Oracle Corp. chief executive Lawrence Ellison, one of the world’s richest men, is buying Lanai, the 141-square mile island that is part of Maui County.
Paperwork disclosing the transfer of ownership was filed with the state Public Utilities Commission by current owner Castle & Cooke, Inc. No sales price was disclosed.
Ellison is buying 98 per cent of the island. The balance is government-owned.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie confirmed the sale in a news release this afternoon.
“It is my understanding that Mr. Ellison has had a long standing interest in Lanai,” said Abercrombie.
“His passion for nature, particularly the ocean is well known specifically in the realm of America’s Cup sailing. He is also a businessman whose record of community involvement in medical research and education causes is equally notable,” the governor said.
“We look forward to welcoming Mr. Ellison in the near future,” the governor said.
Castle & Cooke is controlled by billionaire David Murdock, who purchased the company and its assets, including Lanai, in 1985.
Murdock ended the primary industry of Lanai, pineapple farming, in favor of real estate development.
Oracle is a database software developer co-founded by Ellison in 1977.
His brief biography posted at the Oracle website says: “Larry Ellison has been CEO of Oracle Corporation since he founded the company in 1977. He also races sailboats, flies planes, and plays tennis and guitar.”
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa had kind words for Murdock and said he looks forward to “working together” with Ellison.
“First of all I would just like to say how it has been an honor and a privileged to work with Mr. Murdock. His compassion for the people of Lanai is to be admired and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Arakawa.
“In terms of the new buyer we can only say that we look forward to meeting Mr. Larry Ellison and hope that by working together with him and the state that we may be able to do good things for Lanai and its people,” the Mayor said.
Arakawa said the county owns 195.98 acres in Lanai valued for tax purposes at $7,939,700. The county leases another 21.43 acres from Castle & Cooke with an assessed value of $7,848,000.