What is Sol Kerzner’s Net Worth?
Solomon Kerzner,(23 August 1935 – 21 March 2020), was a South African businessman, accountant and businessman who had an estimated net worth in excess of approximately $600 million when he died in 2020.
Kerzner was the Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Kerzner International Holdings Limited. He also founded the Sun International and Southern Sun Hotel Groups, the largest hotel groups in South Africa. His long and successful career played a key role in the development the tourism industry of South Africa, Mauritius Maldives, Dubai, South Africa, and the Bahamas.
Sol was named Knight Commander of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George in 2010 for his “outstanding and exemplary contributions in the areas of business and community in Bahamas.” Kerzner was diagnosed with cancer and died in March 2020.
Sol Kerzner’s Background and Early Life
Sol Kerzner was born Solomon Kerzner on August 23, 1935, in Durban, South Africa. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants and owned a kosher chain of hotels. Sol was the third of three siblings. He attended the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg where he received a BCom (Hons.) in Accounting. Later, he became a Chartered Accountant. He also took over the daily operations of the family’s hotel company.
Sol Kerzner’s Business Career
Kerzner purchased the Astra Hotel in Durban, in 1962. He was inspired by its success and built the first five-star hotel South Africa. In late 1964, the Beverly Hills Hotel was opened in Umhlanga. Then, he built a property with 450 rooms called the Elangeni Hotel Durban. Sol formed a partnership with South African Breweries in 1969 to create the Southern Sun Hotels chain. By 1983, there were more than 30 luxury hotels within the chain. He opened Le Saint Geran, a hotel on Mauritius’ island. His greatest achievement was the creation of Sun City in 1979. Kerzner constructed four hotels, two golf courses, a lake man-made, and an arena which hosted performances by Queen, Shirley Bassey and Liza Minnelli over the next ten years. It was featured on the 1985 Artists United Against Apartheid album, “Sun City.” Nelson Mandela asked Sol in 1994 to organize a VIP party at his Presidential Inauguration. Around 1,000 people attended. Kerzner opened the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut in 1996. Four years later, he built a 1,200-room hotel with the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut. It is home to one of the largest entertainment and gambling venues in the country.
Sol bought the Paradise Island Resort, a bankrupt resort in the Bahamas, in 1994. It was rebuilt and expanded to include 2,300 rooms as well as one of the largest man-made marine habitats. Kerzner founded One&Only Resorts in 2002. They later operated eight properties in Mexico and the Bahamas, South Africa. He added two additional hotels to Atlantis in 2007, Paradise Island, The Reef, and The Cove. The property now has more than 1,000 rooms and numerous restaurants and retail outlets. He opened Atlantis The Palm in Dubai in 2008 and announced in 2013 that an Atlantis hotel would be built in China on Hainan Island. This project is estimated to have cost over $1.6 billion. Leslie Young, Bophutatswana’s Minister of Finance, reached a deal where Sun International’s investments in apartheid abroad, Kerzner, would be exempt from tax. Because of tax breaks, the company received almost no South African tax money. Kerzner and Young agreed in 1987 that 90% of the taxes on entertainers performing in Bophutatswana would be paid to Sun International. Those who earn more than R26,000 would have to pay 50% to Bophutatswana.
Sol Kerzner’s Personal life
Sol was married four times. His first marriage to Maureen Adler was his first. Kerzner and Adler had 3 children together: Beverly, Butch, & Beverly. Butch was tragically killed in a helicopter accident in 2006. After Sol and Maureen split, Butch married Shirley Bestbier and they had a son and a daughter, Chantal. Shirley committed suicide shortly after Chantal’s birth. After five years of marriage, Kerzner divorced Anneline Kriel, his third wife. Sol was engaged to Christina Estrada in the 1990s. However, they divorced before they could make it to the altar. From 2000 to 2011, Kerzner married Heather Murphy, his fourth wife. Sol was a contact for Jeffery Epstein, a sex offender. Kerzner was described in an “IOL News” 2012 article as a “hard-drinking and much-married, chain-smoking mogul from a blue-collar background.” He stated that “Midas-like” everything he touched became gold.
Kerzner, 84, died from cancer on March 21, 2020. Sol died surrounded by his family at the Kerzner family house in Cape Town. A family spokesperson stated that Sol would be buried in a private, small funeral with just immediate family members.
Sol Kerzner’s Awards and Achievements
Kerzner was awarded the Hospitality Innovator Award by Cornell University’s Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute of Hospitality Entrepreneurship in 2010. In 2005, “Hotels” magazine voted him the Hotelier of The World. In 2009, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) awarded him the Albert E. Koehl Lifetime Achievement Award. Sol was awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Variety Club Property Awards (IHIF) and the International Hotel Investment Forum. He was also inducted into the U.S. Gaming Hall of Fame.
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