuit then reversed the decision, concluding that Google’s copying was not fair use as a matter of law.

Now that decision has been reversed and Google execs are celebrating the victory.

Google’s SVP of Global Affairs, Kent Walker, took to Twitter to talk up the win, saying, “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Google v. Oracle is a big win for innovation, interoperability & computing. Thanks to the country’s leading innovators, software engineers & copyright scholars for their support.”

The case against Google has been one to watch for tech startups who often rely on the freedom to copy interfaces in order to compete against tech giants.

Dr. Arun Kumar, an assistant professor at UC San Diego who holds research funding from Oracle and Google, said the Court’s decision in Google’s favor was “a win for software interoperability. And for the fair use doctrine. Although vigilance and more scrutiny are still needed on monopolistic tendencies in BigTech,” in a Tweet on Monday.

The big court win for Google comes after the firm’s self-driving unit Waymo saw its CEO, John Krafcik, step down last week.

Google stock traded up 4% as of 12:22 p.m. ET on Monday.

Google chart
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Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison has moved to Lanai, the Hawaiian island he’s spent half a billion dollars developing. Here’s how Ellison bought 98% of the island and turned it into a sustainability experiment.

Larry Ellison Lanai
The island of Lanai from above.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison bought 98% of Lanai in 2012 for an estimated $300 million.
  • Ellison is hoping to turn Lanai into a wellness utopia through his company, Sensei.
  • Now, Ellison lives in Lanai full-time and plans to use “the power of Zoom” to work from the island.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison is making the Pineapple Island his full-time home.

Ellison revealed last year that he has moved to Lanai, Hawaii, amid the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to use “the power of Zoom to work” from the island, he wrote in an email to Oracle employees, who had been asking about Ellison’s plans in the wake of Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas.

Ellison owns almost the entirety of Lanai: He purchased nearly 98% of the island in 2012 for a reported $300 million – his purchase included 87,000 of the island’s 90,000 acres of land.

Read more: Oracle’s TikTok victory highlights Larry Ellison’s reputation as a ‘sharp-elbows entrepreneur’ who experts say has benefited from his embrace of Trump: ‘Larry’s politics are good business’

Lanai, which is home to about 3,200 residents, is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is home to serene beaches, rugged terrain, high-end resorts, and Ellison’s sustainability ambitions, which he’s executing through a development company called Pulama Lanai.

Here’s how Lanai came to be owned by Ellison and what he’s planning for the island.

In June 2012, Ellison bought Lanai for an estimated $300 million. Prior to Ellison’s purchase, the island was owned by billionaire Dole chairman David Murdock, who had reportedly been asking for $1 billion for the island.

Lanai Hawaii

Source: Pacific Business News, Forbes

Murdock became the owner of Lanai in 1985 after taking over Dole’s parent company, Castle & Cooke. Prior to Murdock’s ownership, the island was controlled by “Pineapple King” James Dole.

Lanai Hawaii
Pineapple fields on Lanai.

Source: Forbes

The 141-square-mile island, which is eight miles off the coast of Maui, has zero traffic lights and few paved roads, according to Forbes. Compared with other Hawaiian islands, Lanai is secluded – but Ellison has plans to change that: He wants to turn Lanai into a tourist destination.

Lanai Hawaii
Lanai from space.

Source: Forbes, The New York Times

Lanai already boasts two Four Seasons-run hotels. The penthouse suite at the Four Seasons Hotel Lanai costs $21,000 per night, making it the most expensive suite in Hawaii.

A post shared by Four Seasons Resorts Lānaʻi (@fslanai)

Source: Pacific Business News

The island was also home to two golf courses when Ellison bought it, including Manele Golf Course. In 1994, prior to Ellison’s ownership of the island, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates got married at the 17th hole of the course.

Manele Golf Course 17th hole Lanai
The 17th hole of the Challenge course at the Manele Golf Course in Lanai circa 1985.

Source: CNBC

The other course, Koele, was designed by golfer Greg Norman. The course has since been shut down, and an adventure park and zipline have been installed in its place.

Lanai Hawaii
The cart path on the golf course at Lanai Manele Bay Resort.

Source: Pacific Business Journal, Lanai Adventure Park

In 2014, Ellison bought Island Air, a budget airline that ferries passengers from Oahu to Maui and Lanai. But two years later, after the airline lost $21.78 million and had to lay off roughly 20% of its workforce, Ellison sold a controlling interest in the airline.

Oahu Hawaii airplane
The view of the windward side of Oahu, Hawaii, from aboard a Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Source: Business Insider

Ellison’s Lanai purchase included an animal-rescue center. Because there are no natural predators to cats on Lanai, the feral-cat population at the shelter has ballooned to over 400 cats (which Ellison technically owns). In recent years, it’s become a travel destination in itself.

Cat shelter
An animal-rescue center, though not the one on Lanai.

Source: Hawaii Magazine, The New York Times

Ellison’s ambitions extend beyond tourism, however: he plans to create “the first economically viable, 100 percent green community,” according to The New York Times.

larry ellison

Source: The New York Times

In 2018, Ellison launched a wellness company called Sensei, which is working on three main issues: global food supply, nutrition, and sustainability. Sensei’s goal is to use data to help people lead healthier and longer lives.

hydroponic farming

Source: Business Insider, Business Insider

Sensei built two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses, known as Sensei Farms. The greenhouses have sensors and cameras that track data about the farms, including water usage and airflow. According to Forbes, they’re powered by 1,600 Tesla solar panels (Ellison sits on Tesla’s board).

