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Business & Еconomy

Leonid Blavatnik was born in Odessa, but studied in Moscow, at the Moscow school of physics and mathematics No. 315/ After school, he tried entering the school of mechanics and mathematics of the Moscow State University but failed, later enrolling into the Moscow engineering insitute, the school of Automation and Computing, with the Automatic control system as his speciality.
 
His co-student was Victor Vekselberg, the future Russian magnate and billionaire. 
 
Leonard never finished the studies - after his fourth year, in 1978, his family emigrated to America. In his new homeland, Len adapted quickly and soon was studying again, receiving the MA from the Columbia University and the MBA from Harvard School of Business.  The latter degree was the most useful for him: he would hold high positions at Arthur Andersen & Co., Macy’s Department Stores, General Atlantic Partners, ТНК, Deeside Aluminum, EnergiBolaget i Sverige AB etc., and in 1986 founded his own investment company, Access Industries.
 
Interestingly, Access Industries, which mostly dealt with investing into industrial production companies, at one moment bough the British offshot of Mel Gibson's film rental corporation - Icon - and its 500 films, among them such hits as "Miss Daisy's Drive", "Dancing With the Wolves", "The Stiletto", as well as the infamous "Passions of the Christ". And later the company also bought the music recording company Warner Music Group for some $3.3 billion!
 
During the 90s, Blavatnik's company was actively buying or merging with largest industrial companies of his former homeland, but his present fortune he made thanks to buying 50% of the THK stock; the second half of the stock was bought by his old friend and colleague Vekselberg. In 2003 the partners sold their purchase to the British BP, profiting $2 billion each.
 
In 2007 Forbes included him as number 45 into its rating of the richest Americans, with the net worth of $7.2 billion, and in 2014 the British "Sunday Times" estimated Blavatnik's worth as 13.17 billion pounds sterling or close to $20 billion.
 
Even more, he was named the richest British , despite the fact that at the time Blavatnik did not have a British passport, although he would visit the islands quite often and later moved there.
 
Blavatnik takes an active part in America's political life, making sizable contributions to the Republicans from New York (Access Industries' head office is located in the state of New York).
 
At the same time, he keeps in touch with the Russian political elite – in particular, he sponsored Sergei Stepashin's visit to Washington, organizing a dinner with the participation of many prominent Washington officials.
 
Blavatnik is also current president of the Russian Jewish Congress
 
As for his personal life, Blavatnik is married to American Emily Appelson, who has brought him four children, and is an acting board member of the Russian-Jewish Congress.
 
Sources:
Mark Hollingsworth, Stewart Lansley. London grad. From Russia with cash : the inside story of the oligarchs. Fourth Estate, 2009. Page 133
 

 


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