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#217 Bertil Hult $7.12B

Random fact: Company was official language trainer for the Beijing Olympics.

Overview

Hult is the founder of EF Education First, a closely held business that provides travel, language and education services. The Lucerne, Switzerland-based company has a network of more than 530 schools in 116 countries. The billionaire also owns the Hult International Business School, based in Cambridge Massachusetts.

As of July 21, 2017:
Last change -$42.0M (-0.6%)
YTD change +$1.21B (+20.4%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset EF Education First
Citizenship Sweden
Age 76
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Bertil Hult's net worth of $7.12B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

0%
of the GDP of the United States
0%
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
0%
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
0%
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
0%
of U.S. existing home sales
0
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Hult's fortune is derived from EF Education First, the company he founded in 1965. The closely held business doesn't release financial information. Revenue for 2015 was calculated to be $8.4 billion by multiplying its annual student enrollment by the average course cost. The enrollment and course data was provided by a person familiar with the business who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The value of EF Education First has been indexed to the performance of the Russell 2000 Education Services Index since Dec. 31, 2015. The base valuation was calculated using the enterprise value-to-sales and price-to-sales multiples of one publicly traded peer company: Benesse Holdings. The company has no debt, according to the person familiar with the business.

The billionaire also owns a private jet plane and a 52-meter sailing yacht, Erica VII. They're valued according to the market price of similar assets, which was provided by industry brokers.

Hult declined to comment on his net worth in an interview at EF Education First's London office in October 2013.

Biography

Birthdate: 2/10/1941
Family: Married, 4 children
Education: Lund University

Bertil Hult was born in Sweden on Feb. 10, 1941. He suffered dyslexia as a child and struggled to learn to read and write. He dropped out of school in his late teens and was sent to England to work for a shipbroker, where he learned English. He returned to Sweden, completed school and founded Education First in the basement of his dormitory while studying at Lund University in 1965.

The company's initially focused on summer language programs for students. It began expanding across Europe and started to offer courses for children, adults and professionals. Education First opened its first office in Tokyo in 1972, around the same time the Japanese government started using computers with English alphabet-based keyboards, a move that required government workers to have a basic understanding of the language. Demand for Education First's services soared.

Hult moved to Santa Barbara, California, in 1983, and his company began offering educational tours to American school pupils. The company celebrated its millionth customer two years later. A collaboration with Apple in 1995 gave rise to Englishtown, the world's largest online English school. Eight years later, Education First acquired the Arthur D. Little School of Management in Boston, renamed it the Hult International Business School, and began developing foreign campuses.

Hult lives in Lucerne, Switzerland, with his wife Lisbeth, and focuses on philanthropic ventures, including the $1 million Hult Prize that supports social entrepreneurs. The couple has four sons, three of whom work at Education First.

Milestones
  • 1941 Bertil Hult is born in Stockholm.
  • 1965 Founds Language Travel with a group of friends at Lund University.
  • 1979 Acquires travel company in Mexico and opens first Latin American offices.
  • 1988 EF chosen as official language school of the Seoul Olympic Games.
  • 1995 Collaborates with Apple to design Englishtown, an online language school.
  • 2003 Acquires Boston business college. Names it Hult International Business School.
  • 2007 Named the official language training service supplier for the Beijing Olympics.
  • 2008 Opens first private high school in the U.S.