Forget RIM and Palm: Oracle's Larry Ellison just bought a Hawaiian island. Lanai is a 140 square mile island in the middle of Hawaii, 98 percent privately owned, and Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie just confirmed that the owner has transferred the property to none other than the Oracle co-founder and CEO. The governor released this statement:
"It is my understanding that Mr. Ellison has had a long standing interest in Lana'i. His passion for nature, particularly the ocean is well known specifically in the realm of America’s Cup sailing. He is also a businessman whose record of community involvement in medical research and education causes is equally notable. We look forward to welcoming Mr. Ellison in the near future."
The Maui News, which has been covering the sale for a while, reported that the asking price was between $500-600 million for the entire island... which quite frankly sounds like a steal. Lanai is famous because of Dole Foods, which bought the island in 1922 and turned it into the world's largest pineapple plantation for a time. Dole is a subsidiary of Castle & Cooke, whose current owner and chairman David Murdock is the one selling the island. Notably, Bill Gates rented out the entire island for his marriage in 1994. Find a good bit more about the history of the transaction and island residents' worries about the deal at our Maui News source links.