Keeping Oracle CEO and cofounder Larry Ellison safe cost the company $1.7 million over the fiscal year ending May 31, 2007. Most of that money went to guards at his homes as well as installing and repairing home security systems, according to Oracle's SEC filings. Part of Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos's 2007 compensation included $1.2 milion for personal security. Google CEO Eric Schmidt spent $475,000 on security in 2007. A lot of the money probably goes to security precautions that might seem a lot more like luxuries than necessities.
Besides creating one of the world's most successful tech companies, Larry Ellison invented the 5 o'clock shadow plus blazer look. He drives an Audi R8 to the gym — the car Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson described as "like smearing honey onto Keira Knightley." Ellison also owns a gigantic high-tech yacht on to which he disappears for months at a time. Face it, people: He is Tony Stark, known as Iron Man in the press. And his employees think so, too. "Having watched the movie at an Oracle employees premiere," one writes, "I can agree and I'm sure so do my fellow Oracle employees." Clips for comparison, below.
Really, I wasn't trying to be posh for the book party Arianna Huffington threw Saturday for Oxford scholar Jonathan Zittrain and his new book, The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It." I pulled up to Larry Ellison's Pacific Heights manse in a black Town Car because that's the only vehicle I was able to flag down in North Beach. Huffington, the pundit turned blog mogul, greeted me at the door and extracted a promise of my best behavior before allowing me in. (One wonders what these people think my worst behavior might be, and if they realize how tempting living down to their expectations is.)
Stanlee Gatti, the former San Francisco arts commissioner, produced the event, which drew a crowd mixed with the Valley elite, San Francisco politicos, a gaggle of YouTubers, and oddball geek pals of Zittrain. Oh, and some grubby hacks like yours truly. Melanie Ellison, the romance novelist and wife of Oracle CEO Larry, went to high school with Zittrain, it turns out. That's the kind of it's-a-small-world connection the local press corps loves to make a big deal about. But even if Zittrain didn't have this chance connection to the Valley's movers and shakers, I'd think he'd be drawing attention from its inner circle anyway.
By adding up salary, bonuses and vested or sold equity, Forbes came up with a list of the top 12 richest tech CEOs. And taking over the No. 1 slot from Steve Jobs, who slipped to 11th, is Oracle CEO Larry Ellison — who also topped the list of all American CEOs with $192.9 million in compensation in just one year. Still, not enough to bump him up to 13th place on the world billionaire chart. But surely enough to help a whole lot of cash-strapped school districts. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)
Peninsula school districts will have less to spend on their evil government entitlement programs thanks to "Uncle Larry" Ellison. Lawyer William Bennett successfully lobbied San Mateo County officials on Ellison's behalf to slash the property tax assessment of the Oracle founder's sixteen-acre Woodside estate. Bennett argued that because the grounds have been styled after a village in Imperial Japan, they're worth much less than the $173 million assessed. Officials agreed that the property is unbelievably tacky, and lowered the assessment to $70 million. Ellison will receive a $3 million refund on previously levied taxes — costing school districts county-wide $1.4 million.
The America's Cup is the world's premier opportunity for the ultrariches to prove whose is bigger. But if you think the race has anything to do with sailing, you'd be mistaken — it's about who can muster the most capital. This year the victor could be rigged by lawyers, not sailors, thanks to a spat between billionaire software tycoon Larry Ellison and billionaire biotech tycoon Ernesto Bertarelli.
Oracle founder and longtime Microsoft opponent Larry Ellison believes Microsoft-Yahoo is a good idea. "MSN is modestly successful," Ellison told the New York Times. "It would be a formidable portal combined with Yahoo." Ellison also suggested Yahoo CEO and cofounder Jerry Yang might not know what's best for the company. Company founders, said the guy who's completed two hostile takeovers in the last four years, "sometimes have a hard time separating their emotions from what's best for shareholders."
Of all the companies gone public in the past year, only one pays for its CEO's yacht-club membership. That's security-software maker ArcSight, which went public on Valentine's Day. The CEO is Robert Shaw. According to Footnoted, Shaw's other benefits include an apartment near ArcSight's Cupertino headquarters, a car for when he's in San Francisco and airfare for travel between Shaw's homes in Montana and Cabo San Lucas. All of which isn't as unusual as the yacht-club membership.
