Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Andrew is BRW's Rich lists editor and is responsible for the Rich 200 and Young Rich flagship issues. He also reports on matters relating to wealth and investment for BRW and The Australian Financial Review.

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Oracle founder Larry Ellison buys Hawaiian airline to go with his island

Published 01 March 2013 12:07, Updated 26 June 2013 11:44

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Oracle founder Larry Ellison buys Hawaiian airline to go with his island

Aloha: Oracle founder Larry Ellison has bought the airline which services Lanai Island. Photo: Getty

What’s the point of owning a Hawaiian island if you don’t have an airline to fly you there?

Larry Ellison, the eighth richest person in the world, has acquired Hawaii’s biggest regional airline, Island Air, after buying most of Lanai island last year.

The chief executive, founder and 23 per cent owner of the world’s biggest database company Oracle, Ellison bought the airline for an undisclosed price.

Island Air is based at the Honolulu International Airport and flies to seven Hawaiian destinations including Lanai. A spokesman for Ellison has described the acquisition as major investment and commitment to Hawaii.

Ellison is worth $40 billion, 80 per cent of which comes from his stake in Oracle.

While he has been open about his love of Hawaii, the latest purchase also provides an example of a common investment technique by the rich: vertical integration.

Owning a regional airline provides scope for Ellison to bring more paying customers to his island.

Lanai is the sixth largest of the Hawaiian islands and is located west of Maui.

Ellison bought it in June last year and subsequently announced plans to turn it into a “laboratory for sustainability in businesses of small scale” with a desalination plant and organic farms.