You can’t draft a list of the top 5 telecom/media business moguls in the US without including John Malone aka The Cable Cowboy. John Malone is the man who for over two decades served as the CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), a cable network that served many Americans back in the day. He quickly became one of the most influential men in media, spearheading historic mergers, branching out into other fields and buying up properties as he went. Today he owns Liberty Me dia, Liberty Global, Qurate Retail Group among other businesses. Here is what you should know about him.
Who is John Malone of Liberty Media?
The name John Malone would not immediately ring a bell to most but he is a man whose service you’ve surely used and whose cable TV channel you’ve surely watched. The Discovery Channel, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sirius XM Radio, to name a few, are some of his services.
How Malone got to where he is today is as a result of sheer brilliance and of course hard work. John Malone was born on March 7, 1941, in Milford, Connecticut to Irish parents. His father Danel L. Malone worked at General Electric as an engineer. His mother whom Malone remembers as a somewhat reserved woman was a swimmer who later took up a job as a teacher.
As a boy, Malone attended Hopkins School, a private college preparatory school. At the school located in New Haven, Connecticut, Malone became a three-lettered athlete playing soccer, running the track and also fencing. Following his graduation in 1959, Malone attended another of Connecticut’s famous schools Yale University. There he followed in his father’s footsteps studying electrical engineering and economics.
Four years later in 1963, Malone graduated with a bachelor’s degree and was a National Merit scholar. Though Malone began his career later the same year, he’d later return to school to earn more degrees. In 1964 he earned a Masters degree in industrial management from John Hopkins University. The following year, he bagged another master’s degree, this time in electrical engineering from a New York University program at Bell Telephone Laboratories where he had begun his career in 1963.
A couple of years later in 1967, John Malone earned a Ph.D. in operations research from Johns Hopkins.
Bell Telephone Laboratories, named after the famous telephone inventor Grham Bell gave Malone his start. He worked in economic planning and research and development.
Five years later and with two Master’s degree and a doctorate in hand, Malone in 1968 was employed at one of New York’s biggest consulting firms McKinsey & Co. During the next couple of years, Malone consulted for big firms like General Electric and IBM.
Malone joined minicomputer producer General Instruments in 1970 and in no time came to the helm of one of her subsidiaries called Jerrold Electronics. At Jerrold, Malone would meet a certain Bob J. Magness, the founder of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI). In 1993 when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, Magness employed the services of John Malone who as CEO was able to salvage the company from a debt of over $130 million as well as help grow its subscribers from 400,000 to over 8 million.
After a would-be historic merger between TCI and Bell Atlantic fell through in 1993, Malone would spearhead the sale of TCI to AT&T for a whopping $48 million. John Malone would then become the Chairman of Liberty Media a separate publicly traded subsidiary of TCI.
Malone has successfully grown the company into a media behemoth and now owns the majority shares of the company. He also owns majority shares in Liberty Global, an international telecom and TV company formed in 2005 as a merger between the international arm of Liberty Media and United Global Com. Malone also owns the majority of the voting shares in Qurate Retail Group (formerly Liberty Interactive) a media conglomerate.
John Malone is a billionaire with a net worth that hovers around $8 billion as of 2018. The bulk of his wealth is tied to cash from the proceeds of his stakes in his various businesses as well as real estate. His Liberty Media in June 2017 reported $18 billion in annual revenue.
He owns properties in Ireland worth at least $150 million. Malone owns hotels and family housing in the US worth over half a billion. His interests stretch to include sports. Liberty Media in 2008, acquired the MLB team Atlanta Braves which is now separately traded as Braves Group. In January 2017, he paid $4.6 billion to assume ownership of Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Group.
John Malone is married to Leslie Ann Malone (nee Evans) whom he met through his sister when she was just 15 years of age. They got married in 1963 and have stayed together since then. Leslie right after her high school graduation worked as a secretary at Milford Police Department. She is a horse aficionado and is skilled in dressage. Leslie is the founder of Harmony Sporthorses in Kiowa, Colorado.
Malone and his wife share two kids together, a son named Evan and a daughter named Tracey. Evan followed in the footsteps of his father to become an engineering consultant. Like his father, he has a Ph.D. and has served as director in a number of Liberty Media subsidiaries. He is the owner of 1525 South Street LLC, a real estate property and management company. Evan helped to co-found wine bar, Jet Wine Bar, LLC and restaurant, Rex 1516 both in Philadelphia.
1. Despite being one of the most influential men in media, John Malone, ironically keeps no TV in his office.
2. Malone is America’s biggest individual landowner surpassing Ted Turner. He owns over 2 million acres of land across at least 9 states of America.
3. Malone’s media portfolio includes the Food Network channel, HGTV, the Travel Channel, and Scripps Network Interactive. He purchased the latter in July 2017 for over $14 billion.
4. He owns about 10% stake in British TV channel ITV.
5. John Malone has donated 8 figures to the all of the schools he has attended for the purpose of funding various projects. The highest donation as of date is $60 million gifted to Hopkins School to fund a couple of new buildings.
6. Malone donated $250,000 to Donald Trump‘s inauguration in 2017.