Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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

#235 Nicky Oppenheimer $6.74B

Random fact: Has said that the person he'd most like to meet is Bill Gates.

Overview

Oppenheimer sold his family's 40 percent stake in De Beers, the world's biggest diamond producer, to mining company Anglo American in 2012 for $5.2 billion in cash. He holds less than one percent of the London-based bulk commodities company and maintains private equity investments in Africa, Asia, the U.S. and Europe.

As of July 28, 2017:
Last change +$26.9M (+0.4%)
YTD change +$288M (+4.5%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset Cash
Citizenship South Africa
Age 72
Wealth Inherited
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Nicky Oppenheimer's net worth of $6.74B 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:

The majority of Oppenheimer's fortune is derived from the proceeds he collected selling his family's 40 percent stake in De Beers, the world's largest rough diamond producer, to Anglo American for $5.2 billion in August 2012. The billionaire told Bloomberg News in a November 2011 interview he planned to deploy most of the proceeds into private equity investments focused on Africa, with some of the money going to increase his stake in Tana Africa Capital, a private equity joint venture he has with Temasek Holdings, a Singapore-based investment fund. He invested an undisclosed amount in 4Di Capital, a South Africa-focused venture capital firm, in November 2012.

The value of his cash holdings is based on an analysis of dividends, asset sales, taxes, charitable contributions and the market performance of investments weighted towards commodities and African markets.

Through E. Oppenheimer & Son International, a family investment vehicle, Oppenheimer owns less than one percent of mining company Anglo American, according to company shareholder data provided to Bloomberg by London-based shareholder analysis house, Junction RDS.

Nick Williams, a spokesman for the family at College Hill, declined to comment on Oppenheimer's net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/8/1945
Family: Married, 1 child
Education: Bachelor's Degree, Christ Church Oxford University

Nicholas Frank Oppenheimer was born June 8, 1945, in Johannesburg, South Africa, the third generation of a mining dynasty. His grandfather, Ernest Oppenheimer, founded the mining company Anglo American in 1917 to dig the world's biggest gold field, the Witwatersrand, near Johannesburg. The elder Oppenheimer took control of De Beers in 1929, building it into the world's biggest diamond business -- a distinction it still holds today -- and linking it to Anglo through cross-shareholdings between the companies. Harry, who is Ernest's son and Nicky's father, took over as chairman in 1957. He led Anglo American's expansion into South African banking, steel, sugar and paper as the country's isolation during apartheid prevented it from buying mines in foreign markets.

Nicky joined the family business at age 23 after graduating from Oxford, where he studied politics, philosophy and economics. His first job at Anglo American was as a personal assistant to the chairman, his father. He became chairman of De Beers in 1998, and was eventually charged with transforming the company's business model after it lost its near-monopoly on the diamond distribution market in 2000. Another challenge: purging the company of its association with so-called blood diamonds, which had been traded through conflict zones. In 2003, the company helped establish the Kimberley Process certification scheme, which aims to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the market.

The Oppenheimer family sold their remaining 40 percent stake in De Beers to Anglo American for $5.2 billion in August 2012, ending the diamond dynasty's 80-year ownership. Oppenheimer told Bloomberg News at the time he planned to invest some of the proceeds from the sale in Africa. He already had an Africa-focused private equity joint venture, Tana Africa Capital, with Temasek Holdings. A supporter of wilderness conservation, he owns South Africa's largest private game reserve, Tswalu Kalahari, with his son Jonathan.

He and his wife live in Johannesburg and have a country estate in the English county of Berkshire.

Milestones
  • 1968 Joins Anglo American as a personal assistant to the chairman.
  • 1983 Appointed deputy chairman of Anglo American; serves until 2001.
  • 1998 Becomes chairman of De Beers.
  • 2000 De Beers loses its near-monopoly on diamond distribution.
  • 2001 De Beers is delisted from Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • 2003 Joins Kimberley Process, a scheme to ban conflict diamonds.
  • 2011 Nicky Oppenheimer resigns from Anglo American board.
  • 2012 Sells remaining 40 percent stake in De Beers to Anglo American.