Coolmore Stud's John Magnier made his initial fortune from his horse-breeding empire. But most of his wealth — along with that of his friend and fellow horse-racing tycoon JP McManus — now comes from investments. This includes buying and selling government and corporate bonds and currency trading (Magnier is widely believed to have made a killing when the Mexican peso devalued in 1994). Magnier and McManus recently sold an office and retail building on the exclusive Place Vendome in Paris, beside the Ritz Hotel, for 1bn, with a reported profit of 350m on the deal.
Magnier, the son of a Co Cork landowner, was educated at Glenstal Abbey in Co Limerick but had to leave school at 15 on the death of his father to take charge of the family estate near Fermoy. He later moved to Fethard in Co Tipperary, where he transformed Coolmore Stud into a multi-million euro business, making a fortune for himself in the process and becoming Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner. Champion sires to have stood at the 7,000-acre stud include Sadler's Wells and Danehill.
He is understood to have been one of the beneficiaries of the 1.1bn sale of London City Airport in 2006. He owns 20pc of UK nursing home group Barchester, which in October reported it had shareholder funds of 130m by the end of 2015. Magnier also co-owns with McManus a 23pc stake in 1.2bn-valued Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), Britain's biggest pub group.
Shares of M&B have slipped over the last year amid concern about the impact of Brexit on the pub chain's costs and after pre-tax profits for the year to September 24 fell by more than 25pc. Earlier this year, the bloodstock billionaire and his family acquired the Sutton Scotney Estate in Hampshire, which includes 24 homes and more than 4,000 acres of land, for an estimated 52m.
Magnier is married to Susan, the daughter of Irish racehorse-trainer Vincent O'Brien, and they have five children. He has a property portfolio that stretches from a 30m beach-front pad in Marbella, which was once rented to David Beckham, and the 18th-century Cashel Palace Hotel in Co Tipperary, which he bought for an estimated 2.25m, and has an interest in the exclusive Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados. He also has a stunning art collection, including a 70m Modigliani painting and a 25m Sir Joshua Reynolds portrait.
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