Wayne's World


How Wayne Huizenga Built a Sports and Entertainment Empire from Trash, Grit, and Videotape

By Gail DeGeorge

Wiley 354pp $24.95

King Midas has nothing on Wayne Huizenga--it was the latter, after all, who showed that garbage could be turned into gold. But Huizenga didn't stop there. After creating the largest trash handler in the world, Waste Management Inc., earning a bundle of money, and retiring at age 46, the restless Huizenga built an eclectic new empire, providing Floridians with portable toilets, lawn care, bottled water, and pest control. Then he purchased video-rental chain Blockbuster Corp., which he built into a 3,700-store entertainment conglomerate. Before long, he also owned three professional sports teams and Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium.

Huizenga's rollicking rise is described in detail in The Making of a Blockbuster by Gail DeGeorge, BUSINESS WEEK's Miami bureau chief. As DeGeorge shows, Blockbuster would prove to be the most voracious of his businesses, swallowing up rival video chains, music stores, and even pieces of Hollywood studios. "Often Huizenga had so many deals percolating simultaneously...that his own executives couldn't keep up," the author says.

DeGeorge also describes numerous crises faced by Huizenga: the Securities & Exchange Commission probe of Waste Management, a Wall Street analyst's report that temporarily sent Blockbuster stock plummeting, the challenge to expansion brought on by the gulf-war-induced shift in America's TV-viewing habits, and the Blockbuster-Viacom merger that prompted Huizenga to step down as chairman. But he isn't resting yet: Today, Huizenga is building yet another business--once again out of garbage.

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