Paul Allen was the co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest people in the world. The American investor, businessman and professional sports team owner passed away October 15, 2018, after battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. You can read more about his cause of death here.
At the time of his death, Allen was ranked by Forbes as the 21st richest person on its real-time list of the world’s billionaires. His estimated net worth was valued at $20.3 billion.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Paul Allen Became a Multi-Millionaire in the 1980s When Microsoft Went Public
Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. The two had been childhood friends and both dropped out of college to launch the company. Allen was in charge of the technical side of things, but left in 1983. Yahoo Finance reported Allen decided to leave after having a falling out with Gates.
But Allen maintained partial ownership of Microsoft. He owned approximately 28 percent of the company in 1986, the year Microsoft became a publicly-traded company. The stock closed at $27.75 a share on its very first day of trading.
According to the Seattle Times in 2014, Paul Allen had accumulated more than $20 billion from his shares in Microsoft since 1986. By 2014, he had sold the majority of his shares. But the 2 percent he held onto, or 100 million shares, reportedly earned him $800 million in dividends between 2004 and 2014. The Seattle Times cited the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Paul Allen’s project management firm, Vulcan Capital, managed his investments. He founded the firm in 2003. According to its website, the firm invests in real estate, technology, conservation initiatives, cultural projects and philanthropic efforts. Its real estate holdings alone are reportedly worth $1.5 billion.
2. Allen Bought the Seattle Seahawks Football Team for $194 Million in 1997
Paul Allen purchased the Seattle Seahawks football team in 1997. He paid $194 million for the team, according to Forbes.
As of September 2018, the team was valued at $2.58 billion. That makes it the 16th most valuable team in the National Football League. The Seahawks revenue was estimated to be $413 million, with an operating income of $71 million.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement following the news of Allen’s death. He credited Allen for keeping the team in the Pacific Northwest, and mentioned that the team won a Super Bowl title during Allen’s run as team owner. “His passion for the game, combined with his quiet determination, led to a model organization on and off the field. He worked tirelessly alongside our medical advisers to identify new ways to make the game safer and protect our players from unnecessary risk. I personally valued Paul’s advice on subjects ranging from collective bargaining to bringing technology to our game. Our league is better for Paul Allen having been a part of it.”
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the passing of @PaulGAllen. I’ll miss him greatly. His gracious leadership and tremendous inspiration will never be forgotten. The world is a better place because of Paul’s passion, commitment, and selflessness. His legacy will live on forever.”
3. Allen Was Also an NBA Fan & Owned the Portland Trail Blazers
The first professional sports team Paul Allen decided to buy was the Portland Trail Blazers. He purchased the team in 1988 for $70 million. Forbes’ annual valuation, calculated in February 2018, put the franchise’s current value at $1.3 billion.
The team brought in an estimated $223 million in revenue. The operating income was listed as $25 million. Player expenses were valued at $128 million.
The team and several players tweeted about Allen’s death. Meyers Leonard wrote, “Mr. Allen, thank you. A brilliant mind, a giving heart and an unforgettable legacy. Thoughts and prayers to your friends and family. May you Rest In Peace. It was an honor knowing you.”
Jusuf Nurkić wrote, “Terrible news. Prayers to Mr. Allen’s Family..”
Evan Turner shared a photo of him and Allen on Instagram. The caption reads, “Rest In Peace to this Beautiful mind. You’ll be forever remembered and missed. God bless you, Paul.”
4. Paul Allen Owned a Large Number of Homes, Including Mansions in Washington State & California, a New York City Penthouse, Properties in Europe & a Massive Yacht
Paul Allen invested heavily in real estate. His main home was on Mercer Island in Washington State. The house has more than 10,000 square feet and includes a helicopter pad and a concert hall, reports Curbed Seattle.
According to a Business Insider profile on Allen’s properties in 2016, he owned 11 mansions on Mercer Island. One of the homes was for his mother, Faye Allen, who passed away in 2012 at age 90. The other mansion are reportedly guest houses. At least one of them contains a basketball court and swimming pool.
Allen owned at least four large properties in California, including a nearly 13,000-square-foot home in Beverly Hills. He sold a property in Malibu to former CBS chairman Les Moonves for $28 million, which was $3 million more than Allen had paid for it. Business Insider also reports that Allen bought a mansion in Silicon Valley for $27 million in 2013. The house in Atherton was about 22,000 square feet.
Allen’s additional properties included a penthouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a villa in France and a house in Holland Park in London.
Paul Allen also owned one of the largest yachts in the world, called the Octopus. The yacht is 414-feet-long and cost $200 million to build. According to Forbes, the yacht includes a recording studio, jet-ski dock, basketball court, two helipads and two submarines. It can hold a crew of 60 people.
5. Paul Allen Joined Bill Gates & Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge & Had Donated More Than $2 Billion to Charity
Paul Allen donated more than $2 billion to charities over the years. He was one of the original signers of the Giving Pledge, which was started in 2010 by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Participants agree to donate more than half of their wealth to various charities, either over the course of their lifetimes or in their wills. Other signers include Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Ted Turner and Mark Zuckerberg.
Forbes reports that Allen donated an estimated $500 million to his Allen Institute for Brain Science, which he founded in 2003. The non-profit research organization is dedicated to learning more about how the brain works.
Allen’s firm also ran Paul G. Allen Philanthropies. It included the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. In his bio on the website, Allen’s philanthropic priorities were listed as, “working to save endangered species, slow climate change, improve ocean health, share art, history and film, develop new technology, tackle epidemics, research how the human brain works and build sustainable communities.”
A few short weeks before his death, Allen donated $30 million to the Mount Baker Family Housing development. The project is dedicated to building housing for homeless and low-income families in Seattle.