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2.2 MILLION ACRES! John Malone Now Biggest Landowner in USA

The Wall Street Journal 10/13/2011 21:17
2.2 MILLION ACRES! John Malone Now Biggest Landowner in USA - Real Estate - Property - USA

Ted Turner has lost his crown. According to the newly released 2011 Land Report 100, which ranks the top land barons, John Malone is now America’s biggest individual landowner. The 70-year-old cable pioneer and chairman of Liberty Media now owns 2.2 million acres, after purchasing more than 1 million acres of timberland in Maine and New Hampshire earlier this year.

The purchase, which drew fire from plenty of environmentalists in New England, vaulted him past the longtime number one, Mr. Turner, who owns slightly more than 2 million acres. Mr. Malone and Mr. Turner are longtime friends and fellow cowboy-hat wearers from the cable world.

Mr. Malone started snapping up land in the 1990s, buying in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. He bought the 290,100-acre Bell Ranch in 2010 and uses it to raise cattle and horses. Mr. Malone said his main interest is land conservation and maintaining the sustainable forestry programs with the New England parcel.

Mr. Malone told the Land Report that his love of land is due to his Irish genes. “A certain land hunger comes from being denied property ownership for so many generations.”

Now is the time to buy land, he said, because of low borrowing costs and low prices. He added that real estate “is a pretty decent hedge on the devaluation of currency.”