Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#370 David Thomson $5.08B

Random fact: Peerage title--Baron Thomson of Fleet--created for his grandfather.

Overview

Thomson is co-chairman of Woodbridge, a closely held investment vehicle that controls 60 percent of Thomson Reuters. He owns about 14 percent of Woodbridge's assets and relatives own the rest. Thomson's personal investments include art, real estate and minority ownership of the Winnipeg Jets hockey team.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change +$30.1M (+0.6%)
YTD change +$431M (+9.3%)
Industry Media & Telecom
Biggest asset TRI CN Equity
Citizenship Canada
Age 60
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

David Thomson's net worth of $5.08B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Thomson's fortune is derived from Woodbridge, an investment firm that manages the family fortune originated by Canadian media magnate Roy Thomson. After his death in 1976, Thomson's estate was divided between his three children. His son -- and David Thomson's father, Kenneth -- inherited 42 percent. His two daughters, Audrey and Irma, received 33 percent and 23 percent, respectively, according to a person familiar with the family's assets who asked not to be identified because Woodbridge is closely held.

Each heir evenly split their share in Woodbridge among their children, the source said. David and his two siblings, Peter and Taylor, each received 14 percent of Woodbridge. Each of Audrey's three children, Linda Campbell, Susan Grange and Gaye Farncombe, own 11 percent. A cousin, Sherry Brydson, the only child of Irma, owns about 23 percent.

Woodbridge has collected more than $3 billion in dividends from public holdings since 2007. Based on an analysis of dividend income, taxes and market performance, the family probably has more than $2.5 billion in cash and other investable assets.

The billionaire established a real estate company, Osmington, outside of Woodbridge, through which he has investments including a minority stake in the Winnipeg Jets and its arena and a portion of a mall in Hamilton, Ontario. He has collected about $180 million from selling land and eight other shopping mall investments, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

David Girardin, a spokesman for Thomson Reuters, said Thomson declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/12/1957
Family: Divorced, 4 children
Education: 1978, University of Cambridge, Master's Degree History, Upper Canada College, Bachelor's Degree

Canada's richest family was set on its path to wealth in 1931, when Roy Thomson acquired a radio station in Ontario followed two years later by the Timmins Press, a newspaper in Ontario. Two years later he bought the Timmins Press, a newspaper in Ontario. Within five years, Thomson was Canada's leading newspaper owner. After aggressive expansion in the U.K., he sold shares in a public offering in 1965, with his son Kenneth taking over in 1976.

Kenneth's eldest son, David K. R. Thomson, took the reins of the family fortune on his father's death in June 2006. Today, most Thomson investments are made through Woodbridge, a family-owned investment company of which brother Peter is chairman.

As chairman of Thomson, David continued to expand the business, announcing a merger with Reuters in 2007. Woodbridge owns 57 percent of the combined company, Thomson Reuters, as well as holdings in commodity analyst IHS and Canada telecommunications company BCE. Woodbridge also has billions of dollars in closely held investments.

Outside of Woodbridge, David controls personal investments through closely held Osmington, a real estate company. He sold most of his shopping center interests to the Canada Pension Plan in 2010, and property management arm Redcliff to Calgary's Coril in 2011.

Thomson owns artwork by John Constable and is the sole owner of a minority stake of the Winnnipeg jets hockey franchise.

Milestones
  • 1931 Roy Thomson purchases a radio station in North Bay, Ontario.
  • 1957 David Kenneth Roy Thomson is born in Toronto.
  • 1978 Receives master's degree from Selwyn College at Cambridge University.
  • 1991 Forms Osmington, a real estate firm held outside of family firm.
  • 2006 Father Kenneth dies, putting David in charge of family business.
  • 2009 Thomson buys Reuters for $17 billion, creating news and data company.
  • 2011 Part of a group that buys NHL Atlanta Thrashers, relocates to Winnipeg.
  • 2014 Thomson Reuters sales reach $12.6 billion for the year.