Burkle in 2006
|Born||Ronald Wayne Burkle
November 12, 1952
|Occupation||Founder of Yucaipa Companies
Co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins
|Net worth||$3.2 billion (2011)|
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Pittsburgh Penguins
- 3 Technology investments
- 4 Media Investments
- 5 Wild Oats
- 6 Golden State Foods
- 7 Follieri and the Vati-Con scandal
- 8 Investments and transactions
- 9 Payola scandal
- 10 Relationship with organized labor
- 11 Personal
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 Further reading
- 15 External links
Life and career
Burkle was born in Pomona, California. He got his start in the supermarket business as a bag boy at his father's grocery store in neighboring Claremont. He later dropped out of college and founded Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm which invests in retail, manufacturing, and distribution. He also founded the Ronald W. Burkle Foundation.
Burkle has served as chairman of the board and controlling shareholder of numerous companies, including Alliance Entertainment, Golden State Foods, Dominick's, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, and Food4Less. He is currently a member of the board of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, KB Home, and Yahoo!
Burkle is a well-known Democratic supporter and fundraiser who raised more than $1,000,000 for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Bill Clinton is employed by The Yucaipa Companies to help identify possible investment opportunities. He has supported California State Treasurer Phil Angelides and employed former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, both of whom are former California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) board members, but has also made contributions to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Robert Novak reported in June 2007 that 98 percent of Burkle's $1.5 million political contributions to date have gone to Democrats. Burkle helped finance Al Gore's cable Current TV network.
Burkle is also known for a tussle with the New York Post which tagged him the "Billionaire Party Boy".
He is part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins National Hockey League team, although his current share is unknown. He co-owns the franchise with Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. The Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009.
He has invested in technology startup companies through A-Grade Investments, a venture capital fund founded by Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary and Ron Burkle. A-Grade's investments include SeatGeek, SoundCloud and Airbnb.
Wild Oats Markets was an operator of natural foods stores and farmers' markets in North America. Burkle started buying Wild Oats stock in February 2005. By the time Whole Foods Market, a natural-foods grocer, agreed to pay $565 million for Wild Oats, Burkle was the largest shareholder of Wild Oats.
Golden State Foods
Burkle sold his majority stake in supplier Golden State Foods to St. Louis-based Wetterau Associates for about $110 million. Golden State, one of McDonald's biggest suppliers, operates 11 distribution centers in the United States and abroad and two U.S. processing plants.
Follieri and the Vati-Con scandal
On April 30, 2008, a Delaware judge dismissed Burkle's lawsuit against Raffaello Follieri, ex-boyfriend of actress Anne Hathaway, after he agreed to repay $1.3 million Burkle loaned to him in the Vati-Con Scandal.
Investments and transactions
Burkle's investments and transactions include:
- Sold Dominick's chain to Safeway in 1998 for over $200 million in profits;
- Owns 20.7% stake in Americold Realty Trust;
- Leveraged buyouts of Jurgensen's, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, and Ralphs supermarket chains, and sold to Kroger for $13.5 billion;
- Signed Fleming as sole food supplier to Kmart;
- Majority stake in Pathmark grocery stores;
- Cyrk, the former Beanie Baby promotion agency;
- Merged Alliance Entertainment with Source Interlink;
- 49% of British jewelry brand Stephen Webster purchased in 2007;
- Invested $100 million in Sean Combs's (P. Diddy) Sean John clothing line;
- Purchased Enthusiast Media publications and assets of Primedia for $1.2 billion;
- Burkle's investment firm, Yucaipa Cos., owns 18.7% of the common stock of Barnes & Noble. In early 2010 he sought to raise his stake to 37% without triggering the shareholders' rights plan; Chairman Len Riggio, with 27.8% ownership of the bookseller's common stock, is Barnes & Noble's largest shareholder;
- Owns 6% stake in American Apparel, Inc.
- In an attempted transaction, Burkle made an offer to purchase the financially troubled Sacramento Kings franchise and prevent the team from relocating to Anaheim; Burkle's plan was rejected by the current owners, Joe and Gavin Maloof.
- A significant equity stake in Relativity Media.
In April 2006, Burkle accused New York Post columnist Jared Paul Stern of attempting to extort money from him in exchange for stopping the publication of stories in Page Six, the paper's gossip column, about his private life. Burkle secretly videotaped two private meetings between himself and Stern, with the second meeting orchestrated and monitored by the FBI. Stern allegedly asked Burkle for a $220,000 investment in his clothing business in exchange for better coverage. Stern was subsequently fired by the Post.
Relationship with organized labor
Ron has received numerous honors and awards from labor including the AFL-CIO Murray Green Meany Kirkland Community Service Award  and The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Man of the Year.
In 1974 Burkle married Janet Steeper, a great-grandniece of the Wright brothers. They divorced in 2003. They had three children.
