Nice - from billionaire to billionaire. Ellison, chief executive of Oracle Corp., is buying 98 percent of the island of Lanai from Murdock, who owns Westlake Village-based Castle & Cooke. No word on price, but the Maui News had been reporting that Murdock was asking between $500 million and $600 million. The deal involves 88,000 acres of land, plus two resorts, two golf courses, a stable and various residential and commercial buildings. From AP:
Self-made billionaire David Murdock, who owns Castle & Cooke, said he would keep his home on Lanai and the right to build a wind farm, a controversial project that would place windmills on as many as 20 square miles of the island and deliver power to Oahu through an undersea cable. Murdock said in a statement that selling Lanai was not an impulsive decision, but he has been looking for a buyer who would have the right enthusiasm, commitment and respect for the island's residents. "I have learned in life that change is inevitable and can be quite positive when guided in the right direction," Murdock said.[CUT]
The island boasts unspoiled charm with 30 miles of paved roads, 400 miles of unpaved roads and no traffic lights. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, more than 26,000 people visited the island from January to April of this year, a 6 percent decline from the same period last year. The utilities commission is reviewing the prospective deal because it involves indirectly transferring public utilities Castle & Cooke owns on the island -- a water company, a bus and shuttle service, and the island's wastewater utility. Castle & Cooke asked for interim approval by June 26.