Al Gore Almost As Rich As Mitt Romney
Apparently, being a former Vice-President and losing Presidential candidate can be very lucrative:
In 1999, Al Gore, then U.S. vice president and a Democratic candidate for president, sold $6,000 worth of cows.
The former senator, who spent most of his working life in Congress, had a net worth of about $1.7 million and assets that included pasture rents from a family farm and royalties from a zinc mine, remnants of his rural roots in Carthage, Tennessee. Funds from the cattle sale went to three of his kids, according to federal disclosure forms filed as part of his presidential run.
Fourteen years later, he made an estimated $100 million in a single month. In January, the Current TV network, which he helped to start in 2004, was sold to Qatari-owned Al Jazeera Satellite Network for about $500 million. After debt, he grossed an estimated $70 million for his 20 percent stake, according to people familiar with the transaction.
Two weeks later, Gore exercised options, at $7.48 a share, on 59,000 shares of Apple Inc. stock that he’d been granted for serving on the Cupertino, California-based company’s board since 2003. On paper, it was about a $30 million payday based on the company’s share price on the day he claimed the options.
That’s a pretty good January for a guy who couldn’t yet call himself a multimillionaire when he briefly slipped from public life after his bitterly contested presidential election loss to George W. Bush in late 2000, based on 1999 and 2000 disclosure forms.
Gore isn’t finished exercising his Apple stock grants. Those 59,000 are part of 101,358 Apple options and shares of restricted stock Gore has amassed, according to company filings, giving his total holdings a gross value of more than $45.6 million today.
Whatever you think of Gore, one thing is indisputable: leveraging his aura as a technology seer and his political and climate work connections, Gore has remade himself into a wealthy businessman, amassing a fortune that may exceed $200 million.
That’s close to the $250 million net worth of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whom President Barack Obama and Democrats targeted in ads and speeches as being out of touch with most Americans.
Gore declined to be interviewed for this story. Estimates of his wealth are based on company filings, government records, public pronouncements he or his associates have made about past business dealings and interviews with people in a position to know of and evaluate Gore’s holdings.
How Gore achieved this is as much about timing and luck as it is about business skills. His Apple board tenure has coincided with a 5,900 percent increase in its stock price. Current TV was a moribund “fixer-upper” when Al Jazeera stepped in to buy it at “a huge valuation,” said Derek Baine, an SNL Kagan cable analyst in Monterey, California.
Probably better than he would have done had he actually won in 2000.