This is The Amazing Story Behind The Rise, Downfall, & Eventual Comeback of Iceland’s Only Billionaire
It’s no secret that the extremely wealthy lead very interesting lives. From the way they built their large fortune to the way they continue to grow and maintain it, billionaires are a bunch with fantastic life stories to tell. Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, considered to be Iceland’s only billionaire, is one with the some of the most riveting ones to share.
It Runs in the Family
The Icelandic entrepreneur was born into a family with long ties to the European country’s business and political scenes. Thus, it isn’t surprising that his life would also be intertwined with these. In fact, it was actually his own great-grandfather, Thor Jensen, who is credited for bringing capitalism to the nation back in the 20th century.
However, Björgólfsson’s father notably grew up among the working class and was arrested after multiple charges of embezzlement and fraud. It is said to be this setback that motivated a then young Björgólfsson to make his own place in history and redeem his father’s name.
He eventually attended the University of California San Diego as well as New York University before setting out to build a soft drink company when he moved to Russia. Despite starting his business in a difficult time for the country, he found success and later on sold his company for $100 million to the Dutch brewing giant Heineken.
Building a House of Cards
Upon his return to Iceland, the businessman and his father bought a 46% stake in Landsbanki, then one of the largest commercial banking institutions in the country. They reportedly used money from the sale of Björgólfsson’s company and from funds borrowed from a rival bank.
Next, he went on to raise a $6.5 billion leveraged buyout for Actavis, a global pharmaceutical company. While banks were willing to finance him at first, his fortune was reversed when the credit bubble burst and the global financial crisis happened. By 2008, the country was in trouble and the government has seized one of Iceland’s top banks. Eventually, they also seized Landsbanki.
In the end, the businessman’s companies were left with around $10 billion in debt with a billion of that being guaranteed by him. His net worth was decimated to be in the negative. What more, he reportedly became ‘one of the most hated men in Iceland’ and was blamed by some for the country’s financial downfall.
Regaining Billionaire Status
But it looks like Björgólfsson’s decision to acquire Actavis was a wise one after all. About four years ago, he managed to bounce back and regain his billionaire status thanks to his drug company being purchased by Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for a whopping for almost $6 billion. He was able to retain 4.3 million shares of the company and pay off debts he’s guaranteed to debtors. Now debtless, he has an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion.
More in Rich & Famous
Pandemic Scams Are At An All-Time High – Learn How to Stay Safe
If you thought the pandemic would make the scammers take a break from their shenanigans, you were wrong. Instead, fraudulent activity...July 27, 2021
Average Retirement Savings Across States: Highest to Lowest
The place where you live undoubtedly has a significant impact on how much money you can save for your retirement. While...July 22, 2021
Money Doesn’t Make You Rich, Your Core Values Do
You must have heard this old yet classic expression – money can’t buy everything. But even after knowing about it, a...July 20, 2021
Want to Live Like Rihanna For a Day? Her Coldwater Canyon Mansion Is Yours For The Taking
Bad Gal Riri is easily everyone’s favorite, hands down. Ever since the American record producer Evan Rogers discovered her, we just...July 16, 2021
4 Tips & Tricks to Make The Most Out of Tax Deductions
We know it, we understand it, but we don’t want to accept it. That one-liner perfectly defines the condition of every...July 15, 2021
Golden Rules of Financial Planning For Beginners
A dime saved is a cent gained. A penny saved is a penny earned. Bet you’ve all heard those lines a...July 10, 2021
Here’s Some TikTok Financial Advice You Should Take With a Grain Of Salt, Advises CFP
Who knew that a social media app catering to the whims of millennials, Gen Z-ers, and sometimes boomers would transform into...July 6, 2021
Saving Money Made Easy With Five Simple Tips
A wise man once said, it’s not your salary that makes you rich; it’s your spending habits. TBH, we couldn’t agree...July 4, 2021
Tips To Maximize Returns On Your Mutual Fund Investments
When it comes to investments, most of us prefer sticking to the traditional options – stocks, shares, gold, and property. But...June 29, 2021