Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#357 Jim Davis $5.26B

Random fact: Bought New Balance on day of the 1972 Boston Marathon.


Davis is the chairman and majority owner of New Balance, a closely held athletic shoemaker with calculated sales of $3.6 billion in 2016. The Boston-based company manufactures or assembles more than 4 million pairs of shoes in the U.S. per year. It also produces a range of soccer, hockey and volleyball equipment.

As of Oct. 17, 2017:
Last change +$34.6M (+0.7%)
YTD change +$381M (+7.8%)
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset New Balance
Citizenship United States
Age 74
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Jim Davis's net worth of $5.26B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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

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Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

Davis's fortune is dervied from his ownership of New Balance. The company had revenue of $3.3 billion in 2014, according to a Bloomberg News article from July 1, 2015. This analysis uses revenue of $3.6 billion for 2016, which is derived by applying an average annual growth rate of 5 percent to the 2014 figure. The growth rate's based on the advice of Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Chen Grazutis who considered industry growth and New Balance's prior performance relative to peers. 

The company is valued using the average enterprise value-to-sales multiple of four publicly traded peer companies: Nike, Sketchers, Adidas and Puma.

New Balance makes or assembles more than 4 million pairs of shoes in the U.S. per year, according to its website.

Amy Dow, a spokeswoman for New Balance, declined to comment on the billionaire's net worth calculation.


Birthdate: 5/17/1943
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: 1962-1966, Middlebury College, Bachelor's Degree 1961-1962, Worcester Academy

James S. Davis was born on May 17, 1943. He graduated with a degree in biology and chemistry from Middlebury College in 1966 before joining the New Balance Athletic Shoes company. He acquired it on the day of the 1972 Boston marathon and became its chairman and chief executive officer.

Founder William Riley, inspired by the three points of balance on a chicken's foot, started the New Balance Arch Company in 1906 and created new ways to provide arch supports for police officers and waiters in Boston. It made its first pair of running shoes 32 years later. It introduced the Trackster, the first running shoe available in different widths, with a ripple sole, in an effort to offer the best fitting shoe possible, in 1960.

When Davis purchased New Balance from Eleanor and Paul Kidd, it had six employees making 30 pairs a day. He built the company into a leading shoemaker, with five plants in the U.S., one in the U.K. and more than 5,000 employees worldwide. It had global sales of $3.3 billion in 2014.

The billionaire lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife Anne, their son Chris and daughter Kassia.

  • 1906 William Riley starts the New Balance Arch Company in Boston.
  • 1938 New Balance makes its first pair of running shoes.
  • 1972 Acquires New Balance for $100,000.
  • 1976 Creates the New Balance 320 show model.
  • 1981 Establishes the New Balance Foundation.
  • 2001 Buys PF Flyers brand.
  • 2004 Purchases Warrior Lacrosse.
  • 2008 Opens Sports Research Lab.