46) Robert E. Petersen (up arrow)
Residence: Beverly Hills
Source of Wealth: Publishing
Net Worth: $600 million
Last Year's Rank: 50
Background: Made a fortune out of his hobbies: cars and airplanes. Son of a car mechanic. Started Hot Rod magazine in 1948 with $500 in seed money now has worldwide circulation of 800,000. Hot Rod followed by Motor Trend in 1949. In the '50s, Petersen diversified into other markets, coming out with best-selling titles like Teen and Guns & Ammo. Set up a jet-chartering company at Van Nuys airport. Avid car collector who helped fund Petersen Automotive Museum.
Money Track: Sold Petersen Publishing to a group of investors in 1996 for $450 million, retaining a 10 percent stake. Last year, Petersen Cos. was acquired by British publisher Emap for $1.2 billion netting another $120 million for Petersen.
Buzz: Recently reported considering a plan to bail out his ailing namesake museum, which is burdened with a $24.6 million debt. Opened in 1994, the facility was initially funded with a $28.5 million bond and private donations, among with $5 million from Petersen. No longer active in publishing. Avid hunter who makes frequent trips to Africa for big-game safaris.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.