Burkle is a fan of historic architecture. In 2011 he purchased  the partially restored Ennis House, a Los Angeles landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Burkle also owns Greenacres, an estate built for Harold Lloyd. According to a Los Angeles Times article, Burkle aspired to be an architect as a teenager.
In December 2013, Ron Burkle purchased an Olympic gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Games for $1.4 million and reputedly owns owns William Faulkner's Nobel Prize for literature. 
- "Forbes Billionaire profile Ron Burkle". forbes.com. 2011-03-09.
- "The Complete Ron Burkle". The New York Observer. 2006-04-12. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "The Ronald W. Burkle Foundation".
- "#112 Ronald Burkle". Forbes 400. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "board of directors". Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "Ronald W Burkle". Forbes. Retrieved 2007-10-01.[dead link]
- "Board of Directors". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "The Rise Of Ron Burkle - Forbes.com". Forbes. 2006-11-12.
- Murdoch Donates $250K to Schwarzenegger
- "#117 Ronald Burkle - Forbes.com". Forbes. 2006-09-21.
- Said, Carolyn (2006-03-16). "Newspapers may have an angel / Billionaire Burkle emerges as possible buyer, union says". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Pittsburgh Penguins Team".
- "Ron Burkle Crunchbase Profile". Crunchbase. 2012-01-31.
- "New Ashton Kutcher Investment". Gigaom. 2011-02-22.
- "SoundCloud Receives Investment from Ashton Kutcher's A-Grade". Billboard.biz. 2011-06-15.
- Wortham, Jenna (2011-05-25). "Ashton Kutcher Knows His Start-Ups". NY Times.
- Miller, Daniel (2013-03-25). "Mogul Ron Burkle partnering in new branded entertainment company". The LA Times.
- "Three Lions Entertainment".
- "Ronald Burkle Harvests His Wild Oats". The New York Times. 2007-02-22.
- "Burkle sells 51% stake in Golden State Foods". Nation's Restaurant News. 2004-02-16.
- "Side Dish". Daily News (New York). 2008-04-30.
- Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. (2010-03-01). "Burkle Presses Barnes & Noble on Stake". The Wall Street Journal.
- Shwiff, Kathy; Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. (2010-02-02). "Burkle Targets Barnes & Noble". The Wall Street Journal.
- Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. (2010-02-19). "Barnes & Noble Won't Let Burkle Raise Stakes". The Wall Street Journal.
- Holmes, Elizabeth (2010-06-25). "Ron Burkle Reports 6% Stake In American Apparel". The Wall Street Journal.
- PR (June 28, 2012). http://www.deadline.com/2009/01/relativity-media-buys-rogue-pictures/. Retrieved July 6, 2010. Missing or empty
- Nikki Finke (June 28, 2012). http://www.deadline.com/2008/10/exclusive-relativity-to-acquire-rogue-pics/. Retrieved July 6, 2010. Missing or empty
- "HOW HE MADE HIS MOVE. Shaking down a billionaire". Daily News (New York). 2006-04-09.[dead link]
- "Joe Tacopina To Testify About Bernie Kerik's Liesh".
- "AFL-CIO Murray Green Meany Kirkland Community Service Award". Burkle Center for International Relations.
- "Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Man of the Year". The Getty.
- Bruck. Page 81.
- article http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11199/1161169-84-0.stm
- Bruck, Connie: “Cashier du Cinema - Aftersupermarkets, privat equity and politic , Ron Burkle makes a move on Hollywood“. The New Yorker, Oct 8 2012, Pages 76 to 87.
- The Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations at UCLA
- Ronald W. Burkle Foundation
- The Yucaipa Companies
- Ron Burkle's federal campaign contributions at newsmeat.com
- Forbes - The 400 Richest Americans 2005
- Ennis House
- The Complete Ron Burkle Jason Horowitz, The New York Observer April 12, 2007
- Gore reinvents television with the debut of Current Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times, August 2, 2005
- Yellow Peril Ron Burkle, Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2006, about the Payola Six Scandal
- Billionaire and Post Writer in Dance of Tips and Turns New York Times, April 12, 2006
- Ex-Post Keyholer Says He’s Cleared on Extortion Rap Choire Sicha, The New York Observer, January 29, 2007
- Burkle's Source Agrees to Buy Primedia Magazine Group (Update4) Leon Lazaroff, Bloomberg.com, May 14, 2007
- Dow Jones Union Asks Tycoons to explore Alternatives to News Corp Bid Forbes, 1 October 2007
- Clintons Earned $109 Million in 8 Years Washington Post, 5 April 2008
- Aloha Bankruptcy Scheme Approved BBC News, 30 November 2005; accessed 31 March 2008
- Belko, Mark (May 16, 2010). "The secret life of Ron Burkle". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 17, 2010.