How much is Dan Bilzerian worth?
|Net Worth:||$125 Million|
|Date of Birth:||December 7, 1980 (age 41)|
|Country:||United States of America (Armenian)|
|Height:||5 ft 6 in (1.7 m)|
About Dan Bilzerian
Despite his massive popularity on Instagram, many people still don’t know who Dan Bilzerian is. The Internet personality became famous for uploading photos of his lavish playboy lifestyle, often photographed playing poker with hundreds of thousands of dollars by his side surrounded by supermodels in bikinis, and driving supercars that most people can only dream about. After being discharged from the Navy SEALS training program and studying business and criminology, Bilzerian began playing poker at age 29. According to Bilzerian, the majority of his wealth comes from playing poker and winning. He has claimed that he won $11 million in a single night, and that he made a total of $50 million in 2014 from poker winnings alone.
Though his poker skills have been called into question along with the source of his wealth. One thing is for sure, Dan Bilzerian knows how to self-promote. He has said that he “doesn’t play against professionals anymore” and has since parlayed his lifestyle into a brand.
Besides his long and controversial joyride into the professional world of poker, the Internet personality has also dabbled in movies, too. Bilzerian invested $1 million dollars into the production of the 2013 Mark Wahlberg led movie Lone Survivor with the condition that Bilzerian be given 8 minutes of screen time, despite having little or no acting experience. Though the final cut of the movie only had Bilzerian on screen for just one minute, he made back 150% of what he had initially invested. It also opened up doors for him in Hollywood. He has since appeared in testosterone-fueled movies, including The Equalizer (2014) and War Dogs (2016).
Dan Bilzerian’s father, Paul Bilzerian, is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, businessman and banker who accrued over one hundred million dollars before coming under investigation by the SEC. Today, Paul Bilzerian’s net worth is estimated to be about $30 million. However, Paul may have been worth well over $150 million dollars in his day. There is a lot of speculation about how much of Dan Bilzerian’s net worth was inherited from his father. Dan has admitted to inheriting a certain amount of his wealth from his father but refuses to disclose exactly how much or in fact any pertinent details.
When Dan Bilzerian was only very young he was put through difficult circumstances that would scare the life out of just about anyone. His father, Paul Bilzerian, was in his mid-thirties and had already earned a net worth which may have been as high as $60 million. That’s the equivalent of $165 million in today’s dollars. In the 1980s Paul was considered a corporate raider. There are various methods of acquiring a public company by ownership or control, and for various reasons.
Corporate raiders seek to take control of a company, usually through the purchase of a majority holding of a company’s shares. Legal, but stealth tactics are employed to evade being detected by company executives. Generally, several seemingly unconnected individuals purchase minority stakes in a company as part of a conspiracy to join together in a hostile takeover attempt. Often, only one or two individuals are financing the takeover and others are hired to buy or hold shares. However, this is generally considered illegal.
If one acquires 51% or more of an entity, then generally the individual(s) can walk through the front doors and take control of the company; firing management, passing resolutions, including voting themselves onto the board of directors, are now all legal means of taking control of the company. There are also various other methods depending on the company structure and articles of association, however it seems that Dan’s father, Paul, earned the vast majority of his wealth by acquiring an ownership stake of vulnerable public companies.
After securing control of the company, the raiders can then direct it to their preplanned ends. Often asset stripping or breaking it up and selling it piece by piece. Or making a merger that the board ruled against or a partnership that was likewise vetoed. Corporate raiders were value investors by their very nature, and while some may say that they were ruthless, they also had their opinions too. What they were doing in the ’80s, at least in terms of takeovers, at least in principle, was perfectly legal. However there were some corporate raiding strategies, that were perfectly illegal.
Back then, Dan Bilzerian’s father, Paul Bilzerian, was one of the biggest names in the business. Reportedly, he even worked a deal or two with mega-multibillionaire financier, Carl Icahn. Paul has said on the subject of American corporate management in the 1980s, that, it was “uniformly horrible”. Paul Bilzerian has spoken about how he feels companies had no regard for their shareholders and that “People like Carl Icahn, T Boone Pickens and I – we changed the game.”
However that all changed and so would young Dan Bilzerian’s life as he knew it, as his father would come under investigation by the SEC. In 1986, after the government uncovered an insider trading scheme; valuable trading information being exchanged for large quantities of cash. Their investigation eventually led to the owner and Chairman of Jefferies & Company, Boyd Jefferies. Allegedly, and according to NY Times, Jefferies was helping a one Ivan F. Boesky to keep false records to hide the scheme. According to sources, Jefferies made a deal with law enforcement to testify against individuals in the corporate and investment banking community, including Paul Bilzerian.
Insider trading is when a (criminal) trader illegally buys information from company executives, government officials or others, and uses it to trade. For example, a trader buys information that a public company is about to acquire a private company in a deal that will increase the public company’s share price. The trader buys stock in the company and waits for news of the deal to come out, selling their holdings soon after and making a quick, and almost guaranteed, profit.
While that may sound almost harmless, in many cases insider trading directly steals money from other shareholders. For example, a trader buys information that a public company that they are invested in is about to get fined by the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) for $300 million. The trader swiftly trades with this information to liquidate $100 million dollars of shares in the company that is about to, certainly, lose value when the news comes out. This steals from the mom and pop investors, and others, who did not have access to this information and could only sell after the insider trader had liquidated their massive position and the news of the lawsuit had already come out.
If a mom and pop’s stock was equal to $100,000 in the company and $100 million of that same company’s stock was sold illegally the share price can tumble and after the stop-loss orders, may be 3-10% less valuable depending on the market cap and other variables. Thereby causing the mom and pop’s shares to now only be worth $97-90,000, around a $3-10,000 loss in value.
