Will Bill Gates buy Hawaiian island of Lanai?
Duane Shimogawa, Pacific Business News
Lanai island, Hawaii, is for sale and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is rumored to be a potential buyer.
Word spread fast after Pacific Business News broke the story last Friday confirming the widely spread rumor that Los Angeles billionaire David Murdock is trying to sell the island of Lanai.
Now, Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa is telling Pacific Business News that there’s a good chance that Lanai might be sold relatively quickly. Word of the sale could come out in about a week or so.
“At this point, there seems to be a serious inquiry, [but] the due diligence must be done — a lot of paperwork must be satisfied,” he said.
The listing price for the island is not being publicly disclosed, but one expert who sells islands for a living told Pacific Business News that its price is probably more than $500 million.
Rumors have been spreading for some time now that two prominent American businessmen, Larry Ellison, co-founder/CEO of Oracle Corp., and Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, may be likely candidates to buy Lanai.
Gates and his wife, Melinda, rented out the entire island for their marriage in 1994, and Ellison has a home on Lanai.
Calls to Oracle’s corporate offices weren’t immediately returned.
A call and email to Gates’ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation requesting comment weren’t immediately returned.
Arakawa said he had a discussion with representatives from Castle & Cooke Hawaii Inc. over the weekend and, in that discussion, “someone” was identified as being interesting in purchasing Lanai, although he declined to give any names.
Meantime, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told Pacific Business News through his spokeswoman, Donalyn Dela Cruz, that he met with Castle & Cooke representatives Thursday afternoon, and they informed him that they have started discussions with a potential buyer for Lanai.
Lanai, the sixth-largest Hawaiian island by acreage, is owned by Murdock, who in 1985 took control of it as a result of his purchase of Castle & Cooke. The state owns 2 percent of the island.
Duane Shimogawa covers energy, real estate and economic development for Pacific Business News.