Meet Rob Walton, the Walmart heir worth $58 billion who just bought the Denver Broncos in a record-breaking deal

Rob Walton smiles while standing onstage in front of Walmart logo at shareholder meeting
Rob Walton, retired chairman of the board of directors of Walmart, attends a company shareholder meeting.Danny Johnston/AP
  • Rob Walton, the oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, will buy the NFL's Denver Broncos.

  • His ownership group will pay $4.65 billion, breaking a record for pro-team sales in North America.

  • Walton served as the chairman of Walmart's board until 2015 and is worth $58 billion.

Walmart billionaire Rob Walton will add a new title to his resume: owner of the Denver Broncos.

Walton, along with an ownership group that includes his daughter and son-in-law, will buy Denver's NFL team for $4.65 billion, the team confirmed Tuesday. The sale breaks a record for the most-expensive professional sports team sale in North America, far eclipsing the sale price of any other NFL team.

With a net worth of nearly $58 billion, Walton is among the 25 richest people in the US and one of the heirs to the Walmart empire. Here's what we know about Walton as he prepares to join the elite club of NFL owners — of which he'd be the wealthiest member by far.

Rob Walton — whose full name is Samuel Robson Walton — is the oldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, who opened the original Walmart store in 1962.

Sam Walton gestures and looks off camera while wearing Walmart nametag
Sam Walton in 1984.Danny Johnston/AP

Source: Insider

Sam Walton made specific plans for the future of the company before he died in 1992. He created a family partnership for his share of Walmart stock, which minimized the estate taxes on his will's beneficiaries. As a result, Rob and his three siblings were each granted 20%, while Sam and his wife, Helen, each held 10%.

Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Robson Walton stand on stage during Walmart event
From left: Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton.April L. Brown/AP

Source: Insider

John, the second-oldest Walton sibling, died in a plane crash in 2005 and left his wealth to charity and to his wife, Christy, and son, Lukas. The other three Walton siblings — Rob, Jim, and Alice — have become some of the wealthiest people in the US. Today, Rob Walton is worth $58 billion, according to Forbes.

Jim, Alice, and Rob Walton cheer during Walmart shareholder meeting
From left: Jim Walton, Alice Walton, and Rob Walton.Rick Wilking/Reuters

Source: Insider, Forbes

Rob Walton played football in high school — he was all-state his senior year — and spent two years at the College of Wooster in Ohio before transferring to University of Arkansas, where he majored in accounting. He graduated in 1966 then moved to New York City to attend Columbia Law School.

Jim Walton, John Walton, Rob Walton, and Helen Walton clapping at a banquet
Jim Walton, John T. Walton, Rob Walton, and Helen Walton in 1997.Spencer Tirey/AP

Source: Fortune

After getting his degree, Walton practiced law at a firm in Tulsa. One of the firm's clients was his dad's company, and Walton helped out when Walmart went public in 1970. But by 1978, Walton was ready to rejoin the family business, so he moved back to Arkansas.

Rob Walton gestures onstage in front of blue Walmart logo
Walton in 2008.Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Source: Fortune

Walton joined Walmart as a senior vice president and became a member of Walmart's board. He focused on real estate and expansion, pushing his dad to grow internationally. "Rob has no interest in discussions about whether the Clorox should be on the third shelf. But with real estate and legal and those sorts of areas, his knowledge base and his ability to drill down is remarkable. He also has a photographic memory," former Walmart CEO Lee Scott told Fortune in 2004.

Rob Walton holds notepad standing in front of Walmart logo onstage
Walton in 2015.Danny Johnston/AP

Source: Fortune

In 1992, a day after his dad's death, Walton was named chairman of Walmart's board, a position he held until 2015.

Rob Walton Walmart
Rick T. Wilking / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The New York Times

Walton has been married three times and has three children. His daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, is a board member at the Walton Family Foundation, where she focuses on childhood education — her husband, Greg Penner, currently serves as Walmart's chairman.

Greg Penner, Doug McMillon, Rob Walton sit together during Walmart event
From left: Greg Penner, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, and Rob Walton.Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Walton Family Foundation

While Walton isn't as flashy as other billionaires, he has made some major acquisitions, including a home in Paradise Valley, Arizona; land on Hawaii's Big Island; and a piece of land near Aspen, Colorado, which he recently sold for $30.8 billion.

Rob Walton standing amid cheering Walmart employees wearing red shirts
Walton poses with Walmart e-commerce employees at the company's annual shareholders meeting.Rick Wilking/Reuters

Source: Insider, The Wall Street Journal, Pacific Business News

He also collects vintage cars, and once wrecked his Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe, estimated to be worth $15 million, on a race track.

Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe parked on street in New York City as yellow cab drives by
A 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe, though not the one Walton owned.EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

Source: Insider

In June 2022, Walton made his biggest purchase to date: the Denver Broncos, an NFL team that has been mired in a messy ownership battle for several years. The new ownership group — which includes Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner, son-in-law and Walmart Chairman Greg Penner, and Ariel Investments co-CEO Mellody Hobson — paid $4.65 billion for the franchise, more than double the price of any other NFL team.

Denver Broncos fans
Denver Broncos fans at Mile High Stadium.Getty Images

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Denver Broncos

"Having lived and worked in Colorado, we've always admired the Broncos," Walton said in a statement. "Carrie, Greg and I are inspired by the opportunity to steward this great organization in a vibrant community full of opportunity and passionate fans."

Rob Walton, former Walmart chairman, looks into distance during Walmart meeting
Rick Wilking/Reuters

Source: Denver Broncos

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