Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#289 Joe Lewis $5.57B

Random fact: Nicknamed "Boxer" by traders.

Overview

Lewis owns Tavistock Group, a New Providence, Bahamas-based holding company that controls stakes in more than 200 businesses in 15 countries. Its investments include real estate, restaurants and resorts. The billionaire, who made his first fortune through currency trades in the 1990s, also owns soccer team Tottenham Hotspur.

As of July 22, 2017:
Last change +$758k (+0.0%)
YTD change +$618M (+12.5%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship United Kingdom
Age 80
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Joe Lewis's net worth of $5.57B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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barrels of crude oil

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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 Lewis's fortune is derived from the proceeds he's collected trading currencies since 1979. He made more than $1 billion short-selling the British pound and Mexican peso during the 1990s, according to a person familiar with the trades who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Lewis's art collection, which includes pieces by Picasso, Freud, Klint and Degas, has a value of $1 billion, according to information provided by an art broker who asked not to be identified because the collection is private. He also holds stakes in more than 200 companies through New Providence, Bahamas-based Tavistock Investments, according to its website. That includes Lake Nona, a 7,000-acre plot in central Florida being developed into a medical research facility and adjoining residential community. The project is valued using the latest selling price-per-acre of the development.

Lewis controls 27 percent of publicly traded Mitchells and Butlers, which owns a chain of English pubs, and 38 percent of Queensland-based cattle farmer, Australian Agricultural Co. Other holdings include golf courses, residential resorts, English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur and a 220-foot yacht.

Biography

Birthdate: 2/2/1937
Family: Married, 2 children

Lewis was born on Feb. 2, 1937, above his father's pub in London's East End neighborhood. He began working at the family catering company, Tavistock Banquets, when he was 15 years old, before transforming the business into a chain of themed restaurants that targeted tourists and featured costumed entertainers swallowing swords and declaiming Shakespeare. He sold it for $60 million in 1979 and moved to the Bahamas.

He used the proceeds to establish himself as a currency trader and became known for making foreign exchange trades. His bet that the British pound would fall in 1992 earned him hundreds of millions of dollars. A similar short sell of the Mexican peso three years later proved equally successful. Through his holding company, Tavistock Investments, Lewis has since diversified into real estate, restaurants and sports teams.

Lewis grants few interviews. Even so, his high profile investments, including the takeover bids for auction house Christie's and U.K. pub group Mitchells & Butlers -- as well as a tendency to moor his 220-foot yacht, Aviva, in places he is visiting -- make him a regular feature in the U.K. press. He garnered headlines in 2008, when shares he held in collapsing U.S. investment bank Bear Sterns fell in value by $1 billion, before it was bought by J.P. Morgan, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

He is a keen golfer who has been known to bet $50,000 on a single hole. Lewis owns two country clubs in Florida that host an annual invitation-only tournament featuring the world's top golfers. Lewis and his wife, Jane, live in the Bahamas. He has two children from his first marriage.

Milestones
  • 1979 Moves to the Bahamas after selling restaurant and catering business.
  • 1995 Bet on the fall of the Mexican peso earns him millions in profit.
  • 1996 Buys stalled Lake Nona property development in Florida for $28 million.
  • 1998 Sells stake in auction house Christie's to billionaire Francois Pinault.
  • 2000 Pays $2.1 million at a charity auction to play golf with Tiger Woods.
  • 2001 Buys controlling stake in London soccer team Tottenham Hotspur.
  • 2004 Creates the Tavistock Cup, a match between his two Florida golf clubs.
  • 2010 Invests in U.K. pub and bar operator Mitchells & Butlers.