Robert Maxwell Net Worth | Celebrity Net Worth


What was Robert Maxwell’s Net Worth?

Robert Maxwell was a British media proprietor and Member of Parliament who had a net worth of -$1 billion at the time of his death. At the peak of is business empire, Robert Maxwell’s net worth was $1.9 billion. After his death his business empire was as much as $4 billion in debt. Though he did manage to squirrel away enough money to provide his children trust funds that paid $100,000 per year. It was also revealed after his death that Robert had plundered his employee pension funds to the tune of several hundred million pounds.

He escaped from Nazi occupation and joined the Czechoslovak Army during World War II. He built up Pergamon Press and served as a Member of Parliament for Buckingham from October 1964 to June 1970. After that he purchased the British Printing Corporation as well as Mirror Group Newspapers and Macmillan Publishers. He would eventually own the tabloid newspapers such as the New York Daily News, The Mirror and a stake in MTV Europe.

Maxwell had to sell businesses including Pergamon Press in 1989 to cover his debts. Robert Maxwell’s body was found floating in the Atlantic Ocean in 1991 when he was 68 years old. The next year the Maxwell companies applied for bankruptcy protection.

He was known for his flamboyant lifestyle which included a helicopter and a luxury yacht named the Lady Ghislaine which was named after his daughter Ghislaine Maxwell. Years later Ghislaine Maxwell would be accused of acting as a madame for financier Jeffrey Epstein. Ghislaine would allegedly procure underage women for Jeffrey to molest and rape. She also helped Jeffrey meet figures like Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew.


Early Life

Robert Maxwell was born as Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch on June 10, 1923 in Slatinské Doly in what was then Czechoslovakia. His parents were poor Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jews named Hannah and Mechel. Maxwell was one of seven siblings. During World War II, most of the family was murdered during Nazi occupation; Maxwell, however, had previously fled to France.

Military Service

In exile in Marseille, Maxwell joined the Czechoslovak Army. After protesting the Army’s leadership with hundreds of fellow soldiers, he was transferred to Great Britain’s Royal Pioneer Corps, and then to the North Staffordshire Regiment. Maxwell went on to fight throughout Europe, earning the rank of sergeant and later captain. In early 1945, he won the Military Cross. He subsequently served in Berlin as part of the press section of the Foreign Office.

Pergamon Press

Following the end of World War II, Maxwell used his military contacts to enter the business world. He soon became the British and US distributor for the scientific book publisher Springer Verlag. Later, in 1951, Maxwell acquired a majority of the publisher Butterworth-Springer, with a minority being held by Paul Rosbaud. The pair subsequently changed the house name to Pergamon Press. In 1956, Rosbaud was fired from the company. Maxwell continued to grow Pergamon substantially over the ensuing years, building it into a leader in the publication of science, technology, and medicine journals. The company eventually went public in 1964.

Pergamon hit a snag in 1969 when American businessman Saul Steinberg proposed an acquisition of the company. During negotiations, Pergamon had to reduce its profit forecasts and suspend its stock market trading. As a result, Maxwell lost control of the company and was fired from the board. In a Department of Trade and Industry inquiry, it was found that Maxwell had contrived to maximize the share price of Pergamon via transactions between his private family businesses. However, after the company floundered under Steinberg, Maxwell borrowed funds to reacquire Pergamon in 1974. Later, in 1991, he sold the company to academic publisher Elsevier.

Other Companies and Ventures

On top of Pergamon Press, Maxwell built a massive media empire through the acquisition of many other companies. In 1981, he bought the British Printing Corporation, which he later renamed the Maxwell Communications Corporation. During the 80s, Maxwell also acquired Mirror Group Newspapers, which resulted in a highly publicized media battle between him and publishing rival Rupert Murdoch. Additionally, Maxwell created Fleetway Publications through IPC Media. By the end of the decade, he owned such companies as Nimbus Records, Macmillan Publishers, Prentice Hall Information Services, and the Berlitz Corporation.

In addition to his media companies, Maxwell was also notable for chairing the professional football club Oxford United, taking the team to the top echelons of English football by the mid 80s. He also acquired a part of the Derby County football club in 1987. Among his other activities, Maxwell was linked to the secret service organizations MI6, the KGB, and Mossad.

Member of Parliament

Beyond his media career, Maxwell served as a Member of Parliament for Buckingham, England from 1964 to 1970, representing the Labour Party. After losing his seat to Conservative challenger William Benyon, he unsuccessfully contested the seat in the 1974 general elections.

Personal Life and Death

In 1945, Maxwell wed Elisabeth Meynard, with whom he had nine children: Michael, Philip, Ann, Isabel, Christine, Karine, Kevin, Ian, and Ghislaine. Karine passed away from leukemia when she was three, while Michael died in his early 20s after lying in a coma induced by a car crash. Ghislaine, meanwhile, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for her involvement with Jeffrey Epstein in a child sex trafficking ring.

Instead of attending a meeting with the Bank of England about his massive financial debts, Maxwell embarked on his luxury yacht the Lady Ghislaine in November of 1991. Sailing in the Canary Islands, he went missing a couple of days later. Maxwell’s nude body was soon found floating in the ocean, with his death ruled a combination of a heart attack and accidental drowning. He subsequently had an extravagant funeral in Israel, and was interred on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. His wife Elisabeth went on to become a prominent Holocaust researcher; she passed away in 2013.

Collapse of Empire

Due to the enormous debt Maxwell left in his wake, his publishing empire collapsed shortly after his death. It was also revealed that he had embezzled hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies’ pension funds in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy.

Robert Maxwell was married to Elisabeth Meynard and had nine children.

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