Everyone who is anyone knows that Carbon Beach, long the ne plus ultra Malibu real estate wet dream, is awash in billionaire residents. So prevalent are they that the mile-long stretch of 76 (or so) uber-prime beachfront homes has long been colloquially labeled “Billionaires’ Beach“. Among the current homeowners here who are believed to have a net worth of 10+ figures (or close to it) are Eli Broad, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Milken, Gerald Schwartz, Herbert Simon, Francesco Aquilini, Kevin Washington, Geoff Palmer, David Geffen, Haim Saban, Peter Morton, Arnon Milchan, Dr. Dre and Larry Ellison (who owns no fewer than twelve houses along this strip of sand).
And now comes time to add one more fat pocketbook to the list. Earlier this year, two side-by-side Carbon Beach houses were sold in two separate transactions by two different sellers to the same buyer: an enigmatic corporate cloak (“Seek Estates LLC”). The real and beneficial owner, Yolanda happens to know, is a billionaire British expat named Simon Nixon.
While Yolanda can’t verify Mr. Nixon’s net worth, of course, the Sunday Times Rich List recently pegged it at 1.026 billion British pounds, which converts to approximately $1.3 billion USD at today’s currency exchange rates.
Y’all may be interested to know that most (if not all) of that moolah stems from Mr. Nixon’s ownership of a website called moneysupermarket.com, a price comparison website that allows subscribers to compare vendor prices on a variety of financial services tools (credit cards, mortgages, insurance). The website was co-founded by Mr. Nixon — a college dropout — way back in 1993. In 2007, he bought out his partner and the company officially went public. As of today, it remains listed on the London Stock Exchange.
A financial services price comparison website is not, perhaps, the sexiest product/business out there. And Mr. Nixon is aware of this, we are certain. Like the Aflac duck, Mr. Nixon has had to get creative with his marketing strategy. Gotta imprint the name into people’s brains. So over the past few years, his company has become famous (or infamous, if you prefer) for sexing it up by employing a series of rather raunchy television advertisements that many viewers find offensive or tasteless.
The most controversial of these adverts is one entitled “Dave’s Epic Strut“, which Yolanda has included here. It features a middle-aged gentleman wearing denim hot pants that accentuate his bodacious badonkadonk and twerking before an appreciative Sharon Osbourne. What’s not to love, right?
Now then, you may know that Yolanda has a fairly juvenile sense of humor for an old gal. So we thought the clip was funny. But even if you were among the many folks who thought it tasteless, we think y’all will agree that it is distinctly memorable. And there is no doubt that was exactly what Mr. Nixon was going for. You know what kiddies — sometimes y’all gotta do whatcha gotta do to attract attention, right? Often a pinch of controversy is the perfect eyeball-catcher and moneymaker.
And in fact, the 2015 spot was the most complained-about ad of that year in all of Britain. Mission accomplished, Mr. Nixon. But we digress.
As previously mentioned, Mr. Nixon now lays claim to a half-acre of coveted Carbon Beach property. He first purchased the larger house — the one on the right — for exactly $10,000,000 this January (2016). Six months later, he coughed up another $14,500,000 for the property immediately to the left. That’s a very A+-list total of $24.5 million, but Yolanda is rounding it up to $25 million. In case y’all somehow didn’t already guess, we’re a tad bit OCD.
Anywho, the Carbon Beach lot was originally purchased by a couple named Jimmy & Charlou Larronde back in 1950 for — ready for this? — $15,000. Ms. Larronde, by all accounts a nice and vivacious lady, ran a bed&breakfast out of the home for several decades. She also had a reputation for calling out to beachgoers frolicking in the sand outside her house and inviting them up for a cup of tea (or perhaps something a bit stronger).
Sadly, y’all, those friendly old days are long, long gone. And in fact, this is one of only a tiny handful of original Carbon Beach homes still standing. All the others have been razed to make way for colossal modern mega-mansions.
When the house came up for sale a year ago (for the first time ever!) with a $13 million pricetag, everyone assumed it would be quickly demolished by the new owner. Along came Mr. Nixon, however, who was perhaps the only person not seriously interested in the place as a teardown. And perhaps miraculously, the ol’ gurl has a new lease on life.
