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Jeff Bezos spends record £126m on Beverly Hills mansion

Amazon founder's property empire spans the US

Jeff Bezos spends record £126m on Beverly Hills mansion
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Jeff Bezos is on a shopping spree befitting the world's richest man.

The Amazon founder agreed to pay $165m (£126m) for a Beverly Hills mansion on nine acres, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, setting a record for a Los Angeles-area home.

The property, designed for Hollywood film titan Jack Warner in the 1930s, was described by Architectural Digest in 1992 as the “archetypal studio mogul's estate”, built in Georgian style with expansive terraces and its own nine-hole golf course.

News of the sale emerged just days after filings showed Mr Bezos cashed out $4.1bn (£3.1bn) of Amazon shares and comes amid reports that he's also entered the art market. He reportedly set a record for artist Ed Ruscha at a Christie's auction with a $52.5m purchase of “Hurting the Word Radio #2” in November and also bought “Vignette 19” by Kerry James Marshall for $18.5m (£14.2m).

The purchase of the Warner estate, described by the person on condition they not be named, was reported on Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal. The property has belonged to David Geffen since 1990, when he paid $47.5m (£36.4m). Mr Bezos was seen socialising on the entertainment mogul's mega-yacht last summer, visible in an Instagram post with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez and Goldman Sachs' former chief, Lloyd Blankfein.

Mr Bezos, 56, who for years maintained a low-key personal life, has been a source of frequent headlines since he and MacKenzie Bezos divorced in 2019. He's been walking red carpets with Ms Sanchez and has even been drawn into geopolitical controversies over allegations that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was involved in hacking his phone. He was in the audience for Sunday's Oscars ceremony and attracted more attention than some film stars.

“He's got cash,” comedian Chris Rock said in the show's opening monologue. “When he writes a check, the bank bounces.”

Mr Bezos had been shopping for an estate for months, according to agents who were contacted during the search. In a January interview, estate agent Josh Flagg said he'd get a call “at least once a month from different agents asking if I have something”.

The purchase adds to a string of mega-deals for high-end residential properties since the start of 2019. Citadel founder Ken Griffin plunked down record $238m (£182m) for a New York penthouse at 220 Central Park South. Lachlan Murdoch, the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, paid a then-California record of about $150m (£115m) for a Bel-Air estate that had been featured about a half century ago on The Beverly Hillbillies TV show. Hedge fund billionaire Steven Schonfeld and his wife Brooke closed on a mega-mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, for $111m (£85.2m).

Mr Bezos' real-estate empire already features homes on both US coasts, such as a Washington DC mansion where he recently hosted a party for the city's elite including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. He also owns 420,000 acres of desert scrub in Texas.

Regardless, he can afford it. Even after his marital split, he's worth $131.9bn (£101bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Bloomberg

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