Larry Ellison, the American entrepreneur behind the software giant Oracle, is one of the 10 richest people on the planet. The former CEO of Oracle Corp and current executive chairman earned his fortune not only from the tech industry but from other investments and businesses, too. As of 2024, Larry Ellison’s net worth surpasses that of Bill Gates, the former richest man in the world, and is estimated at over $140 billion.

As we will detail in the following article, Ellison’s fortune is mostly sourced from his Oracle earnings and stake in the company. In addition to this, Larry Ellison owns one of the biggest Hawaiian islands, as well as a variety of other businesses and assets.

Today, Larry Ellison’s net worth puts him in the ranks of the richest people in the world, including tycoons like Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk.

Let’s see how he built his fortune.

Larry Ellison’s Net Worth Breakdown:

The ranking of the richest people in the world changes often as their wealth can fluctuate significantly – even overnight. This was the case for the Oracle co-founder Ellison when his company’s stock jumped and added almost $16 billion to his already-high net worth in 2023. As the stock fluctuates, his net worth can also vary in the future, but the tycoon derives his wealth from diverse sources in addition to Oracle. Here is what we know about his assets and earnings.

Asset or Income Source Contribution to Net Worth
Oracle Corporation stake 42.9% worth $135 billion
CEO salary 1999-2009 $1.84 billion
Apple salary Unknown
Tesla stake $1.7 billion
Hawaiian island $5-600 million
Indian Wells Tennis Garden $100 million
Yacht $160 million
Private jets $810 million
Car collection $4 million
Real estate $800+ million
Total Net Worth $140 billion

Larry Ellison Net Worth: The Database King’s Early Life and Family

Lawrence Joseph Ellison was born on August 17, 1944, in New York City to father Louis Ellison, an Italian American pilot for the United States Army Corps, and mother, Florence Spellman. His parents never married and for nine months, young Lawrence was raised by his mother, who was 19 years old when she gave birth to him.

When Larry Ellison was a 9-month-old baby, he had a bout of pneumonia, so his mother sent him to her aunt and uncle, who adopted the baby. The next time Ellison met his mother was when he was 48 years old.

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Following the adoption, the newly-founded family moved to South Shore in Chicago to live in a middle-class neighborhood. His adoptive mother, Lillian Spellman Ellison, was loving and warm in comparison to a distant adoptive father, Louis Ellison. Louis chose the last name “Ellison” in tribute to the place where he entered the United States when he migrated from Russia, Ellis Island.

Larry Ellison was raised in a Reform Jewish home and attended synagogue often, but he remained a skeptic when it came to religion. When he was thirteen years old, he refused to have his bar mitzvah. Even today, he isn’t religious and once said:

While I think I am religious in one sense, the particular dogmas of Judaism are not dogmas I subscribe to. I don’t believe that they are real. They’re interesting stories. They’re interesting mythology, and I certainly respect people who believe these are true, but I don’t. I see no evidence for this stuff.

Young Ellison studied at South Shore High School in Chicago, followed by his time at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a premed student. He was an excellent student, and at the university, he was named “science student of the year”. Even so, he left school before he took his final exams following the death of his adoptive mother.

After dropping out of school, Ellison spent the summer of 1966 in California. He then decided to enroll in the University of Chicago to study mathematics and physics, where he remained for one term before dropping out again. This is the point where he discovered computer design, showing great interest in the subject. After dropping out of college twice, he finally got his degree in computer science from the University of Illinois.

After his graduation, he moved to Berkley, California where he worked as a computer programmer for several companies.

As for his personal life, Larry Ellison has been married – and divorced – four times. He was married to his first wife Adda Quinn between 1967 and 1974. Three years later, he married Nancy Wheeler Jenkins but divorced her a year later.

Ellison married Barbara Boothe in 1983 and had two children with her, Megan and David, both film producers today. He divorced his third wife in 1986.

In 2003, he married a romance novelist named Melanie Craft. The couple divorced in 2010.

Larry Ellison Net Worth: How He Became a Tech Billionaire with Only $1,200

When he finished university, Larry Ellison started working at Amdahl Corporation, a major infotech company. This was brief, after which he took a role at Ampex Corporation, where he worked on the Oracle database for the CIA. The project was inspired by Edgar F. Codd’s paper on relational database systems named A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks.

