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Larry Ellison buys his own Hawaiian island

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

LanaiIt’s the island of Lanai, or to be technical, the 98 percent of it owned by fellow billionaire and Castle & Cooke principal David Murdock. The price for the Oracle CEO’s latest trophy real estate: undisclosed but said to be in the “hundreds of millions.” More about the island after the jump.

From the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

Castle & Cooke's ownership of Lanai stemmed from an acquisition James Dole made in 1922 to expand his Hawaiian Pineapple Co. Ltd. and establish the world's largest pineapple plantation.

Murdock jolted Lanai's plantation community by announcing he would end pineapple production by 1993, and he pursued more aggressive development of real estate that produced two luxury hotels on Lanai surrounded by hundreds of resort homes.

The 102-room Lodge at Koele in the middle of the island just above Lanai City opened in 1990, and a year later it was followed by the oceanfront 249-room Manele Bay hotel.

But luxury home sales were slow on the small island during the 1990s, a decade of economic stagnation. Lanai didn't appear to be a good investment for Murdock, but in 2000 he bought out the stake in Castle & Cooke that he didn't already own for $675 million, acquiring total control and freeing the company from public shareholder pressure.

Even with rising tourism and a real estate boom during much of the past decade, Lanai remained a money-loser for Murdock. He has reported that the island produced annual losses roughly between $20 million and $30 million from 2006 to 2010.

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