The Life of Marvin Davis and his Daring Business Deals

On this day, August 31 in the year 1925, the man who became famous for making tons of money in buying and selling companies was born in New Jersey, United States. His name was Marvin Davis, the former chairman of Davis Petroleum and one time owner of 20th Century Fox.

Marvin Davis
Marvin Davis (Credit:

Marvin Davis was a son of a Jewish father who founded Davis Oil Company which was later renamed Davis Petroleum Corporation. Marvin attended New York University where he finished an engineering degree in 1947. After graduation, he joined his father’s exploration business. He made lots of money buying low-priced oil and gas leases and drilling them extensively following the so-called “third for a quarter,” which is essentially using other people’s money in drilling wells, thus insulating him from risk.

In 1981, Marvin sold his oil holdings for $600 million to a Canadian company. That same year, he purchased 20th Century Fox which he later sold to Rupert Murdoch. He also acquired the Pebble Beach Company, the Aspen Skiing Company and the Beverly Hills Hotel. He sold these companies later at handsome profits. Previously, he acquired land in Denver, Colorado which he developed into a shopping and office complex. While he was the owner of Fox, he built the 34-story Fox Plaza building in Hollywood. Later, he sold the building for a $50 million profit, then bought it back and sold it again for an $80 million profit.

Marvin Davis died in 2004 at the age of 79. He had 5 children with his wife Barbara. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated at $5.8 billion making him the 30th richest person in the United States.


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