Salesforce.com representatives have quietly approached Oracle to see if it would buy the company for $75 a share, Tom Foremski reports. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison already owns a piece of Salesforce, but he's also an early investor in NetSuite, a rival service for online customer-relationship management. The offer, if true, would be a 47 percent premium over Salesforce.com's share price before this morning market opening.
As we've chronicled, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has conducted a war of words with BEA in his protracted takeover fight, threatening to pull his $17-a-share bid or make a lower offer. BEA's board also said it would accept nothing lower than $21 a share. In the end, BEA sold for $19.375 a share. The Wall Street Journal's explanation? "Don't believe anything anyone says in a takeover fight." That sounds about right.
That New York Post item about an "Internet billionaire" and his "lady-loving," "wild-child" daughter who's been to rehab twice still has us thinking. Former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel's daughter Courtenay is wild enough, but her dad's not rich enough. How about Megan Ellison, daughter of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the aspiring film producer? Her MySpace profile lists her as "bi". And while we haven't heard anything about stints in rehab, she did write the following in a MySpace blog entry:
Web software provider NetSuite's IPO, set for this Friday, should be one of the last of 2007. Despite losing $20.6 million on $76.8 million in revenues — wait, isn't Web software supposed to be more profitable than desktop software? — expectations are running high. Get-rich-quick artists may be disappointed.
In every startup's life, before it can go public, there's a ritual called the roadshow. NetSuite, an online-software company backed by Larry Ellison, may begin its run as soon as Thursday, having filed an updated prospectus with the SEC detailing its plans to issue shares to the public. The total: As much as $99 million from the sale of 6.2 million shares. One unlikely buyer has already put his money in: Salesforce.com board member Craig Ramsey, who bought $3.5 million from company CEO Zach Nelson and founder Evan Goldberg. Silicon Alley Insider reports that Ramsey's son works at NetSuite, but the purchase is still curious. Also playing the field: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who put money into Goldberg's NetSuite and Benioff's Salesforce.com.
I've always heard Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had big cojones. No photographic proof, alas, has arrived at Valleywag yet. But this gigantic disco ball — so large it had to be transported by flatbed truck — for an event at Oracle's OpenWorld conference, which starts tomorrow, seems proof enough. To make room for Oracle's other outsized ambitions, San Francisco has closed off Howard Street through next Saturday. (Photo by Royce Perez)
The children of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison seem to be drawn to the arts. His son David is an actor and director who was in last year's movie on WWII pilots Flyboys. Now it looks like Larry's daughter is following in her brother's Hollywood footsteps. Megan Ellison is listed as a producer of the about-to-start-filming flick Waking Madison, a thriller about a woman with multiple personalities starring Elisabeth Shue and some chick who posed for Maxim. Let's just hope that Megan's turn goes better than her brother's. Flyboys was named one of 2006's biggest bombs.
Analysts believe that Oracle will still buy BEA ... eventually. However, since no "white knights" have stepped forward to make competing offers, the consensus is that the $17 offer Oracle initially made was too high a price. Carl Icahn, who owns 15 percent of BEA, wrote "I view your public declaration of a $21-per-share, 'take it or leave it' price as a management entrenchment tactic, not a negotiating technique" in an open letter to the BEA board. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison also seems to have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards BEA, having said nothing since Oracle's initial offer expired last week. "Now, both sides will probably stand back and stare at each other for a while," said one analyst. How unexciting.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison (who recently quit his fake blog) has sold more than $500 million in Oracle stock in the past month — and is planning to sell 100 million shares worth $2.16 billion at current prices in total. Ellison, who is much richer than you, will own 1.17 billion shares — 22.7 percent of the company's total — at the end of this period of "asset diversification and liquidity." Executives frequently arrange sales months in advance, under "scheduled trading plans," to avoid insider trading accusations. ORCL is up 28 percent year to date. Forbes pegs Ellison's current net worth at $26 billion. (Photo by AP/Bernat Armangue)