Oracle CEO Ellison buys Hawaii's Island Air

Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:43pm EST
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By Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Billionaire Larry Ellison can now afford to fly commercial - on his own commercial airline, that is.

The Oracle Corp chief executive on Wednesday added a small Hawaiian airline to his holdings, less than a year after he purchased the vast majority of land on the small Hawaiian island of Lana'i, off the coast of Maui.

Island Air, a Honolulu-based carrier with a handful of island-hopping planes and about 245 employees, will not make any staff changes as part of the sale and will continue normal operations, the company said.

"We are excited Mr. Ellison has acquired Island Air. He has the vision and resources to literally take Island Air to new heights," said Les Murashige, Island Air president.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was unlikely to financially strain the software mogul, who has an estimated fortune of $36 billion. Forbes Magazine recently named Ellison the sixth-richest man in the world.

A spokesman for Ellison called the Island Air purchase "another major investment and commitment to Hawaii."

After Ellison bought 98 percent of Lana'i last year, he said he intended to turn the island into a "laboratory" for green living.

(Reporting By Gerry Shih)

Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corporation, arrives at the premiere of "The Guilt Trip" starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen in Los Angeles in this file photo taken December 11, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser