Google co-founder Larry Page bought an island in Puerto Rico. Here’s how rich you have to be to do that


Page (left) famously founded Google in a garage with his Stanford classmate Brin in 1998. — Google

Larry Page famously founded Google in a garage with his Stanford classmate Sergey Brin in 1998. Their company proved so successful that almost exactly 30 years later, he was able to drop US$32mil (RM153.36mil) for a 300-acre island called Cayo Norte in Puerto Rico.

Business Insider recently uncovered documents that show that in 2018 Page and his wife, Lucinda Southworth, purchased the private island through a limited-liability corporation called US Virgin Island Properties. It’s at least the fifth island he owns, including spots in the US Virgin Islands and Fiji, according to BI.

How rich do you have to be to have your own collection of private islands? Bloomberg estimates his net worth at US$128bil (RM613.44bil), just behind Warren Buffett on its list of billionaires. Page is no longer involved in day-to-day operations at Google, but still has a board seat at parent company Alphabet and owns about 6% of its shares.

He’s far from the only entrepreneur who has splashed out on tropical real estate. Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is building what Wired called a “top-secret compound” with an underground bunker in Hawaii.

But the fantasy of owning an entire island seems to hold special appeal to entrepreneurs. Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has bought up the island of Lanai and many of the local businesses, despite criticism from people who live on the island. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson owns Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands.

“Owning an island is romantic, sexy – it’s the ultimate ‘I’ve arrived’ statement,” Kathleen Peddicord, publisher of the newsletter Live and Invest Overseas, told The New York Times in 2015. They’re also rare: according to the same article, there are only about 2,000 islands that are close to land, in politically stable areas, and that legally can be developed.

Page appears to be leaving his Puerto Rican paradise, which boasts white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and a sea turtle preserve, largely untouched. Locals in the area told BI that they were generally unaware of the island’s ownership and had not noticed any building projects. Some say they have spotted helicopters landing on the island and people hydrofoiling in the ocean nearby. – Inc./Tribune News Service

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