Larry Ellison is the founder and largest shareholder of Oracle, a database company that reported revenue of $50 billion in the year to May 31, 2023. He owns more than 40% of the Austin, Texas-based company as well as a stake in Tesla, a sailing team, the Indian Wells tennis event and real estate, including Hawaii’s Lanai island.
The majority of Ellison’s fortune is derived from a stake in US software maker Oracle. He owns more than 42% of the business, according to the company’s June 2023 filing. Ellison has pledged about a quarter of his shares as collateral against personal debt, according to the company’s September 2022 proxy statement. These pledged shares are excluded from the net worth calculation. He owns nearly 4.8 million options and they are included at their net value.
The software mogul has a history of lavish living. His accountant, Philip Simon, suggested in a 2002 email that Ellison “budget and plan” because his spending habits were becoming difficult to maintain, according to a January 2006 San Francisco Chronicle article. He finances that lifestyle — yachts, planes, trophy properties, America’s Cup teams, the Indian Wells tennis tournament — using debt and the proceeds from Oracle sales and dividends, which have amounted to more than $12 billion since 2003, according to an analysis of Bloomberg data.
Ellison owns about 1.4% of Tesla, according to the company’s 2022 proxy statement.
The value of his cash investments is based on an analysis of that income, insider transactions, taxes, spending habits and market performance. The calculation includes the value of real estate in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Malibu, Rhode Island, Japan and Hawaii, as well as Hawaii-based airline Island Air.
Deborah Hellinger, a spokeswoman for Oracle, said Ellison declined to comment on his net worth.
Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ellison was raised on the south side of Chicago after being adopted by his mother’s aunt and uncle at age nine months. He dropped out of the University of Illinois and University of Chicago and moved to Berkeley, California, taking a computer programming job at Ampex, where he worked on a database called Oracle for the Central Intelligence Agency.
With two partners, Ellison founded what eventually became Oracle in 1977. The company sold shares in an initial public offering on March 12, 1986, a day before Microsoft’s initial public offering. Today, he owns more than 1.1 billion shares and options — about 25 percent — of the world’s third-largest software company by sales.
Ellison also owns stakes in database company Netsuite and education platform maker Leapfrog Enterprises. He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on luxury real estate in the past decade, including properties in Malibu, California, a home and private golf course in Rancho Mirage, California, the Astor Beechwood Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, and an estate in Woodside, California, modeled on 16th-century Japanese feudal architecture.
The avid sailor partially financed the BMW Oracle Racing team, which won the America’s Cup in February 2010. He sold his stake in Rising Sun, a 138-meter mega-yacht, to billionaire David Geffen later that year. His Oracle Team USA defended the America’s Cup in October 2013, defeating a team from New Zealand.
He signed the Giving Pledge in 2010, promising to give away at least 95 percent of his wealth to charitable causes. Ellison said in a letter to the group that he had “already given hundreds of millions of dollars to medical research and education, and I will give billions more over time.”
He stepped down as Oracle CEO in September 2014, taking on the titles of chairman and chief technology officer.
- 1944 Lawrence Joseph Ellison is born in the Bronx, New York.
- 1978 Develops first commercial relational database.
- 1986 Oracle completes its public offering, one day before Microsoft’s IPO.
- 2009 Buys BNP Paribas tennis tournament and Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
- 2010 Oracle buys Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion cash.
- 2010 Beats sailing rival Ernesto Bertarelli to win the 33rd America’s Cup.
- 2011 Unveils Oracle Public Cloud to support company’s software platforms.
- 2016 Oracle completes purchase of NetSuite for $9 billion.