In one fell swoop, Jeff Bezos has signaled with an expensive purchase that his Hollywood ambitions go beyond turning Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) into an entertainment giant.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the Amazon Chairman has acquired real estate worth $165 million in the Los Angeles area.
The property, which lies in the coveted 90210 zip code, previously belonged to movie mogul David Geffen, who founded DreamWorks SKG film studio with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Before Geffen, the property was owned by the co-founder of Warner Bros. (now owned by AT&T) studio. It was designed in the 1930s and boasts of such amenities as a 9-hole golf course, guest houses and tennis court.
Geffen acquired the property in 1990 for $47.5 million. Without adjusting for inflation, Geffen has earned a profit of $117.5 million assuming he made no improvements to the property.
The amount Bezos spent is tiny relative the proceeds of his recent sale of Amazon shares. In a sale that concluded earlier this month, Bezos netted around $4 billion.
Even after the sale and a divorce last year that cost him a significant chunk of wealth, he’s still the world’s richest person. The gap is widening with the second richest person, Bill Gates, trailing him by over $10 billion.
Less than two months into 2020, Bezos’ net worth has gone up by $17 billion.
The move comes at a time when the Amazon Chairman and CEO is becoming a regular feature in Hollywood circles. Three years ago, Amazon Prime Video became the first streaming service to win after it bagged three Oscars. This year Amazon’s French film “Les Miserables” was nominated in the Best International Feature category.
His appearances at Hollywood events have not escaped attention. At this year’s Oscars, he heavily featured in a monologue.
Watch the video below to see Jeff Bezos getting roasted by comedians Chris Rock and Steve Martin.
Bezos’ Hollywood links have gotten even more personal over the years. His girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, is a filmmaker. Sanchez has worked with Hollywood directors that include The Twilight Saga’s Catherine Hardwicke. She also consulted on the Dunkirk film.
Sanchez filed for divorce from Hollywood talent agent Patrick Whitesell last year in April.
Amazon Studios has been pivoting towards blockbuster productions. After paying $250 million to acquire TV rights for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series, Amazon Studios will spend about $1 billion to make the series. This will make it the most expensive series ever.
In 2019 it was estimated that Amazon Prime Video spent about $6 billion on original programming. While it was much lower than Netflix’s, it’s still higher than the budget allocated by other competing streaming services.