Fast forward to 1977, and Ellison made the best decision of his life – founding his first business that would later become the famous Oracle Corp.

Below, we tell you all about his Oracle story, as well as his major achievements over the years.

Founding Oracle

In 1977, Ellison partnered with two friends, Bob Miner and Ed Oates, and invested $1,200 of his money to start a new company called Software Development Laboratories (SDL). The idea behind this venture was to create a fresh database management system that would be more efficient and faster than its competitors.

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Two years later, the friends finally finished developing the new software and released it with the name Oracle, the first-ever product of the company. This same year, the company was renamed to Relational Software Inc. Interestingly, the initial release of the Oracle Database was called “version 2”, even though there was never an Oracle “version 1” product.

Fast forward to 1983, and the company was officially renamed to Oracle Systems Corporation after the flagship product.

In 1986, Ellison took Oracle public, only one day before Bill Gates took Microsoft public. At the time of the IPO, he owned 39% of the company, and on the same day, he had a paper net worth of $90 million – considering that the business’s market cap was $270 million and a single share at the company was $15.

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Oracle Between 1990 and 2000

The year 1990 was difficult for Oracle. The company was on the verge of bankruptcy after losing more than 50% of its market cap. Ellison’s net worth dropped significantly because of this and as the company’s CEO, he decided to lay off 10% of the workforce, which equaled 400 people.

The main reason why the company struggled was Oracle’s marketing strategy, in which salespeople convinced potential customers to buy as much software as possible all at once. They increased their bonuses by booking the value of future license sales in a single quarter, which soon became a problem when the sales failed to materialize. As a result, Oracle had to settle class-action lawsuits and was struggling financially.

However, the company managed to survive and grow, mostly thanks to the downfall of Sybase, its biggest competitor. At a time when IBM dominated the mainframe relational database market, companies like Oracle and Sybase – and eventually Microsoft – could compete in the mid-range systems and microcomputer markets.

Between 1990 and 1993, Sybase beat Oracle in growth and popularity, but when Sybase merged with Powersoft, this caused a loss of focus on the core technology.

In 1994, Informix overtook Sybase, becoming Oracle’s newest rival. However, three years later, Informix announced a revenue shortfall, and Phil White, its CEO, landed in jail. Eventually, IBM absorbed Informix in 2001, but this gap allowed Oracle to grow tremendously until that point.

In 1997, Larry Ellison was made the director of Apple Computer after Steve Jobs returned to the business. He resigned from this position in 2002.

In 1990, when his company was struggling, Ellison made a bold move when he bought PeopleSoft, a management software company twice the size of Oracle. This allowed him to expand his business and become a leader in the software industry. This bold move, combined with Sybase’s struggles, led the company to grow tremendously in just a few years.

Oracle enjoyed several years of industry dominance until Microsoft SQL rose in the late 1990s and IBM acquired Sybase. Today, IMB’s DB2 database, which includes the Informix Software, still dominates the mainframe database market.

Oracle Between 2001 and 2010

At Oracle Corporation, Ellison earned millions of dollars in salary and bonuses every year. Here are some of the reported data for this period:

  • 2005: salary of $975,000 in addition to a bonus of $6.5 million, and other compensation of $955,100
  • 2007: base salary of $1,000,000, bonus of $8,369,000 and other compensation of $50,087,100
  • 2008: base salary of $1,000,000, bonus of $10,779,000, and compensation of $71,372,700
  • 2009 (year ending in May): $56.8 million
  • 2010: base salary of $1 only, decided by Oracle shareholders

In addition to this, in 2009, Oracle’s board awarded Ellison 7 million stock options. A year prior, he had been awarded 10 million stock options.

Oracle Between 2010 and Today

On January 21, 2010, Oracle’s attempt to acquire Sun Microsystems was finally approved by the European Union. This acquisition gave the company control of the MySQL open-source database, which Sun has owned since 2008.

After Ellison’s friend, Mark Hurd, was fired from his position at Hewlett-Packard (HP), Oracle hired him as the co-president alongside Safra Catz. Ellison remained the chief executive officer of the company.

