Sold: Billionaire pays $63M at auction for Hearst estate
Nicolas Berggruen was among 6 bidders vying for storied Beverly Hills property, whose most recent owner had been in serious financial arrears
Another big winner has emerged in California this week in addition to Gov. Gavin Newsom: Billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen closed on Beverly Hills’ Hearst estate with a $63.1 million winning bid for the property at auction.
Berggruen beat out five other interested buyers for the 29,000-square-foot mansion in a 45-minute auction at a Downtown Los Angeles federal courthouse, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Hearst Estate at 1011 N. Beverly Drive is home to a Gordon Kaufman-designed mansion built in 1926 for publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst. The home is best known as a honeymoon destination for John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, and was the setting for the iconic horse-head scene in “The Godfather.”
The estate’s indebted owner Leonard Ross has had the sprawling property on and off the market since 2007. He was asking as much as $195 million at one time, and still had a $125 million price tag as of earlier this year.
The auction was more competitive than some had expected. Bidding started at $48 million, or $1 million more than what Berggruen offered in August.
Ross accepted that bid, triggering a bankruptcy auction for the property. Ross bought the estate in 1976 and owes around $80 million on the property, including $49 million to Fortress Investment Group.
Berggruen’s think tank, The Berggruen Institute, is building a headquarters on 450 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains. The French-born 60-year-old moved to L.A. permanently last year.
[LAT] — Dennis Lynch