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 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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1992, a day after his dad's death, Walton was named chairman of Walmart's board, a position he held until 2015.
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.
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.
He also collects vintage cars, and once wrecked his Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe, estimated to be worth $15 million, on a race track.
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.
"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."
Source: Denver Broncos
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