Barron Hilton Net Worth
What was Barron Hilton's Net Worth?
Barron Hilton was an American businessman and socialite who had a net worth of $4.5 billion dollars at the time of his death in 2019. Barron Hilton was the son of hotel mogul Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Barron joined the family empire in the 1950s and proceeded to take the company to incredible heights. In the 1970s, it was Barron's wise idea to invest in Nevada casinos, buying what would become the Las Vegas Hilton and the Flamingo hotel and the source of the majority of the family wealth today. When Conrad died in 1979, 97% of his estate was left to his personal charity with the option for Barron to purchase his shares to keep the Hilton family in control of the company. Though the charity opposed it, a court eventually ruled in favor of Barron. A settlement was reached, leaving Barron with 4 million shares of the family enterprise. Private equity behemoth Blackstone acquired Hilton in 2000 for $20 billion. Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton are his granddaughters.
Barron was married to Marilyn June Hawley from 1947 until her death in 2004. They had two daughters and six sons. For much of his adult life, Barron intended to leave his multi-billion-dollar fortune to his family after his passing.
Barron was reportedly extremely embarrassed by the actions of granddaughter Paris. From the sex tape, to the terrible reality shows, to the general tarnishing of the Hilton name. As a result, in 2007, Conrad adjusted the terms of his will to cut out his family and instead leave 97% of his estate to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. So, instead of roughly two dozen people inheriting $4.5 billion, $190 million per person, those same people will split 3% of $4.5 billion. That's a total of $135 million, around $5.6 million per person.
Hilton was born in Dallas, Texas on October 23, 1927. The son of Mary Adelaide and Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Hilton grew up with three siblings: Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr., Eric Michael Hilton, and Constance Francesca Hilton. His father was of Norwegian and German descent and from New Mexico while his mother was from Kentucky. As a child, Barron was fascinated by aviation, learning to fly when he was just a teenager.
The younger Hilton was a Navy photographer during World War II. After the war, he actually turned down his father's offer to join the family business. Instead, he attended the University of Southern California Aeronautical School after his wartime discharge, where he earned his twin-engine rating at age 19. Hilton then worked with several different companies including one that distributed fruit juice. He acquired the Los Angeles-area distributorship of Vita-Pakt Citrus Products, co-founded MacDonald Oil Company, and founded Air Finance Corporation, one of the nation's first aircraft leasing businesses. In 1954, he was elected Vice President of Hilton Hotels and ran the company's franchise operations. Hilton also created the Carte Blanche credit card as a service to the company's most loyal customers.
In 1959, Barron purchased the American Football League's Los Angeles franchise and named the team the Chargers. The Chargers began playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1960, but the club found it difficult to compete for fans of the Rams in the NFL. The team moved to San Diego in 1961, to the tiny Balboa Stadium.
Hilton was instrumental in the construction of Jack Murphy Stadium, which is known today as Qualcomm Stadium. He also played a significant role in merging the National Football League and the American Football League into today's NFL. He's the last living member of the Foolish Club, a name the AFL owners gave themselves as they tried to compete with the well-established NFL. He sold his stake in the Chargers in 1966 for $10 million.
In the 1970s, it was Barron's wise idea to invest in Nevada casinos, buying what would become the Las Vegas Hilton and the Flamingo hotel and the source of the majority of the family wealth today. The company's expansion into Nevada had an immediate impact on its net income. By 1972, the two resorts contributed 45 percent of the company's income (before interest income, interest expense, write down of investments and sales of properties), nearly matching the income from the other 160 Hilton hotels in the United States.
Hilton continued to aggressively expand the domestic hotel chain through franchising. In 1977, he completed a hotel purchase, the Waldorf-Astoria, that his father had initiated nearly 30 years earlier. Knowing that the lease would expire in 1979, Hilton deftly negotiated to buy the hotel and real estate from the railroad. The landmark property, whose current value is estimated around $1 billion, was purchased by Hilton for just $35 million. As competitors continued to spread across the U.S. in the '80s, Barron held his own by rehabbing his own hotels and increasing revenues in Las Vegas. Through a series of massive additions and renovations to the Flamingo Hilton and the Las Vegas Hilton, the company nearly tripled its rooms in Las Vegas by 1990, from 2,277 to 6,703. In the 1980s, Hilton launched Conrad International and Hilton Garden Inn in the '90s.
Hilton continued as chairman of the board through the next decade. In 2005, he acquired Hilton International, 38 years after his father had sold it to TWA. By this time, Hilton Hotels was the best known and most respected name in the industry. Hilton Hotels Corporation proved to be irresistible to the private equity firm The Blackstone Group. They purchased the company in 2007 which by now consisted of 2,800 hotels with 480,000 rooms in 76 countries and territories. Blackstone paid $47.50 per share, a 32 percent premium over the July 2 closing price. The $26 billion, all-cash transaction included $7.5 billion of debt
Hilton Family Fortune
When Conrad Hilton died in 1979, 97% of his estate was left to his personal charity with the option for Barron to purchase his shares to keep the Hilton family in control of the company. Though the charity opposed it, a court eventually ruled in favor of Barron. A settlement was reached, leaving Barron with 4 million shares of the family enterprise.
Private equity behemoth Blackstone acquired Hilton in 2000 for $20 billion.
Barron Hilton married Marilyn June Hawley in 1947. They remained married until she died in 2004. They had eight children and 15 grandchildren, including son Richard Hilton's famous socialite daughters Paris and Nicky Hilton. Hilton died very suddenly of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on September 19, 2019.
|Net Worth:||$4.5 Billion|
|Date of Birth:||Oct 23, 1927 - Sep 19, 2019 (91 years old)|
|Profession:||Businessperson, Socialite, Investor, Magnate|
|Nationality:||United States of America|