Ronald Burkle is a billionaire businessman and the founder of the Yucaipa Companies. He dropped out of college to work with his father as a box boy. Ron Burkle later launched his private equity firm, which grew to make him a massive net worth of $3 billion.
Yucaipa Companies works with American companies in various industries, such as logistics. It also invests in retail, hospitality, consumer, and companies in the entertainment industry. Through Yucaipa, Burkle has invested in food, sports, and light industrial equipment.
Yucaipa has facilitated mergers and acquisitions involving grocery chains and supermarket stores. Such chains include Fred Meyer, Ralphs, and Jurgensen. The American businessman once held shares in 35 firms.
Ronald Burkle Biography
Ronald Burkle was born on November 12, 1959. Born in Pomona, California, Ronald was the first of two sons of Betty Burkle and Joseph Burkle. His father worked as a manager at Stater Bros. Markets grocery store in Pomona.
Burkle joined the UFCW-770, California’s local union when he was 13 years old. At 16, he graduated from high school and enrolled at California State Polytechnic University. He studied dentistry for less than two years and dropped out. He returned to his father’s grocery shop to stock bread and corralled shopping carts.
In his early twenties, Ron Burkle made a 3,000 dollars investment in two metals companies, one of which was American Silver. He made a $30,000 profit, which he used to flip abandoned or underserved grocery stores in Pomona. Thanks to his commitment and hard work, Burkle managed Stater Bros. Markets. By his late twenties, he was already the Vice President of Stater Bros.’s parent company, Petrolane, Inc.
When Petrolane decided to sell Stater Bros., Burkle offered to buy it at 20% lower than the company’s internal valuation. He was secretly working with Charles Munger, vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway Vice-Chairman Charles Munger was to invest half of the equity.
Petrolane did not just reject the offer; they fired Burkle. Ron Burkle’s investment portfolio was worth $5 million then. In the next five years, he invested in stocks and managed his family’s rental properties.
At 21, Ronald Burkle married Janet Steeper, a clerk at Stater Bros. Steeper was also a great-grandniece of the Wright Brothers, the American aviation pioneers. Married until 2006, Ron and Janet had three children: Andrew Burkle, Carrie Anne Burkle, and John Burkle.
Andrew Burkle was a film producer who was found unresponsive at his home in Beverly Hills in January 2020.
In 2013, Ronald Burkle bought one of Jesse Owens’ Olympic gold medals for $1.46 million. He also owned a piece of architectural history, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Ennis House. He sold the house in 2019 for $18 million. Ron owns William Faulkner’s 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature.
In 2018, Ron Burkle was named U.S. honorary consul of Serbia after the Serbian government opened a consulate in Montana. He became a Serbian citizen in November 2019.
Ron Burkle’s Home
Ronald Burkle owns several private homes across the United States, especially in California. He bought his Yucaipa home in the 1980s for $750,000. He later renamed his private investment firm to Yucaipa Companies.
Ron Burkle’s primary home is in La Jolla, California. The cliff-top oceanfront estate has nine bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. The 50,000-square-foot home above Black’s Beach cost him $16 million in 1999, the most expensive home sale in San Diego’s history.
Ron also owns a home in Beverly Hills. The Greenacres estate dates back to the 1920s. The estate is also often called Harold Lloyd Estate after the star who built the estate. The Harold Lloyd Estate cost approximately $2 million to construct in the 1920s, an equivalent of $30 million today. Ron paid $20 million for it, $20 million less than its value and asking price.
In 1997, Ronald Burkle helped Los Angeles build the Walt Disney concert by giving a $15 million donation. The following year, he launched his organization, The Ronald W. Burkle Foundation. The foundation seeks to provide a positive influence around the world. It helps organizations and causes that support underserved communities. It also funds organizations seeking to strengthen international understanding and foster workers’ rights.
The Ronald W. Burkle Foundation also supports causes that engage children in learning. Through the foundation, Burkle supports causes that nurture arts and advance scientific research.
Ronald Burkle has given grants to organizations such as the American Cancer Society and Aids Los Angeles. He has also donated to Heal the Bay, Teach for America, and National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Ron Burkle is the co-chairman of the UCLA Ronald W. Burkle Center and has been a trustee of many organizations. He was a member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art board of directors. He has also served on the board of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the Los Angeles Music Center, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. He was a board member of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
Ronald Burkle has helped raise funds for Share Our Strength and The Rape Foundation.
