Sir Leonard Blavatnik was born in Odessa Ukraine in 14 June 1957. He is an American-British businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He made his fortune through business via diversified investments in myriad companies through his conglomerate company, Access Industries. Mr Blavatnik As of May 2021, was the wealthiest man in the United Kingdom.
Sir Len Blavatnik’s massive increase in wealth during the pandemic – up by £7.2bn to £23bn – has made him Britain’s richest man once more, according to the Sunday Times rich list. He has made recent gains from glamorous businesses such as record label Warner Music and sports streaming provider Dazn. But the original source of the Ukrainian billionaire’s wealth was energy and metals companies formed around the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Blavatnik became a citizen of the US in 1984 and a British citizen in 2010, but Access Industries’ website does not reference his dealmaking in Russia. As the Soviet Union started to collapse, he started buying Russian aluminium companies that would eventually form part of Rusal.
The Ukranian-born oil and media magnate, who also owns Warner Music, saw his wealth surge by £7.2bn during the year.
He took the title from Sir James Dyson, whose wealth rose by only £100m to £16.3bn, leaving him in fourth place.
There are now a record 171 billionaires in UK, with their wealth rising 21.7% during the pandemic to £597.2bn.
Mr Blavatnik made his fortune in Russia where he owned stakes worth billions of pounds in companies selling metal and oil. He is a notoriously-private man, and holds both US and UK citizenship.
His wealth was boosted by the proceeds of a £1.37bn stake in Warner, which he received when it listed on the stock market in the US last year.
“The fact many of the super-rich grew so much wealthier at a time when thousands of us have buried loved ones and millions of us worried for our livelihoods makes this a very unsettling boom,” said Robert Watts, compiler of the annual index of the country’s wealthiest residents.
“The global pandemic created lucrative opportunities for many online retailers, social networking apps and computer games tycoons.”
In more recent years, Blavatnik has pivoted away from mines and smokestacks towards showbusiness. Last June, he cashed in $1.9bn in shares in Warner Music, the label of artists including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Bruno Mars – the latter played at Blavatnik’s 60th birthday party, according to the Financial Times. Blavatnik had bought Warner in 2011 for $3.3bn, and the remaining Access stake is worth $13bn.
Gilding Blavatnik’s fortune are big donations to some of the UK’s most prominent cultural and educational institutions. His name adorns the large extension to London’s Tate Modern art gallery after a £50m donation, as well as Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government following a £75m donation.
He has also sought political influence. In the US, Blavatnik mainly gave to Democratic politicians before 2014, but his spending then shifted to the right, with donations of millions of dollars to Republican causes and a $1m donation to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.
The philanthropist has donated heavily to UK institutions since becoming a resident, including Oxford University, which named its Blavatnik School of Government after him.
He has also donated to both U.S. Republicans and Democrats, including to Donald Trump’s presidential inaugural committee.
Blavatnik last topped the Sunday Times Rich List in 2015, when he was worth £13.17billion.
Having gilded his fortune in the music industry over the past year, the Ukrainian-born Midas is hoping for a knockout blow in the sports world with his acquisition of the ‘Netflix of Sport’ Dazn.
Blavatnik is based in London, where he owns a mansion in Kensington Palace Gardens that has been valued at up to £200m. He is married to US-born Emily Appelson, and has five children.