This same year, Forbes ranked Ellison as the sixth richest person in the world in its list of billionaires, and the third-richest American. His net worth had already grown to $28 billion at this point.

That same year, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Oracle founder was the best-paid executive in the decade and that he earned $1.84 billion in compensation.

In September 2011, Ellison was ranked as the fifth richest man in the world on the Forbes billionaire list with a net worth that grew to $36.5 billion. A year later, he was the third-richest American citizen.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in 2012, Ellison was the eighth richest person in the world at the time.

In 2017, Forbes ranked him as the fourth richest person in the technology world.

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While the list of the top 10 richest people in the world varies between sources and changes constantly, one thing is for certain – Larry Ellison earned more than most in the last two decades and he kept his spot in the list. He remains in the ranks of Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Bill Gates, and other multibillionaires.

Larry Ellison retired from his CEO spot at the company in 2014 but remained the chairman of Oracle Corporation and the chief technology officer. Today, Oracle employs thousands of people, and its products are used by some of the largest companies in the world including Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Walmart. In the 2023 fiscal year, Oracle earned a whopping $50 billion in revenue.

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Oracle’s stock has risen over 42% to date. As of 2022, Ellison owned 42.9% of Oracle shares. The company is cashing in on artificial intelligence by investing in an OpenAI competitor, Cohere, which raised $270 million of funding in a single round.

Philanthropy

Larry Ellison is known to have contributed hundreds of millions to charitable causes.

After an elbow injury in 1992 due to a high-speed bicycle crash, Larry Ellison donated $5 million to the University of California, Davis for the Lawrence J. Ellison Musculoskeletal Research Center.

According to Forbes’ list of charitable donations in 2004, Ellison had donated $151,092,103, or 1% of his estimated net worth at the time.

In 2005, Ellison was allowed to donate $100 million to his charitable foundation to settle an insider trading lawsuit that arose from his selling $1 billion worth of Oracle shares, and he did so without having to admit wrongdoing. A California judge refused to allow the company to pay his legal fees of $24 million, and since this would be construed as an admission of guilt, it was made part of the charitable donation, including a lot of money donated to Stanford University.

Other charitable donations of Larry Ellison include having:

  • Pledged half a million to fortify the community center in Sderot, Israel
  • Donated $10 million to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in 2014
  • Donated $200 million to the University of Southern California to establish the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC, a cancer research center
  • Donated $16.6 million to the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in 2017
  • Signed The Giving Pledge in 2010, promising to donate at least half of his fortune during his lifetime to charitable causes

Political Affiliations

Larry Ellison has been politically active for many years now. In 2012, he donated to Republican and Democratic politicians. Two years later, he hosted the Republican senator Rand Paul at a fundraiser held at his home.

In 2016, Ellison was one of the donors to the Conservative Solutions PAC, a super PAC that supported Marco Rubio’s presidential bid. He has given around $4 million to the PAC since then.

He also supported Donald Trump and allowed him to have a fundraiser at his Rancho Mirage estate in 2020, even though he was not present at the event.

In 2022, Ellison made the most significant financial contribution in the election cycle, donating $15 million to the Opportunity Matters Fund super PAC of Senator Tim Scott.

Awards and Accolades

In 1997, Ellison received the Golden Plate Reward from the American Academy of Achievement.

In 2013, he was inducted into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame.

In 2019, he was honored by the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC with the first Rebels with a Cause Award.

Investments and Businesses: What Else Does Ellison Invest In?

While Ellison made the vast majority of his wealth from his Oracle shares, he has made an additional fortune investing in other businesses over the years and has a rich portfolio of assets including real estate, private jets, and more.

Investments

The most profitable investment of Ellison to date is his stake in Tesla. He has a 1.4% Tesla stake or 15 million shares, worth around $1.7 billion as of 2024. He bought his first stock in the company in late 2018, when he became a director on the board of the company. He left the Tesla board in August 2022.

He also owns stakes in other businesses including:

  • Salesforce
  • NetSuite
  • Astex Pharmaceuticals
  • Quark Biotechnology Inc.

