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Sunday, Sep 24, 2023

OVERVIEW–L.A.’s Wealthiest Get Wild Ride

It’s been a great year, and a terrible one, for L.A.’s wealthiest residents.

Real estate moguls, especially those with Westside holdings, enjoyed substantial boosts to their net worth. But several titans with concentrated holdings in out-of-favor public companies took wicked financial spills.

In short, the roster of L.A.’s wealthiest residents, which starts on page 16, has seen major changes since last year. Telecom mogul Gary Winnick, the richest person in town last year with an estimated net worth of $6.2 billion, has dropped to No. 3, as communications stocks fell out of favor. Taking his place at the top is SunAmerica Inc. Chairman Eli Broad, whose wealth soared to $5.5 billion.

While real estate moguls are very well represented among L.A.’s money elite, the New Economy’s presence remains modest, at least for now. One prominent new entrant on the list is Idealab founder Bill Gross. Although long believed to be among L.A.’s wealthiest, Gross’ actual share of the action has been a well-kept secret, until now. Last month, Idealab filed disclosure statements in preparation for a possible initial public offering. According to these documents Gross has a 40 percent stake in Idealab, putting his estimated fortune at about $1.6 billion.

The largest single contingent on the list consists of those who derive their wealth from the local specialty: entertainment. Twelve of the 50 richest Angelenos come out of Hollywood, led by the Dreamworks SKG troika of David Geffen, Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Even those who have thrown in their lot with one of country’s most revered investment vehicles, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., were not immune to troubles. Both Franklin Otis Booth and Charles Munger saw the value of their portfolios shrink as Berkshire’s shares tumbled.

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