The 3,057-square-foot house has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms plus lots of original features like the chunky wooden ceiling beams and (we think), white brick fireplace, and the floating wooden staircase. The kitchen looks like it might have been remodeled in the 70s or 80s. The most striking feature, however, is the big ol’ tree growing right through the middle of the house. It’s sorta cool, in a way, but how fun can it be when your family is sitting down at the dining table for a nice hot breakfast of grits and suddenly in walks the gardener with the damn leaf blower! Hmmm.
We shall call it the Carbon Beach house tree.
The smaller house next door, the one purchased by Mr. Nixon by $14.5 million, goes much more contemporary with its neutral-hued interiors. There are 2,199-square-feet with 3 beds and baths.
We’re not sure what his long-term plans are for the two properties, but it is our understanding that he is currently staying in the first house (the mid-century one) along with his girlfriend or fiancee or wife Jessica Warren. (Sorry, y’all. We don’t really know what relationship status Mr. Nixon and Ms. Warren currently hold. All we know is that she is his lady and he is her man.)
Despite being only 49 years old — still somewhat relatively young for a billionaire — Mr. Nixon has already earned a reputation as a world-class real estate baller. He currently lives in Jersey, the tiny English Channel island just off the coast of France that is infamous for being an offshore tax haven.
Mr. Nixon bought this decaying 1930s mansion in St. Brelade (below) back in 2013 for 4.5 million British pounds, not long after complaining about England’s high taxes and terrible weather. Soon after his purchase, he demolished the Pepto-Bismol-pink palace in favor of constructing an 8 million pound modern mansion complete with a gym, movie theater, and a pool.
Much to Yolanda’s surprise, while we were researching Mr. Nixon for this story, we stumbled across a website of his entitled SimonEscapes.com. It contains a lovely collection of resort-like residences around the globe, all of them owned by Mr. Nixon and all available for rent on a short-term or long-term bass.
Mr. Nixon’s property site includes galleries of glossy photographs, floor plans, house descriptions, and neighborhood amenities. It’s really quite impressive and amazingly comprehensive, actually. We can’t remember the last time we saw a billionaire who was so not-shy about showing off his show-stoppin’ homes. You go on with that epic strut, Mr. Nixon.
Mr. Simon loves the sea — he said so himself — so it’s not such a surprise that he’s also got a beach house in the UK. The two-story affair lies in the rather — ahem — interestingly-named “Booby’s Bay” of North Cornwall, near the southwestern tip of England.
Though he spends less than 40 days per year in the UK, that didn’t stop Mr. Nixon from shelling out a rather shocking 39 million British pounds in December 2013 for a 9,500-square-foot mansion-sized flat in the preposterously pricey London neighborhood of Knightsbridge. According to reports at the time, Mr. Nixon then spent a further 5 million pounds to furnish and renovate the property.
Just so y’all know, 44 million pounds currently converts to $55,990,000 USD at today’s rates. Back in 2013, however, it was actually worth a downright ludicrous $68.2 million USD.
Just mull that over for a moment, kiddies. A $68 million pied-a-terre (plus three additional high-maintenance luxury homes) in a country where Mr. Nixon spends no more than a month or so per year.
This guy has money.
Beyond all his resort-style homes, however, even more surprising (at least to Yolanda) is the fact that Mr. Nixon has already lickety-split renovated and upgraded his Malibu beach homes. And they’re both available for short-term or long-term bookings. Check out photos of the house and compare the with the pictures we posted above.
Some might argue that all the charm has been scrubbed out of the Larronde house. Still, it’s amazing what a little cleanup and some snow white paint can do, right?
In addition to the aforementioned moguls and tycoons, other Carbon Beach current residents include sportscaster Bill Simmons, Leo DiCaprio (he’s trying to sell his house), and super-producer Joel Silver (he’s also trying to sell his house).
Much to Yolanda’s surprise, in combing through property records we discovered evidence that blind trusts clearly linked to Rita Kogan (daughter of Russian video games billionaire Michael Kogan and wife of Oscar-winning cinematographer Richard Edlund) own not one but two multi-million dollar units in a hulking condo complex on Carbon Beach.
But anyway — that’s about all, folks. We just gotta reiterate on thing: if you’ve got money and you fancy a vacation, we highly recommend you check out Mr. Nixon’s nifty website. Chances are, you’ll find something you like in an area you may not have previously considered visiting.
Oh, and RIP to the (last?) Carbon Beach house tree.