Rich List: I was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States. Now I’m worth £28bn, says Leonard Blavatnik

A Russian-born business tycoon who now holds British-American citizenship is worth a staggering £28 billion.

Sir Leonard Blavatnik owns the London-based sports streaming platform DAZN – pronounced “da Zone”.

Rita Ora with Sir Leonard Blavatnik at the Warner Music Pre-Grammy Party in LA in February


Rita Ora with Sir Leonard Blavatnik at the Warner Music Pre-Grammy Party in LA in FebruaryPhoto credit: Getty
Sir Leonard with Ed Sheeran at the Warner Music Group Brit Awards afterparty in 2015


Sir Leonard with Ed Sheeran at the Warner Music Group Brit Awards afterparty in 2015Photo credit: Rex Features

Accordingly, his wealth has doubled in the last three years The Sunday Times rich list.

All was not smooth, however, as Sir Leonard suffered a setback in January when he thwarted plans to go public – a first public offering of shares on the stock exchange – after reportedly incurring more than $2 billion in losses (1.6 billion pounds) had suffered.

The cost of securing sports rights increased from $1.2 billion in 2020 to $1.9 billion in 2021.

That surge is said to have pushed the billionaire-backed company’s total losses to $2.3 billion (£1.8 billion) in 2021.

However, DAZN chief executive Shay Segev said “massive investment” partly explained the poor numbers.

He attributed the lag in the float to the difficult capital markets and said it could still happen in the next two to three years.

DAZN has lost more than $6 billion (£4.8 billion) since 2016, according to Sunday Times calculations based on UK company records.

Critics claim DAZN underestimated the huge investments and technical challenges it entailed, and it has been dubbed the sport’s “wannabe Netflix”.

While 65-year-old Sir Leonard built his fortune in Russia, where he sold his last fortune in 2013, he has long held joint American and British citizenship.

Born in Odessa when Ukraine was under Soviet control, he later moved to a city north of Moscow as a child.

During his studies in the Russian capital, he met his business partner and fellow Ukrainian Viktor Vekselberg (66), who is now subject to Western sanctions.

The pair built up and then sold large stakes in Russia’s largest aluminum company and a leading oil company in the 1980s.

Blavatnik then settled in the USA, studied computer science at Columbia University and then acquired an MBA from Harvard Business School.

In 1986 he founded his investment company Access Industries in New York.

The company has investments worth US$35 billion (£29.2 billion) in 30 countries and includes a majority stake in Warner Music.

Sir Leonard has risen to prominence through his involvement with Warner and has been photographed with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Warner Music is now worth a whopping £8.3 billion, even though the company’s share price has fallen slightly over the past year.

The Sunday Times put Sir Leonard’s net worth at a staggering £28.625 billion.

He is married to his American wife Emily Appelson and has four children.

In addition to his business interests, he and his family own a home in London and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of real estate in New York.

He also owns hotels in Hollywood and Miami Beach, as well as the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera and the luxury resort Ocean Club in the Bahamas.

Sir Leonard also spent £45m to buy the Theater Royal Haymarket in London’s West End.

He has also donated generously to cultural causes, including £50m for the Tate Modern and £10m for the Courtauld Institute of Art, the newspaper said.

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According to the rich listhe is now in third place, up one spot from last year, as his fortune has grown by more than £8bn in just 12 months.

He has also worked as a producer on a number of Broadway shows including Sunset Boulevard and The Front Page.

Sir Leonard and his wife Emily in 2018


Sir Leonard and his wife Emily in 2018Photo credit: Getty
Rebel Wilson with Sir Leonard at the Grammy Awards in February this year


Rebel Wilson with Sir Leonard at the Grammy Awards in February this yearPhoto credit: Getty


PaulLeBlanc is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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