Other Assets

As the world’s fourth richest person, Ellison owns a huge portfolio of assets, including 98% of a big Hawaiian island, a few private jets, a golf course, and more. Let’s see what his portfolio includes these days.

Hawaiian island Lanai

In June 2012, the business tycoon bought 98% of Hawaii’s Lanai Island from Castle & Cooke, David Murdock’s company. He spent between $500 million and $600 million on this purchase.

Billionaires buying islands isn’t unheard of, but this island is massive. It’s the sixth-largest in Hawaii.

Tennis Court

In 2010, Larry Ellison bought a 50% share of the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament and bought the Indian Wells Tennis Garden court for $100 million.

Art Collection

Reportedly, Ellison owns a massive collection of Japanese and samurai art of unknown value.

Yachts

In 2010, Ellison sold his huge 453-foot yacht Rising Sun to David Geffen. This was the twelfth-largest yacht in the world at the time. However, he’s not without a yacht in his portfolio today. He bought another Feadship-designed yacht, a Musashi, spreading across 288 feet. The yacht is worth around $160 million.

Ellison competes in yachting through his company’s team, Oracle Team USA. He founded BMW Oracle Racing to compete in the Louis Vuitton Cup in 2003.

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Aircrafts

Larry Ellison is a licensed pilot and a fan of aircraft and as such, he owns several private jets. He was once cited in San Jose, California, for violating the limits on late-night takeoffs and landings by planes that weigh more than 75,000 pounds.

He owns at least three jets:

  • Gulfstream G650 worth around $60 million
  • SIAI-Marchetti S.211 worth around $750 million
  • MiG-29 of unknown value

Car Collection

Ellison owns several extremely expensive sports cars and luxury cars including a McLaren F1 and Audi R8. He is also the owner of a Lexus LFA and an Acura NSX.

His car collection is worth at least $4 million.

Real Estate

Larry Ellison has one of the largest real estate portfolios of any individual in the world. His portfolio is spread all around the globe and includes homes in Hawaii, San Francisco, Rhode Island, Japan, Malibu, Lake Tahoe, and more. His real estate assets include:

  • San Francisco five-bedroom home worth over $20 million, bought in 1988 for $3.9 million
  • Woodside, California estate worth at least $200 million – Ellison’s primary residence
  • 12+ properties in Malibu worth over $180 million
  • Astor’s Beechwood Mansion worth $10.5 million, bought in 2010
  • Porcupine Creek Estate and private golf course in Rancho Mirage, California worth $42.9 million, bought in 2011
  • Manalapan, Florida property worth $173 million, bought in 2022
  • An unknown number of properties in Incline Village, Nevada worth over $345 million
  • Cal Neva Lodge, Lake Tahoe worth $35.8 million, bought in 2018
  • Palm Beach, Florida mansion worth $80 million, bought in 2021

In addition to these properties, Ellison also owns a Japanese concert hotel, Nobu Ryokan Malibu, which opened its doors to players in 2017.

What Can We Learn from Larry Ellison’s Story?

Oracle’s founder Larry Ellison is one of the most successful businessmen people in the world and as such, his story can teach us all quite a lot. His journey is incredibly impressive, especially if we consider that he wasn’t born wealthy and had a relatively difficult childhood, being abandoned by both his parents.

His business achievements, particularly as the co-founder of a major software company, have propelled him to the status of a business tycoon, one that very few people hold today.

Ellison has a record of outmaneuvering his rivals by targeting new markets and making use of modern technologies. His smart investments in AI in recent years have made the Oracle stock skyrocket in value so did his net worth. Time and time again, we see this with the richest people in the world. They don’t hesitate to take chances on innovative technology but they also don’t go overboard.

For many years, Ellison was the highest-paid executive in the world, thanks to his legendary business acumen and visionary leadership. He is nothing short of a pioneer in the database industry and has revolutionized the way businesses handle data.

Ellison’s relentless pursuit of success, especially in the face of challenges, highlights the importance of ambition and persistence in achieving one’s goals. His willingness to take risks and innovate, such as pioneering the concept of relational databases, shows the importance of creativity and boldness in business.

Finally, Ellison’s philanthropy serves as a reminder that success includes not only financial achievements but also making a difference in the lives of others.