Kirk Kerkorian's long career of bold investments

Kirk Kerkorian's long career of bold investments
Kirk Kerkorian before the opening of the International Hotel in Las Vegas, which was built by his company in 1969. It was the first successful casino not on the Strip. (Las Vegas News Bureau)

Kirk Kerkorian, who died Tuesday at the age of 98, had a classic rags-to-riches life. Here's a look at key steps on his path to becoming one of the richest men in America:

1947: Kirk Kerkorian buys an air charter called Los Angeles Air Service for $60,000. It owns a DC-3, a Beechcraft and a Cessna. The company is later renamed Trans International Airlines.


1962: Sells the airline to Studebaker Corp.

1964: Buys back the airline.

1968: Sells the carrier to Transamerica for stock that eventually nets him $104 million.

1968: Acquires controlling 30% stake in Los Angeles-based Western Airlines.

1969: Forms International Leisure Corp. and sells 17% to the public for $26.5 million. The company acquires the Flamingo hotel-casino in Las Vegas and builds the International, the first successful Las Vegas casino not on the Strip.

1969: Purchases control of Culver City-based Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

1970-71: Sells two Las Vegas hotels to Hilton Hotels.

1973: Reenters casino gambling with construction of MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.

1976: Sells remaining 17% stake in Western Airlines back to the company for $30.6 million.

1978: Accumulates 25.5% stake in Columbia Pictures. After overcoming antitrust objections, attempts a takeover but gives up in 1980 after a bitter battle with management.

1980: Spins off MGM casino operations into separate public company, retaining controlling stakes in both.

1981: Arranges MGM acquisition of United Artists after losing out to Marvin Davis in bid to acquire 20th Century Fox.

1982: Creates MGM/UA Home Entertainment to license MGM films for home video, sells 15% of the stock to the public, then buys it back.

1983: Makes but then withdraws offer to buy all shares of MGM/UA that he doesn't own.


1984: Makes abortive effort to acquire control of Walt Disney Productions.

1985: Spins off United Artists as a separate public company. Buys the 30% of MGM Grand Hotels he doesn't own for $126 million and months later sells its Las Vegas and Reno hotels to Bally Manufacturing for $440 million.

1986: Ted Turner buys MGM for $1.5 billion, but a financial squeeze forces him to sell back MGM's name, logo and production and distribution assets. Turner keeps about 3,000 film titles.

1987: Kerkorian starts luxury airline MGM Grand Air. Agrees to buy the venerable Desert Inn and Sands hotels on the Las Vegas Strip from Summa Corp.

1990: Italian businessman Giancarlo Parretti buys MGM/UA for $1.3 billion. Within a year, lender Credit Lyonnais seizes the studio when Parretti fails to make payments.

1990: Kerkorian buys 9.8% of Chrysler Corp.

1991: Makes a failed bid for Trans World Airlines with TWA unions.

1992: MGM Grand Air shuts down.

November 1994: Kerkorian threatens to sue Chrysler unless it gives shareholders a higher dividend or buys back stock to boost the price. The company does both.

Dec. 1994: Kerkorian increases his stake in Chrysler stock to 10.2%.

April 1995: Chrysler rejects a $22.8-billion offer by Kerkorian and former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca to buy the firm.

1996: Buys MGM for the third time for $1.3 billion, with Australian broadcaster Seven Network.

1998: Buys out Seven Network, gaining a 90% interest in the company. Acquires PolyGram's film library.

May 1998: Daimler-Benz announces takeover of Chrysler; Kerkorian makes $2.7 billion in the transaction.

2000: MGM Grand buys Mirage Resorts for $4.4 billion.

2000: Kerkorian files a $9-billion securities fraud suit against DaimlerChrysler over the German automaker's merger with Chrysler.

2001: Cuts stake in DaimlerChrysler almost a third.

2002: Seeks a new buyer for the MGM studio.

December 2003: Trial begins in Kerkorian suit against DaimlerChrysler.

2004: MGM Mirage announces it will buy Mandalay Resort Group, dramatically increasing Kerkorian's investment on the Las Vegas Strip.

April 2005: Federal court rules in favor of DaimlerChrysler in Kerkorian suit.

April 2005: Sony Corp. and partners complete a $4.9-billion purchase of MGM from Kerkorian.

May 2005: Kerkorian announces that he owns nearly 4% of General Motors and says he intends to double his stake.

June 2005: His company says it increased its GM ownership to 7.2%, missing Kerkorian's investment target.

September 2006: Kerkorian begins appeal in DaimlerChysler case.

2007: Federal court rejects Kerkorian's appeal.

2011: Kerkorian gives $100 million to UCLA for medical research.

June 15, 2015: Kerkorian dies at the age of 98 at his home in Beverly Hills.

Source: Times librarian John Jackson and Scott Wilson