Larry Ellison Buys Rancho Mirage Estate at Discount


larry ellisonLarry Ellison, the sixth-richest man in the world, co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation -- a veteran home collector -- just got a deal on one of the most significant and notorious properties in the country.

In late January, Ellison snagged an 249-acre estate that once belonged to Edra Blixseth called Porcupine Creek in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The reported sales price was $42.9 million, according to records filed in Riverside County. The last-known listing price for the amazing spread was $55 million, which was a 27 percent reduction over the original asking price of $75 million.

Paying $42.9 million, Ellison got the property for almost half-price.

Agent Lisa Bessone of Christie's International Real Estate on Tuesday confirmed the sale of Porcupine Creek, but declined to divulge the buyer or other details.

The Desert Sun did some crafty work tracing documents that show a grant deed recorded on Jan. 28 by Porcupine Properties, and the paper/site then linked the paperwork trail back to Ellison's investment holding company.

Ellison was last reported by Forbes to have a net worth of $28 billion. Besides real estate, he

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apparently likes tennis. He bought the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and its world-class BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in 2009. Mark Hurd, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, is a close friend and often plays tennis at Ellison's $70 million Woodside, Calif., estate, styled after feudal Japanese architecture, with a man-made 2.3-acre lake and an extensive seismic retrofit. Ellison has also purchased more than 12 properties in Malibu, Calif., worth more than $180 million. In early 2010, Ellison purchased the Astor's Beechwood Mansion in Newport, R.I., for $10.5 million. The property was the former summer home of the prominent Astor family.

Ellison also loves to sail, race his vinatge autos, and fly his private jet(s). Hopefully, he loves golf because Porcupine has a 240-acre private golf course as well as a most colorful ownership history.

Porcupine was last owned by Yellowstone Club founders Tim and Edra Blixseth, and was a central focus of their bitter divorce and subsequent bankruptcy action in Montana. Porcupine Creek is being sold to satisfy the Club's many creditors -- Edra alone has about $500 million to $1 billion in debts. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, her ex swapped the federal government 100,000 acres that he and two partners had bought in Montana for the primo real estate that is now the Yellowstone Club. Perhaps the world's sole, members-only ski resort, the Yellowstone Club is still uber exclusive, private, and boasts a Who's Who of members from Dan Quayle and the late Jack Kemp to Bill Gates, Starwood Hotels' founder Barry Sternlicht and News Corp. President Peter Chernin.

During the boom, the standard Yellowstone Club home was built with private elevators, wine cellars, movie theaters. One wild spec home, called the River Runs Through It, even featured an all-glass passageway to the guest quarters with a heated river flowing below it. When the financial world was rocking and rolling, the Yellowstone Club had $1,000-per-person New Year's Eve bashes in the clubhouse, complete with sommelier, concierge service and full access to the caviar bar.

In 2005, Tim Blixseth took out a $375-million loan from Credit Suisse and that's when things got naughty. He pledged the assets of the Yellowstone Club as collateral and used the Credit Suisse loan to buy up properties around the world, to fulfill his world real estate vision. Oh. Court documents also claim that the Blixseths also pocketed about $209 million in cash.

In November 2008, the Yellowstone Club filed for Chapter 11 protection.

The Blixseths spent extravagantly. Edra Blixseth hosted a $90,000 party at Porcupine Creek for about 100 guests, who were invited to whack pinatas shaped like her ex, Tim. The piñatas were filled with gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins. This was, of course, after the couple split.

Perhaps some piñatas remain with the house: Mr. Ellsion has been married and divored four times.

The estate features an 18,430-square-foot Mediterranean-style main home with hand-painted ceiling murals, an amphitheater and a resort-style pool. There are eight two-bedroom guest houses, a gym, spa, an outdoor party grotto with a full-size stage, and commercial kitchens. The private home has been the scene for numerous charity events that often held 500 or more guests.

Oh, and last I heard, Edra remarried.

Real estate reporter & blogger Candy Evans is an award-winning, Dallas-based real estate reporter, blogger, and consultant. She's the gal who brought House Porn to the Bible Belt! Read more at SecondShelters.com. Send story ideas and tips to Candace@secondshelters.com.



Click here to find available properties in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

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