Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#408 Leandro Rizzuto $4.59B

Random fact: Both parents were hairdressers in Sicily before immigrating to the U.S.

Overview

Rizzuto is founder and chairman of Conair Corporation, which manufactures and sells haircare and kitchen appliances, and other home and beauty products. The closely held, Stamford, Connecticut-based company had revenue of $3 billion in 2016. He also owns the CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa and Temenos Resort in Anguilla.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change +$25.6M (+0.6%)
YTD change -$242M (-5.0%)
Industry Consumer
Biggest asset Conair Corp.
Citizenship United States
Age 78
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Leandro Rizzuto's net worth of $4.59B 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:

Rizzuto's fortune stems from his ownership of Conair Corporation, which makes and sells hair dryers, curling irons, CuisinArt kitchen appliances, styling aids, BaByliss Brand Professional appliances and other health and beauty products. Rizzuto owns the closely held company along with his four children, and is credited with their stakes as the founder of the business.

Conair had revenue of $3 billion in 2016, according to company database, Orbis which is published by Bureau van Dijk. It's valued based on the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda of three publicly traded peer companies: Helen of Troy, Spectrum Brands Holdings and Revlon. A 20 percent liquidity discount has been applied to account for the lack of detailed financial information available on Conair. According to Rizzuto, the company has zero net debt and is valued at about $5 billion.

Biography

Birthdate: 1938
Family: Unknown, No children

Leandro "Lee" Rizzuto was born in Brooklyn in 1938, the son of Julian and Josephine Rizzo Rizzuto, Sicilian immigrants and hairdressers who ran a large hair salon in Manhattan. When Lee Rizzuto was 21, he and his parents founded a company selling hair products his father had invented, such as the pin curl clip and hair roller.

In the late 1960s, the company, Continental Hair Products -- later shortened to Conair -- was selling its own curling irons, hot combs and pistol-grip hairdryers. Traditionally a perk of only the professional hairdresser, their business was among the first to sell hairdryers to the mass market.

By the mid-1970s, the company had sold stock in a public offering and was the world's largest manufacturer of hairdryers. It also began to expand into other personal care products, such as electric curling irons lighted mirrors and even kitchen appliances, after a $17.7 million purchase of Cuisinart. Rizzuto arranged a leveraged buyout of Conair in 1985, acquiring all the shares he didn't own for $169 million, financing the purchase by selling junk bonds.

Over the next decade, Conair expanded abroad, acquiring international brands such as Babyliss and selling products in Europe and Asia. In addition to Conair, Rizzuto also owns the 300-acre Cuisinart Golf Resort and Spa in Anguilla, the Caribbean and is currently building a second hotel on the island that is set for completion in November 2016. The billionaire remains chairman of Conair which is based in Stamford, Connecticut. He lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. His four children, Babe, Suzie, Lee Jr. and Denis, are all involved with the family business.

Milestones
  • 1959 Continental Hair Products is founded by Julian Rizzuto and son, Leandro.
  • 1972 Conair's iconic Yellowbird hair dryer is introduced.
  • 1972 Company sells stock in an initial public offering.
  • 1985 Rizzuto takes Conair private in a leveraged buyout, and becomes sole owner.
  • 1989 Acquires bankrupt food-processer maker, Cuisinart, for $17.7 million.
  • 1995 Buys European haircare rival, BaByliss
  • 2002 Pleads guilty to tax evasion in federal court.
  • 2009 International market grows to 100 countries, generating 31 percent of sales.