Monday 18 February 2019

John Magnier is synonymous with winning. The 70-year-old is at the heart of the world-famous Coolmore Stud and also holds stakes in UK nursing home group Barchester Healthcare and Britain's biggest pub group, Mitchells & Butlers.

His initial earnings came from his horse-breeding empire, which he has expanded with world-class farms in Ireland, the United States and Australia. However, a series of shrewd business dealings, which included the trading of government and corporate bonds, as well as currency trading, helped catapult his wealth and make him one of Ireland's few billionaires. He is married to Susan, the daughter of Irish racehorse trainer Vincent O'Brien, and they have five children.

Last year, he was widely praised for making a killing in the art collection business. Magnier was understood to have been the owner of Italian painter Modigliani's Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) piece, which was sold at Sotheby's for $157m (€138m) in May. The horse-breeding tycoon, known as 'The Boss', was understood to have bought the painting 15 years previous at an auction in New York for a mere $26.9m.

Magnier is also set to land a sizeable windfall this year with the sale of Barchester. The healthcare company, which operates more than 200 care homes and seven registered hospitals in the UK, was put up for sale in 2018 with a price-tag of around €2.8bn. He is one of the major owners in the business alongside JP McManus and Dermot Desmond. The company is being marketed by US banking giant JP Morgan with a number of US-based groups believed to be interested and Magnier owns around 20pc of it.

Magnier's stake in the billion-pound Mitchells & Butlers pub chain also paid dividends after a strong 2018. He and McManus share a 23pc stake in the company. During the 52 weeks to the end of September, the pub business reported a surge in operating profits of £47m (€53m) to £255m (€286m).

He is the son of a Co Cork landowner, and was educated at Glenstal Abbey in Co Limerick. Following the death of his father when he was 15, he had to leave school to take charge of the family's estate near Fermoy. Later in life, the equine mogul moved to Fethard in Co Tipperary, where he went on to transform Coolmore Stud into what it is today, a 7,000-acre, multi-million euro business. Magnier himself netted millions in the process of the transformation and became Ireland's leading thoroughbred stud owner.

In late 2016, Magnier and McManus netted a reported €350m profit from the sale of an office and retail building on the exclusive Place Vendome in Paris. In 2017, the bloodstock billionaire and his family moved to buy Sutton Scotney Estate in Hampshire for over €52m.

Magnier spends much of his time at a seafront home on a Caribbean island. His property portfolio stretches from a €30m beach-front pad in Marbella to an interest in the exclusive Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados.

Online Editors

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