Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#441 Nick Caporella $4.35B

Random fact: Has holiday-themed drinks that support St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Overview

Caporella is the chairman and largest shareholder of National Beverage, a publicly traded maker of sodas, juices and flavored waters. He owns 74 percent of the company, which sells drink brands Asante, Cascadia, Rip It and Shasta, and is best known for LaCroix water. National Beverage reported revenue of $827 million in 2016.

As of Sept. 26, 2017:
Last change -$95.2M (-2.1%)
YTD change +$2.32B (+114.0%)
Industry Food & Beverage
Biggest asset FIZZ US Equity
Citizenship United States
Age 77
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Nick Caporella's net worth of $4.35B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
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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 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:

Caporella's fortune derived from National Beverage, a soda and juice maker he founded in 1985. He owns 74 percent of the publicly traded company's shares directly and in the name of IBS Partners, a Texas-registered limited partnership, according to the company's proxy statement showing holdings as of April 29, 2017.

He became the owner, general partner and only member of IBS after buying out a partner in 1994, according to Texas Secretary of State records, Securities and Exchange Commission filings and a biography of Caporella published by the Horatio Alger Society on its website.

The billionaire has collected almost $400 million in dividends, including a special dividend announced in August 2017, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The billionaire declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate:
Family: Unmarried, No children

Nick Caporella was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, a rural mining town where his father worked as a coal miner, according to his biography on the Horatio Alger Society website, which gave him an award in 1979. His mother, an Italian immigrant like her husband, ran a dairy bar and sandwich shop.

The future billionaire was working by age 11, performing odd jobs such as collecting scrap metal and selling to junkyards and operating a bicycle reconditioning enterprise, according to the Horatio Alger biography.

The Caporella family moved to Florida when Nick was in high school. By age 22 he was working as an oil worker on a crane in Florida for $1 an hour when he met a man selling a $9,000 excavating machine. Caporella put down his entire savings, $250, as a downpayment. He eventually moved his construction business to Puerto Rico, selling it at age 30 and becoming a millionaire, according to the Alger website.

He started another construction firm when he returned to Florida in the early 1960s and sold it 10 years later to Burnup & Sims, which now operates as publicly traded Mastec.  As part owner of Burnup, Caporella had a falling out with business partner Victor Posner, a well known financier. Looking to block Posner's attempt at a hostile takeover of the business, he acquired National Beverage, then a shell company Caporella would use to fend off the approach, according to Funding Universe, a website that publishes 20th-century corporate histories. 

Caporella purchased Shasta Beverages to meet a requirement that the company have active operations and by 1990 decided to focus on beverages, unwinding the relationship between the construction and drinks companies. He continued to cobble together various soft drink brands and, in 1996, purchased LaCroix, which would become the fastest-growing canned sparkling water brand in the U.S., according to the LaCroix website.

Caporella lives in Florida and is an active supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, including through a seasonal line of sodas from National beverage called St. Nick's.

Milestones
  • 1972 Sells Caporella & Sons construction to Burnup & Sims.
  • 1976 Becomes CEO of Burnup & Sims; was president since 1972.
  • 1979 Given Horatio Alger award as a distinguished American.
  • 1985 Buys National Beverage in plan to fend off Burnup & Sims takeover.
  • 1991 Unwinds National Beverage from Burnup & Sims.
  • 1996 Purchases LaCroix sparkling water from Wynterbrook Beverage Co.
  • 2006 National Beverage revenue surpasses $500 million.
  • 2017 National Beverage shares double in first seven months of 2017.