A massive, 100-square-mile Texas ranch that belonged to recently deceased mega-millionaire T. Boone Pickens went on sale for $250m in 2017.
But compared to other land empires, Pickens’ plot was a small potato: 100 wealthy families own 42m acres of land across the US, and the amount of land owned by these lords of land has spiked 50% since 2007.
Why do billionaires want so much land?
Land tends to its retain value over time, making it a more consistent and predictable asset than other luxury investments.
For rich families with oodles of cash, land offers the added benefit of providing recreational opportunities — fishing, hunting, vacationing — to friends and family for generations.
But, as The New York Times reports, huge private land grabs also limit local access to public lands, which has made billionaire land barons unpopular in parts of the American West where they’ve bought up big lots.
So, who are some of the biggest landowners?
Many of the country’s largest landowners are famous business magnates. Here are a few of the big names — and how much acreage they’ve got:
- John Malone, former CEO of Tele-Communications Inc: 2.2m acres
- Ted Turner, founder of CNN: 2m acres
- Stan Kroenke, owner of LA Rams: 1.38m acres
- Peter Buck, co-founder of Subway: 925k acres
- Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon: 420k acres
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