Origin of Yucaipa Companies
Ron Burkle started as a box boy at his father’s Stater Bros. stores. He proceeded to launch his investment firm, Yucaipa Companies. The American billionaire businessman has built an impressive net worth of $3 billion.
He started building his multibillion empire in 1986 when he launched the Yucaipa Companies. The firm invests in United States companies involved in the grocery and hospitality business. Burkle has invested in sports, entertainment, and consumer goods. He also invests in logistics, food, light industrial, manufacturing, retail, and distribution. During the 1992 L.A. Riots, Ron refused to close his city outlets.
Board Membership and Holdings
Ronald has served on the board of many companies as a controlling shareholder. Such companies include Fred Meyer and Alliance Entertainment. He has also been a board member of Ralphs, Food4Less, Golden State Foods, and Dominick’s.
Throughout his career, Burkle has worked with labor unions to solve problems. He joined his first work union at the age of 13, the UFCW 770.
Saving the Pittsburgh Penguins
In 1999, he intervened to save the Pittsburgh Penguins from going bankrupt. According to The Wall Street Journal, Burkle paid $22 million for the ice hockey team. Under his leadership, the Pittsburgh Penguins did not just revive financially but also on the rink. The team won the Stanley Cup in 2009, 2016 and 2017. This made the Pittsburgh Penguins the only team tied to private equity to win a championship in North America.
Burkle also played a significant role in negotiating the construction of PPG Paints Arena. It is a 19,758-seat multi-purpose indoor arena in Pittsburgh and the home of the Penguins. Ron’s close relationship with unions helped Commissioner Gary Bettman end the 2012–13 NHL lockout.
Venture Capital Involvements
In 2010, Ron co-founded A-Grade Investments, a venture capital fund. The firm invests in startup technology companies. In 2012, he invested in Artist Group International, a concert booking firm that serves big-shot clients such as Billy Joel and Rod Stewart.
Burkle also invested in technology startups using Inevitable Venture, another venture capital fund.
Take a Look at 5 Things to Know about Billionaire Ron Burkle in 1 Minute:
In 2013, Ron expanded his Hollywood-related ventures by investing in Three Lions Entertainment. Three Lions is a branded company that focuses on branded entertainment events. In 2018, he bought a minority stake in Primavera Sounds, a Spanish annual music festival. In 2020, he invested in another music festival, Danny Wimmer Presents.
Ron Burkle’s current net worth is $3 billion.
Awards and Achievements
Though he has no college degree, Ronald has received many honors and awards for his career and philanthropic achievements. He has received awards such as the Project Los Angeles Commitment To Life Award.
In 1997, the Boy Scouts of America honored Burkle with the Los Angeles Area Council’s Jimmy Stewart Good Turn Award. The award recognized Ron Burkle’s service to the community and his support to the Boy Scouts.
Burkle has been awarded the AFL-CIO Murray Green Meany Kirkland Community Service Award. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor also named him the Man of the Year.
Business Lessons from Ron Burkle
A supermarket is a big logistics company. And one of the ways we have increased profitability in the past is by re-evaluating how they do logistics.
Never Give Up On Your Dreams
Ronald Wayne Burkle does not hold a college degree. He dropped out and started as a box boy in Stater Bros. stores. He has done well in supermarkets.
Bad Things Will Happen
Burkle says that bad things are a part of the journey to success. Accept that as you journey towards your success, you will meet successes and failures.
Does Ron Burkle Own Soho House?
According to the Financial Times, Ron Burkle acquired a 60% stake in the Soho House Group. The acquisition that cost Burkle £250 million left the founder, Nick Jones, with 10% shares and Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings with 30%.
Does Soho House Make Money?
Soho House is a global chain of private clubs that pulls together global celebrities and people of affluence. It is a business that should make money. It has, however, never made any profits in 28 years, except for the last quarter of 2022. The leaders are implementing new ways of making the upmarket club profitable.
Does Ron Burkle Still Own Neverland Ranch?
Neverland Ranch was the home to former pop star Michael Jackson. After long discussions, the family agreed to sell to Ron Burkle for $22 million in a deal that closed in late 2020. Michael and Ron were acquaintances.
Ronald Burkle is an American businessman who has proved you can win without the papers. Though he dropped out of college to work as a box boy at his father’s store, he has grown to become one of the richest people in the world. His private equity firm, Yucaipa Companies, has helped build his massive net worth of $3 billion.