It was announced yesterday that billionaire CEO Larry Ellison has agreed to buy the island of Lanai. Rumors of a possible buyer have been buzzing around the state for the last few weeks and were finally confirmed when Castle & Cooke filed a transfer application with the Public Utilities Commission.
Recent History of the island of Lanai
Hawaii’s “Pineapple Island” was previously owned by David Murdock, owner of Dole. Once an island-wide pineapple plantation, Murdock acquired the island with a purchase of Castle & Cooke and shifted the island’s economy toward tourism by building two resorts which are now operated by the Four Seasons.
Return on his investment did not produce the results he was hoping for; the island was losing between $20 and $30 million a year. With low occupancy of the hotels, selling the island became an option. The proposed deal for the sale is estimated between $500 and $600 million dollars.
The buyer is Larry Ellison, CEO of software giant Oracle Corporation and a friend of Murdocks. Both men have homes on the island and claim to have a deep love for Lanai. The land in the deal is 98% of the island, with the remaining 2% belonging to the state.
The Four Seasons Resorts are also part of the deal, and some are hoping with a new owner and more capital the island will receive an economic boost. Others however, are reluctant to expand tourism on this undeveloped island.
What the future holds for the island of Lanai
With roughly twelve times the net worth of David Murdock, Larry Ellison has the power and potential to really reinvigorate the island. Who knows what the future holds for the tiny island of Lanai? Larry Ellison does.
To find out more about what’s happening in Hawaii, check out our Hawaii Travel Blog.
Thank you for reading,