Timeline: Kirk Kerkorian’s long career of bold investments
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
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