You can’t make a list of the top 5 moguls of the telecommunications/media industry in the USA without including John Malone aka The Cable Cowboy. John Malone is the man who served as CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. for over two decades. (TCI), a cable network that served many Americans at the time. He quickly became one of the most influential men in the media, spearheading historic mergers, moving into other areas, and gradually buying up real estate. Today he owns Liberty Media, Liberty Global, Qurate Retail Group, among others. Here is what you should know about him.
Who is John Malone of Liberty Media?
The name John Malone would not be immediately familiar to most people, but he is a man whose services you have certainly used and whose cable TV channel you have certainly seen. The Discovery Channel, Lionsgate Entertainment, Sirius XM Radio, to name a few, are some of his services.
How Malone got to where he is today is the result of sheer brilliance and, of course, hard work. John Malone was born in Milford, Connecticut on March 7, 1941, to Irish parents. His father Danel L. Malone worked as an engineer for General Electric. His mother, whom Malone remembers as a somewhat reserved woman, was a swimmer who later took a job as a teacher.
As a boy, Malone attended Hopkins School, a private college preparatory school. At the school in New Haven, Connecticut, Malone became a three-letter athlete who played football, ran on the track, and knew how to fence. After graduating in 1959, Malone attended another famous school in Connecticut, Yale University. There he followed in his father’s footsteps and studied electrical engineering and economics.
Four years later, in 1963, Malone graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and was a National Merit Scholar. Although Malone began his career later that year, he later returned to school to earn additional degrees. In 1964, he earned a master’s degree in industrial management from John Hopkins University. The following year he earned another Master’s degree, this time in electrical engineering from a New York University program at Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he began his career in 1963.
A few years later, in 1967, John Malone earned his doctorate in Operations Research at Johns Hopkins.
The Bell Telephone Laboratories, named after the famous telephone inventor Grham Bell, gave Malone his start. He worked in business planning and research and development.
Five years later, with two master’s degrees and a doctorate in his pocket, Malone was employed by one of New York’s largest consulting firms, McKinsey & Co. In the following years, Malone worked as a consultant for large companies such as General Electric and IBM.
In 1970, Malone joined the minicomputer manufacturer General Instruments and quickly took over the management of one of their subsidiaries, Jerrold Electronics. At Jerrold, Malone met Bob J. Magness, the founder of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI). In 1993, when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, Magness enlisted the services of John Malone, who, as CEO, was able to rescue the company from a debt of over $130 million and help increase the number of subscribers from 400,000 to over 8 million.
After a supposedly historic merger between TCI and Bell Atlantic failed in 1993, Malone led the sale of TCI to AT&T for a whopping $48 million. John Malone would then become chairman of Liberty Media, a separately listed subsidiary of TCI.
Malone has successfully built the company into a media giant and now owns the majority of the company’s shares. He also owns the majority stake in Liberty Global, an international telecommunications and television company formed in 2005 as a merger between the international arm of Liberty Media and United Global Com. Malone also owns the majority of the voting shares of the Qurate Retail Group (formerly Liberty Interactive), a media conglomerate.
John Malone is a billionaire with net assets of around 8 billion dollars from 2018. Most of his assets are tied up in cash from the proceeds of his investments in his various companies and in real estate. His Liberty Media reported an annual turnover of 18 billion dollars in June 2017.
He owns property in Ireland worth at least $150 million. Malone owns over half a billion dollars worth of hotels and family homes in the USA. His interests also extend to sport. Liberty Media acquired MLB Team Atlanta Braves in 2008, which is now traded separately as Braves Group. In January 2017, he paid $4.6 billion to acquire ownership of the Formula One group from Bernie Ecclestone.
John Malone is married to Leslie Ann Malone (née Evans), whom he met through his sister when she was just 15 years old. They married in 1963 and have remained together ever since. Leslie worked as a secretary for the Milford Police Department right after graduating from high school. She is a horse lover and is a dressage expert. Leslie is the founder of Harmony Sporthorses in Kiowa, Colorado.
Malone and his wife have two children, a son named Evan and a daughter named Tracey. Evan followed in his father’s footsteps and became a technical consultant. Like his father, he holds a Ph.D. and has served as a director in a number of Liberty Media subsidiaries. He is the owner of 1525 South Street LLC, a real estate and management company. Evan helped co-found the Jet Wine Bar, LLC, and 1516 Rex Restaurant, both in Philadelphia.
1. Although he is one of the most influential men in the media, John Malone ironically does not keep a television in his office.
2. Malone is America’s single largest landowner, outdoing Ted Turner. He owns over two million acres of land in at least nine states in America.
3. Malone’s media portfolio includes the Food Network channel, HGTV, the Travel Channel, and Scripps Network Interactive. He acquired the latter in July 2017 for over $14 billion.
4. He owns a stake of around 10% in the British television channel ITV.
5. John Malone has donated 8-digit sums to all the schools he has visited in order to finance various projects. The largest donation to date is the donation of 60 million dollars to Hopkins School to finance some new buildings.
6. Malone donated $250,000 for the inauguration of Donald Trump in 2017.