Marc Andreessen buys the second most expensive home in US history
Marc Andreessen will go down in history for creating the world wide web’s first widely-used browser, Mosaic, which allowed the internet to become the internet.
He co-created Mosaic in 1992 while still a student at the University of Illinois at Ubrana-Champaign. A year later Marc moved to California and proceeded to co-found Netscape, which again revolutionized the tech world.
Unfortunately, a jealous Microsoft soon to launch a sub-par browser called Internet Explorer and proceeded to choke Netscape to death by including Internet Explorer pre-installed and pre-selected as the default web browser on all new copies of Windows. Netscape’s usage tanked and in 1999 AOL acquired the remnants of Marc’s for $4.3 billion, a fraction of its peak valuation. The acquisition was contingent on Marc agreeing to serve as AOL’s Chief Technology Officer, a position he held for exactly seven months.
Next, Marc and a partner launched a software company called LoudCloud which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2007 for $1.6 billion. This sale gave Marc the kind of money he needed to become a venture capital investor.
In 2009, Mark and longtime friend/collaborator Ben Horowitz co-founded Andreessen Horowitz. Some of Andreessen Horowitz’s most-successful investments to date include early stakes in the following companies:
Thanks to these investments and the LoudCloud sale, today Marc Andreessen boasts a net worth of $2 billion.
Obviously, $2 billion is an extremely impressive sum but it pales in comparison to several of Marc’s contemporary tech founders. For example, Jeff Bezos.
Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com exactly 92 days after Marc founded Netscape (April 4, 1994 vs. July 5, 1994). Today Jeff is worth $197 billion, a full $195 billion more than Marc.
Marc having 1% of Jeff’s net worth makes his latest real estate purchase that much more impressive.
According to Wall Street Journal, Marc Andreessen just set California’s real estate purchase record with the acquisition of a 7-acre clifftop estate in Malibu. The purchase price?
That price beats the previous California record by $12 million. The owner of the previous California record? Jeff Bezos.
Bezos held California’s record from February 12, 2020 to today thanks to the $165 million he spent on a 10-acre Beverly Hills estate. Jeff’s purchase also slides one position down (to #3) in terms of most expensive homes ever sold in the United States.
The record for the most expensive home sold in U.S. history still belongs to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin who paid $238 million in January 2019 for the top four floors of an unfinished New York City building located at 220 Central Park South.
Marc’s New Malibu Estate
Marc’s $177 million purchase price is going to a fashion tycoon named Serge Azria. Sam earned his fortune as the founder/designer behind the brands Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott. I had never heard of any of these brands, but my wife assures me they are big deals. Sam’s brother, the late Max Azria, was the founder of BCBG, another brand I’ve not heard but is apparently a big deal.
Serge and his wife Florence bought the seven-acre Malibu property in 2013 for $42 million. They proceeded to pour tens of millions of dollars into renovations that lasted four years. The sprawling property features multiple structures including two guest homes, a tennis center, an equestrian center, a cinema and spa.
Serge and Florence bought the property from Jerry Weintraub, the late film producer behind the “Karate Kid” and “Oceans 11” franchises.
Jerry, who died in 2015, acquired the first 4-acres of this property in 1978 for $950,000. That’s the same as around $4 million in today’s dollars. He bought the second lot, bringing the estate to seven acres, in 1980 for $450,000. That’s the same as around $1.5 million today. So, all-in Jerry paid the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $5.5 million for a property that just sold for $177 million 🙂
Here’s an aerial shot of Marc’s new Malibu estate, I’ve outlined his property in red:
I know what you’re thinking. Forget Marc’s new mansion, what the hell is that massive space ship directly to his left???!!! I’ll get to that in a second.
First I want to point out the two homes I marked in blue way over to the left. Two years ago the founder of Whatsapp, Jan Koum, paid $100 million for the the first of those two houses… the one nearest to Marc. In February of this year Jan paid $87 million for the other mansion, giving him a nice little $187 million two-home compound that spans a combined 5.6-acre property. Jan owns around $400 million worth of California real estate. He is worth $12 billion because he sold Whatsapp to Facebook in 2014 for $14 billion. Not bad for a guy who grew up on food stamps!
Jan is no longer affiliated with Facebook, and sort of left on bad terms, but if he ever wants to check in his former company he can walk three doors up to his Marc’s house… Remember, Marc still serves on Facebook’s board of directors.
The house to the right of Jan Koum’s property is owned by a woman named Tamara Hughes Gustavson. Tamara is the largest shareholder in the company Public Storage which was founded by her father, Bradley Wayne Hughes. Tamara’s 11% stake gives her a $4.6 billion net worth.
Ok, let’s talk about the space ship.
You can see part of the space ship and part of Marc’s new mansion in the video I’m embedding below from a neighboring property that was up for sale in 2016. You can get a pretty good view of the space ship at the 42 second mark as the drone flies towards the ocean. And then at the 1:12 mark you see the ocean-facing front of the space ship property:
According to my property records sleuthing, that roughly 10 acre space ship property is owned by an entity called “Bill Bell Productions, Inc.”
Anyone with a passing familiarity with the entertainment industry or Malibu real estate history will connect that entity William J. Bell. Who is William J. Bell and how did he earn enough money to buy what might be the most incredible piece of land in all of Malibu? Two words:
William and his wife Lee Phillip Bell were the husband and wife creative forces who essentially invented the soap opera. Together, the Bells created “Another World” (which aired nearly 9,000 episodes between 1964 and 1999), “The Young and the Restless (which has aired over 12,000 episodes since premiering in 1973) and “The Bold and the Beautiful” (which has aired over 8,000 episodes since premiering in 1987).
William died in 2005 at the age of 78. Lee Phillip died in February 2020 at the age of 91. They were survived by three children, a daughter named Lauralee who is an actress most famous for starring as Cricket on “The Young and the Restless” since 1983; and two sons, William Jr. and Bradley. Bradley is the executive producer and head writer of “The Bold and the Beautiful” and William Jr. is the President of the family-operated Bell-Phillip Television Productions.
I’ve driven by the space ship mansion dozens of times in recent years. I don’t know what was on this property previously, but the space ship has been under construction for years.
There you have it! Congrats to Marc on his new record-setting mansion!