Tesla solar panels Puerto Rico
Tesla solar panels in Puerto Rico.

Source: Forbes

Sensei also built a luxury spa called Sensei Retreat that costs $3,000 a night. Guests set physical and mental goals for their stay and the spa tracks their sleep, nutrition, and blood flow. The heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers grown at Sensei Farms are used at the spa’s in-house Nobu restaurant, according to Forbes.

Spa facial
A person receiving a facial, though not at the Sensei Retreat.

Source: Forbes

Ellison reportedly wants to purchase the island’s power plant and electric grid from Hawaiian Electric Co. to transition the island away from fossil fuels toward 100% renewable energy.

Hawaii solar power
Hawaii is a national leader in rooftop solar power, and the state has an ambitious goal of using only renewable energy by 2045.

Source: Fox Business

Ellison’s goal is for Lanai to serve as a prototype for a “health utopia,” according to Forbes. Tesla CEO and Ellison’s close friend Elon Musk told Forbes that Lanai is like “a microcosm for the world.”

Larry Ellison Elon Musk

Source: Forbes

When the coronavirus pandemic struck Lanai last year, Ellison reduced or eliminated rent altogether for businesses on the island and paid the full wages and benefits for employees who worked for him.

Manele Bay Resort Lanai Hawaii
Tiki torches at the Manele Bay Resort in Lanai.

Source: Business Insider

All told, Ellison has spent roughly half a billion dollars on the island, beyond his initial purchase (in 2014, he spent $41 million on property alone). But Ellison’s wealth has only continued to rise during the pandemic: These days, he’s worth an estimated $81.6 billion.

Larry Ellison

Source: Pacific Business News, Forbes, Bloomberg

Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside Larry Ellison’s Hawaiian island wellness retreat, a $1,200-per-night luxury spa where guests track their health data and learn how to live longer lives

Sensei Lanai Hawaii
Sensei Retreats in Lanai, Hawaii.

  • Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison owns an ultra-luxury wellness retreat in Lanai, Hawaii.
  • Called Sensei Retreat, the spa uses data to track and improve guests’ nutrition, sleep, and fitness.
  • The spa partnered with fitness-tracking firm Whoop to offer a new $1,185-per-night wellness program.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

On the island of Lanai, Hawaii, nine miles off the coast of Maui, sits an ultra-luxe retreat, the brainchild of Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison. 

Known as Sensei Retreat, it’s a wellness spa driven by data located at Four Seasons resort Sensei Lanai. This month, Sensei unveiled a new partnership with fitness-tracking company Whoop to help track health metrics and work with guests to keep tabs on their long-term wellness. 

Sensei CEO Kevin Kelly said in a statement about the program that the goal of Sensei is to help people “live longer, healthier lives” by improving sleep, movement, and nutrition. Sensei is guided by health science, data, and research, the company says. 

While Ellison previously lived in the Bay Area, the resort is now in his backyard: Ellison revealed late last year that he had moved to Lanai amid the coronavirus pandemic. He plans to use “the power of Zoom to work” from the island, he wrote in an email to Oracle employees, who had been asking about Ellison’s plans in the wake of Oracle moving its headquarters to Austin, Texas

Lanai, which is home to about 3,200 residents, is the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii and is home to serene beaches, rugged terrain, high-end resorts, and Ellison’s sustainability ambitions, which he’s executing through a development company called Pulama Lanai. 

Take a look inside Ellison’s eco-friendly, data-powered resort. 

In 2012, Ellison bought 98% of the island of Lanai for an estimated $300 million.

Lanai Hawaii
Lanai, Hawaii.

Since then, he’s worked to make Lanai a tourist destination, including purchasing budget airline Island Air to ferry passengers from Oahu to Lanai. (He has since sold a controlling interest in the airline). 

Ellison is also hoping to turn Lanai into a wellness utopia. He launched Sensei, which has two main projects: a hydroponic farm powered by Tesla solar panels, and the luxury spa. Sensei’s goal is to use data to help people lead healthier and longer lives.

Sensei built two 20,000-square-foot hydroponic greenhouses, known as Sensei Farms. The greenhouses are powered by 1,600 Tesla solar panels (Ellison sits on Tesla’s board) and the heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers grown at Sensei Farms are used at Sensei Retreat’s in-house Nobu restaurant.

Tesla solar panels Puerto Rico
Tesla solar panels in Puerto Rico.

Source: Forbes

The resort is located in the central part of the island, known as Lanai City. Guests who visit Sensei Retreat are offered a customizable experience: They set physical and mental goals for their stay and the spa tracks their sleep, nutrition, and blood flow.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Forbes

The new partnership with Whoop, called the Optimal Wellbeing Program, is a data-driven program that allows guests to track their metrics using a customized, Sensei version of Whoop’s fitness bands.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

Before guests arrive, they’ll go through an orientation and build an itinerary for their stay. The rate includes sessions with a specialist known as a Sensei Guide, who will help guests set wellness goals.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

Once they arrive, guests will experience a “thermal body mapping” experience or 120-minute massage, a blood biomarker test, and private sessions to help improve movement, nutrition, and mindfulness.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

There are also free yoga and meditation classes as part of the program, and guests will get a $500 credit that can be used for various activities, including spa treatments or the Lanai Adventure Park, an Ellison-owned ropes and zipline park located on a former golf course.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei, Lanai Adventure Park

The program, which mandates a minimum stay of five nights, costs between $1,185 and $1,715 per night.

Sensei Lanai Hawaii

Source: Sensei

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