Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#331 Ananda Krishnan $5.20B

Random fact: Financed the Live Aid concerts organized by Bob Geldof in 1985.


Krishnan has investments in a range of sectors including telecommunications (Maxis, Sri Lanka Telecom, Aircel), media (Astro Malaysia, Johnston Press), oil and gas (Bumi Armada, Origin Energy) and real estate. He developed the 88-story Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, which was the world's tallest building until 2004.

As of July 26, 2017:
Last change -$30.2M (-0.6%)
YTD change +$32.9M (+0.6%)
Industry Diversified
Biggest asset MAXIS MK Equity
Citizenship Malaysia
Age 79
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Ananda Krishnan's net worth of $5.20B 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

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Ananda's fortune is derived from his stake in Maxis, a Malaysian mobile-phone company. The billionaire owns 29 percent of the publicly traded company through Kuala Lumpur-based holding company Maxis Communications. Ananda also controls about 41 percent of Astro Malaysia, a pay-TV operator, and 35 percent of oil and gas services provider Bumi Armada.

Ananda's closely held investments include interests in leisure and property investments company Tanjong and satellite communications services provider MEASAT Global. In 2011, he purchased the St. John's Wood Barracks estate in London for about $400 million to create a new residential development.

He also owns a 33 percent stake in Indian mobile-phone company Aircel through Maxis Communications. On Nov. 19, 2015, the value of Ananda's investment in Aircel was adjusted down to $360 million, based on the price he paid to acquire the asset in 2006, because the company has sustained losses for the past two years. Prior to this change, it was valued at $1.1 billion, a figure provided in 2014 by a person familiar with Ananda's holdings who asked not to be named because the information is private.

Ananda has invested in a liquefied natural gas venture in Australia with Sydney-based Origin Energy and in Hotel Des Bergues Geneva. All of his closely held assets are valued based on the price he paid taking them private and other recent transactions.

He made a goodwill loan of $555 million to Malaysian state owned investment company 1Malaysia Development in February 2015.

The value of Ananda's cash holdings is based on an analysis of dividends, taxes, insider transactions, market performance and charitable contributions.

The information was verified by a person familiar with Ananda's holdings and through company reports and filings.


Birthdate: 4/1/1938
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1964, Harvard Business School, MBA University of Melbourne, Bachelor's Degree

Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan was born in 1938, the son of a Malaysian civil servant with Sri Lankan Tamil roots. At age 17, he became the youngest Asian to be admitted at the University of Melbourne. He graduated as a Colombo Plan scholar in 1961. After earning his MBA at Harvard Business School in 1964, Ananda entered the oil-trading business and, a decade later, played a key role in setting up Malaysia's state oil company Petroliam Nasional (Petronas).

Ananda became friends with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in the early 1970s in London. Ananda was taking a break in Europe after a failed joint venture, while Mahathir had been expelled from the ruling Umno party by Malaysia's first prime minister. During Mahathir's rule from 1981 to 2003, Ananda won licenses for telecommunications, satellite and broadcasting operations through his closely held company Binariang. He also won a horse-race betting monopoly and power concessions.

The billionaire received Mahathir's blessing to develop a horse-racing track site into a town called the Kuala Lumpur City Center in 1990. With financing from Petronas, Ananda tapped architect Cesar Pelli to design the development's centerpiece, the 88-story Petronas Twin Towers. The towers were the world's tallest buildings from 1999 to 2004, when they were surpassed by the Taipei 101.

He's built a reputation for taking his companies private and then relisting them, privatizing Maxis in 2007, selling shares in the mobile-phone operator two years later in Southeast Asia's biggest initial public offering. With partners, he bought out three of his companies -- Astro All Asia Networks, Tanjong and Measat Global -- paying $2.5 billion for shares they didn't already own in 2010, valuing the firms at a combined 5.9 billion ringgit ($1.7 billion). He relisted Astro, Malaysia's largest pay-TV operator, in October 2012 after a $1.5 billion share sale.

Ananda sold his 49 percent stake in property firm KLCC Holdings to Petronas in 2002. The Edge weekly magazine in Malaysia reported that the state oil company bought the stake for $390 million.

He bought a 50 percent stake in Hotel Des Bergues Geneva from Saudi Prince Alwaleed in 2005, and the St. John's Wood Barracks estate in London for about $390 million in 2011, to create a residential development.

In 2009, he increased his interest in an Australian liquefied natural gas venture with Sydney-based Origin Energy amid an expected rise in Asian demand for cleaner-burning fuels. He sold Tanjong's gaming business for about $700 million to a group of Malaysian businessmen in 2011. The power assets, which he controlled through Tanjong, were sold for $2.8 billion to 1MDB in 2012.

Ananda's only son is a Buddhist monk living in Thailand. His daughter, a former doctor, is a filmmaker.

  • 1938 Born in Kuala Lumpur to civil servant of Sri Lankan Tamil origin.
  • 1961 Graduates from the University of Melbourne with honors.
  • 1986 Creates closely held investment company Binariang.
  • 1991 Renames company Tanjong, relists it in Malaysia, London.
  • 1999 Changes Binariang's name to Maxis.
  • 2002 Lists Maxis on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange.
  • 2007 Privatizes Maxis Communications.
  • 2012 Re-lists Astro Malaysia after company raises $1.5 billion in share sale.