You'll Never Guess the One Woman Who Owns More of Disney Than Anyone Else

Despite being one of the most recognized companies in the world, you'll likely never guess who owns more stock in Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) than any other institution or individual.

According to the latest data from Bloomberg, Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Steve Jobs, is worth an estimated $12.9 billion. Although she has a $2.8 billion stake in Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) , the company her late husband is most known for, most of her fortune is actually derived from her nearly $9.5 billion position in Disney. 

Laurene Powell Jobs. Source: Gobierno de Chile.

The latest data from Disney shows that Laurene Powell Jobs has almost 131 million shares of the acclaimed entertainment company, which would represent a 7.5% stake in the company. Steve Jobs first acquired 138 million shares when Disney bought Pixar Animation Studios for $7.4 billion in January of 2006.

Jobs owned just over half of Pixar when the acquisition was announced, and since then, Disney has had a total return including dividends of almost 225%. When it was first disclosed that the late Steve Jobs had transferred his holdings of Disney to a trust run by his wife in November of 2011, the shares stood at $4.6 billion in value. 

Who is she?
Laurene Powell Jobs received her undergraduate degree from the acclaimed Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania. From there she took a job with Goldman Sachs and actually worked under Jon Corzine in the fixed-income trading department before he became CEO of the investment bank. Corzine would later become the 54th Governor of New Jersey, and he is also known for his role in the epic 2011 collapse of MF Global, the commodities trading firm he ran.

After three years, Laurene left Goldman to pursue her MBA at Stanford, which was where she met Steve. The two were married in 1991 in Yosemite National Park after she received her MBA, and they would go on to have three children.

What does she do?
Although Powell Jobs is a notoriously quiet individual who often avoids the spotlight altogether, she is an avid philanthropist who has diligently sought to help low-income students. In a 2010 op ed, she noted her desire to see the DREAM Act passed, which "would provide temporary residence for many undocumented kids brought to the United States as small children who have completed high school. It then offers a path to legal permanent status if they attend college or serve in the military." 

She co-founded College Track, which seeks to provide under privileged students the necessary resources to harness their dreams of receiving a college education.

She also founded the Emerson Collective, which "supports social entrepreneurs and organizations working in the areas of education, social justice and conservation. It primarily advocates on behalf of underserved students."

What we can learn
So often, notable names in both the investment and charity worlds are lauded because of their efforts that garner front-page headlines and countless Facebook likes. However, in the instance of Laurene Powell Jobs, she is happy shunning the spotlight to focus on her efforts to ensure underprivileged individuals can have access to the immense opportunities available in the United States.

With a Stanford MBA, an undergraduate degree from the best business program, and experience at Goldman Sachs, Laurene Powell Jobs likely has the skills and ability to be doing countless other things, but her desire to help others is commendable. And we can all learn something about using our gifts to further not only our own wallets, but the well-being of all of those around us.

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Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (36)

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  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 3:51 PM, riwaterman wrote:

    Why would one not be able to guess who was the "one woman who owns more of Disney than Anyone Else/"

    First, you should have said "person" because her gender doesn't matter. She owns the most of anyone, male or female.

    As you note, Pixar was sold to Disney. Who was behind Pixar? Steve Jobs. He was the largest holder of Disney stock as a result. If you follow major business news many should know the answer to your question.

    Also you didn't mention that Robert Iger the CEO of Disney is on the Apple board of directors AND Steve Jobs was on the board of Disney.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2014, at 4:49 PM, Mega wrote:

    I guessed it. Headline refuted.

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 8:37 AM, virgilcole wrote:

    Criminy. Largest holder of Disney Stock alone makes you a billionaire, but then put shares of Apple on top?

    Money tree, baby!

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 11:49 AM, glenns45 wrote:

    Disney is set to dominate the entertainment industry. Along term buy and hold.

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 2:23 PM, kramerfan2 wrote:

    hmm so a far-left California liberal billionaire who thinks all kinds of immorality and depravity should be celebrated as 'diversity' is now the largest shareholder in a company that has been a national icon and symbol of wholesome family entertainment and small town traditional values.


  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 2:27 PM, spintreebob wrote:

    How many JOBS (pun intended) and upward mobility did Steve, Warren and Bill create their for-profit business? How many in their non-profit efforts?

    Clearly, what we need is more of the for-profit. That is what history shows benefits us all. The non-profit route is very inefficient.

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 4:34 PM, barbarast59 wrote:

    How refreshing this woman is. She doesn't seek public approval and obviously does not require it. The fact that she has targeted education and helping those that cannot afford makes her amazing.

  • Report this Comment On February 02, 2014, at 4:39 PM, Luluzulu wrote:

    All would be well with Disney, but for 1 One major thing, they are a big financial donator and supporter to the pro abortion industry caucus groups and business wise and personally from their corporation, a family type corporation, would be better off serving the pro Life momentum movement instead of the wholesale slaughter and killing of the unborn, repent of this abomination+

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 7:32 AM, Eagle54 wrote:

    I really don't know much about the Lady, her investments or money, In fact I never even knew who she was until I just saw a picture of her. But in spite of everything I have just read and found out about her doesn't change what I was gonna post and that is

    I think she is a very Sexy person. She is a beautiful looking woman. and now that I know that she is helping Kids and children I am even more inclined to look at her in a very brilliant light. cu does for you Laurene Powell You are a wonderful gal. Chuck Shotwell

  • Report this Comment On February 03, 2014, at 12:25 PM, ann70 wrote:

    Oh boy, I pray I could get just 80K from her to pay for a company we started and can't get a loan for, to help our mentally-ill son.

  • Report this Comment On February 05, 2014, at 3:53 PM, DougW659 wrote:

    I do not believe she IS the largest individual shareholder, which is why they specified 'female'. I believe the largest individual shareholder is Isaac "Ike" Perlmutter, who got his shares with Disney's purchase of Marvel Comics.....

  • Report this Comment On February 08, 2014, at 11:36 AM, golfguyyyy wrote:

    Smart gal? Sure BUT let's give the credit where it is 100% due -------> "....When it was first disclosed that the late Steve Jobs had transferred HIS holdings of Disney to a trust"

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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