Note that the above is just an example, as the insider trade would almost certainly be more subtle, but that is one simple example of how insider trading steals from other shareholders. Fortunately the SEC works to stop this variety of financial crime.
Corporate raiding on the other hand, which includes hostile takeovers of public companies, generally seeks to increase share value. While the new owners can also abuse their positions, if a company a mom and pop investor was invested in was subject to a hostile takeover they could still stand to profit. Primarily, hostile takeovers annoy the company executives, but they too are supposedly employed to work for the shareholders. Often, they are not, they are working to profit themselves.
Then there is greenmailing. Greenmailing is not an actual attempt to takeover the target company, or “host”. Instead only pressure the executives, through threat of takeover, to buy back the shares at a premium, booking the greenmailer a tidy profit and costing shareholders. One should note that this is not what Paul was allegedly doing, however his failed takeover attempts did on occasion cause the companies he sought to takeover to buy back the shares owned by him and his fellow investors.
A major problem for corporate takeover specialists is that there are regulations put in place by companies to prevent this very behavior. For example, thresholds put in place preventing a single owner buying or controlling more than a certain amount of shares. Which is why some raiders (turned criminals) engage in “stock parking” which is totally illegal. Stock parking, in its very essence, is when shares are held by some third party to conceal the true ownership of the shares. One of the ways that this is done is by selling shares to another owner with a loop agreement that they will be repurchased again after a predetermined amount of time. Otherwise legal agreements like these can be exploited to allow one person to control a greater amount of shares than they are legally entitled to. Similarly, shares can be purchased by a person in their name but they themselves relinquish full control of buy and sell orders to another person. Concealing the ownership of shares was what law enforcement were initially interested in, as the government, including the SEC, probed into Paul’s investment practices.
In December 1988 Rudy Giuliani made an announcement that Paul Bilzerian had been indicted for “disclosure violations” under 13d. At this time, Paul Bilzerian is estimated to have been worth over $100 million dollars, $275 million adjusted for inflation. Paul argued that he was “the first person ever to be indicted for 13d disclosure violations as the hundreds of previous cases were civil and resolved with consent decrees and without fines or penalties.” In 1989 Paul Bilzerian pled not guilty and demanded an expedited trial so he could clear his name.
While many in the general public may have had a negative view of corporate takeovers, Paul Bilzerian apparently never deceived companies. More importantly, many of those who understood the strategies, saw Bilzerian as being persecuted for making profits even in failed takeover attempts. Christopher Byron of the New York magazine, questioned the entire basis of the case and described it as being fueled by “Puritan envy”.
After two days of deliberation a jury found Paul Bilzerian guilty on nine counts including conspiracy, making false statements, and securities law violations. Bilzerian was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $1.5 million because (allegedly) the judge stated that he “now must pay the price” for testifying in his own defense. “Judge Ward had told me before trial that if I lost and did not testify I would receive no jail time, but if I lost and testified I would pay the price,” Paul Bilzerian recounted, after the trial in 1989.
After Paul was convicted, the SEC sought to force him to disgorge profits from his takeover attempts. Paul resisted citing double jeopardy and that he had already been punished and fined. However in 1993 a federal judge ruled in favor of the SEC. They ordered that Paul Bilzerian disgorge $33.1 million of profits, as well as accrued interest according to Wikipedia. So, in total, the amount was $62 million.
These early events were distressing for the young Dan Bilzerian but he profited from the knowledge that he learned from his father and the events that surrounded him. Including earning an early understanding about the laws, prosecution and the judicial system. As well as proper business practices and so that he himself, would not make the same mistakes.
Dan Bilzerian had an interest in marijuana plant products, culminating in his own CBD company, Ignite. It started out as a CBD and marijuana company but has since seen reform and now seems to be more of a nicotine and spirits company that also sells apparel. The company has seen massive expansion into what Dan is calling a “lifestyle brand”. Despite the advertising–the girl doesn’t come for free!
Wikipedia says “A lifestyle brand is a brand that attempts to embody the values, aspirations, interests, attitudes, or opinions of a group or a culture for marketing purposes.” While his advertisements have been described as “sexist” his mostly male audience likely enjoy the imagery in his ads. The controversial strategy has proved successful, it almost doesn’t look like promotion on his Instagram account. The branding blends almost seamlessly into his main content giving his audience an inside peek into his “playboy millionaire lifestyle”.
In 2020 Ignite products had been selling but the company was still losing money. Their expansion, product development and marketing strategies had made them a relatively well-known brand among their market segment, but it understandably would take some time to see that money back. They also struggled with some of their offerings, including pulling out of Canada’s cannabis market. “As we expand our portfolio of products around the world, our sales are booming except for cannabis in Canada,” Bilzerian had said.
They were definitely experiencing growing pains. Ignite International Brands Ltd lost $69 million in 2019 according to Forbes. Then in 2020, a former company executive’s lawsuit, according to the linked Forbes article, claimed that Bilzerian had used “investor cash to bankroll his Instagram-luxe lifestyle of private planes, hired yachts, and platoons of bikini models”. A company losing money while it is researching and developing new products, especially high-end market products, is not abnormal. Neither is running a loss for a number of years while making expansions into new market segments and testing different marketing strategies. However, Bilzerian was at that time accused of abusing privileges, including the misallocation of invested funds.
In the year 2021, Ignite posted record revenue numbers. They made company history when in Q3 2021 they earned revenues of $14 million, with $3 million in gross profits.
Nicknamed “Blitz” by his friends, Dan Bilzerian has been known for a fast-pace lifestyle. Bilzerian’s wealth is likely to grow in the coming years as the Internet personality’s company, Ignite, is growing in popularity, along with his personal fame.