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

By Patrick Morris – Updated Oct 2, 2018 at 2:43PM

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Disney is a household name, and so is the last name of its largest shareholder, but what that name is may surprise you.

Despite being one of the most recognized companies in the world, you'll likely never guess who owns more stock in Disney (DIS 3.36%) 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 (AAPL 4.86%), 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. 

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.

Still image from Guardians of the Galaxy

Image source: Disney.

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.

Patrick Morris owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Facebook, and Walt Disney. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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