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Aloha, Oracle! Billionaire Larry Ellison Buys a Hawaiian Island

Photo of Lanai by Matt McGee via Flickr
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Just like the rest of us big time money bags, Larry Ellison has bought himself his own island. Only Ellison, the third wealthiest American citizen, went ahead and bought one right here in the U.S.

Ellison, the Oracle Corp. CEO, has made a deal to buy 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai from its current owner, reports the Associated Press.

How much does an island in Hawaii go for these days? Well, the AP says the purchase price "was not immediately clear" for the 141 square miles of land currently owned by Castle & Cooke Inc. But we are looking at something likely around half a billion:

Lawyers for the seller redacted a copy of the sale agreement signed May 2, saying it includes confidential information that would competitively hurt Ellison and the seller if disclosed. The Maui News previously reported the asking price was between $500 million and $600 million.

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Ellison (Photo by Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco 2009 via Flickr)
That's chump change to someone worth an estimated $36.5 billion, right? Though we kid a little, this is actually--and literally--a really big deal. How big? From Forbes:

Forbes is trying to ascertain whether a price in that ballpark makes Lanai the world’s most expensive island. It’s certainly the costliest transaction of its kind in recent memory. The priciest island for sale via Sotheby’s is a Bahamian outpost going for a relatively paltry $85 million.

Lanai is Hawaii's sixth-largest island, and is known for its resorts and golf courses. Hopefully Ellison will appreciate the open vistas Lanai affords, since he recently tried to pay $40 million for the house next door to his because a neighbor was blocking his view in the Bay Area. (Ellison denied those rumors.)

Ellison already has at least one guaranteed tenant on Lanai: Billionaire David Murdock, who owns Castle & Cooke, and who will "keep his home on Lanai and the right to build a wind farm."

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Murdock said selling Lanai wasn't impulsive; Ellison, who visits the island frequently, is also believed to have had a long interest in the property. While he says he has plans for investments on the island, who knows--maybe he just needs a big place to put his big toys, like planes and boats.

In case you were wondering, the remaining 2 percent of Lanai "is owned by the state, county and private residents."