Michael & Iris Smith slam down a record-shattering $110 million on Malibu’s Carbon Beach

(EDIT (4/23/18): Selling agent info added)

The Malibu real estate market is notoriously sluggish in comparison to hot in-town areas like the Platinum Triangle. But a string of increasingly pricey off-market mega-sales over the past couple years has left all onlookers dumbfounded, Yolanda included. Frankly, y’all, when is it gonna end?

First it was Jimmy Iovine with his $60 million splurge above Paradise Cove. Then came Hong Kong heiress Karen Lo with her $70 million in cash. Right on the heels of Ms. Lo was Dodgers owner Mark Walter, who slammed down $85 million on Carbon Beach. (That transaction and an $18 million Pacific Palisades compound purchased for Mr. Walter’s close business associate Alexandra Court are currently being investigated by the SEC. But that’s a story for another day, we digress…)

Mr. Walter’s purchase was the highest price ever paid in the sleepy beach city. But then Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz tied up the score just months later, with his $85 million throwdown on a Brutalist-influenced compound.

Those transactions were all massive, to be sure. But lo! For the last week or so, Yolanda has heard distant rumblings indicating that yet another mega-deal is incoming, one that shall shake the LA real estate community to its core and make all those other sales look like real estate child’s play. Rumors of the sale were first reported online by our wily friend over at Variety magazine, and also by The Real Deal

Bow to your new king

Okay, so maybe that description is a bit dramatic. But still. We hear from all sides that this sale will be record-breaking. And if y’all have noticed that Yolanda has been a bit brief in this week’s postings, it’s because we have been working tirelessly, night and day, to compile information about this transaction. Yolanda does full-time and overtime duties for you precious cherubs.

So here’s what we know and what we do not know. The deal involves an architectural compound on Malibu’s Carbon Beach, aka Billionaires’ Beach. Although the sale does not yet appear to have been officially recorded in public records, we hear it is done-done-done in every other respect. And while we do not yet have an exact sale price, multiple sources say it is going down for north of $100 million — somewhere right around $110,000,000, give or take a few milli.

That’s ludicrous! Indeed, should the house sell for anywhere over $100m, it will be the most expensive residential sale in Southern California history. And Yolanda knows the identities of both the seller and the buyer, and the names of the agents who represented the seller. What we do not know is the identity of the buyer’s real estate agent(s). If anyone out there knows — and we know damn well you are out there — be a dear and let us know so we can properly credit him/her/it/them on this McWhopper of a deal. (Update: the buyer’s agents info has been added to the end of this post).

The $110 million compound sits right between two Larry Ellison-owned homes

The seller of the house was Hard Rock Cafe/Hotel founder Peter Morton, who hired acclaimed yet #MeToo-tainted architect Richard Meier to design him the custom compound way back in the early 2000s. Our Mr. Meier dreamed up a contemporary confection with unique teak “shutters” that open and shut on the home’s exterior at the touch of a button. The two-parcel property encompasses about .65-acre of land stretching from Pacific Coast Highway to the sand.

Two separate structures make up the estate: one an L-shaped two-story main residence with 4,618-square-feet of living space with 4 beds and 4.5 baths, and the other a two-story guest structure with another 3 beds and 3.5 baths in 2,316-square-feet of space. That’s a total of 7 beds and 8 baths in nearly 7,000-square-feet of house, for all you beancounters.

View of the property from PCH

Indoors, the luxurious yet muted interior furnishings were designed by Obama’s White House decorator Michael S. Smith. But since this was a totally off-market sale, there are no pictures of this house sitting in the MLS. However, a little internet browsing reveals that the property has been photographed on numerous occasions, including for W Magazine back in 2006. 

It was in the article that Mr. Morton revealed that he employs a full-time “oiler” whose sold job (apparently) is to keep the high-maintenance teak exterior of the house looking nice and shiny for the peasants who pass by. Well, hot damn! How would y’all like to be Mr. Smith’s personal oiler?

Now then, here’s the fun part. Who is the billionaire buyer? Well, y’all, let us tell you. At first Yolanda thought it might be Larry Ellison — after all, he clearly wants to buy up all of Carbon Beach and he owns the homes on either side of this compound.

But nope. It’s not him. Larry likes to get his Carbon Beach homes at a discount, like the $38 million one he just bought from Joel Silver (the original asking price was nearly $60 million).

Maury to Larry Ellison: “You are not the buyer”

Then we heard it might be gambling tycoon Sheldon Adelson. But nope, not him either. Our Mr. Adelson also loves Malibu — he’s the biggest landowner in The Colony guard-gated community, after all — but he doesn’t seem to have any interest in owning on Billionaire’s Beach.

Sheldon Adelson: also not the buyer

It turns out the buyers are far more low-profile than either of those two fellas. Yolanda happens to know for a fact that they are natural gas billionaire Michael S. Smith and his longtime wife Iris.

The Smiths, who will soon be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary and have two grown daughters, were longtime residents of Denver, Colorado. For the last decade or so, however, the family has been based here in LA. But we digress for now — more on that in a moment.

Mr. Smith is an oil and gas mogul, the Chairman and CEO of Freeport LNG. Based in Houston (Texas), Freeport is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion — and Mr. Smith still owns nearly 60% of the company. The Smiths also preside over Blue Spruce Capital Corporation, a private investment firm with offices in three states. Blue Spruce appears to mainly function as a management firm for the Smith family’s enormous wealth and their numerous investments. the couple are also major philanthropists.

Y’all may want to steel yourselves with a stiff drink, because while $110 million may be an unfathomable amount for 99.99% of us to think about spending on a house, it represents just another day at the real estate market for Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Scarcely two years ago (in early 2016), the Smiths coughed up — ready for this? — exactly $110,000,000 for an oceanfront compound in the Hamptons.

The Smiths’ $110 million Hamptons compound

Yes, everyone, that is the exact same price they are rumored to be spending in Malibu. Their Hamptons compound spans three parcels and is located on super-prime Lily Pond Lane. For reference, their Hamptons splurge was the second-biggest sale ever recorded in New York, topping even Michael Dell’s $100.5 million penthouse purchase. The seller was hedge fund honcho Scott Bommer.

Just a few months before buying big in the Hamptons, the Smiths warned New York with a prelude of sorts: a $30 million penthouse acquisition in NYC’s trendy Tribeca neighborhood.

The Smiths’ $30 million penthouse at 250 West in Tribeca

However, the Smith family does not mainly reside in New York — that $140 million was just for vacation home purchases. Their main residence is right here in the 90210. In the star-studded Beverly Hills Post Office neighborhood, in fact.

The Smiths’ main residence: their $15 million Beverly Hills Post Office mansion

Speaking of star-studded, the Smiths bought their B.H.P.O. estate back in 2006 from none other than loca singer Ricky Martin. According to reports at the time, Mr. Martin’s house had not been available for sale — not even as a pocket listing. The Smiths and their $15 million cash offer appeared unsolicited and out of nowhere, supposedly. But we are certain that Mr. Martin is glad that they did — he sold them the house for $4.1 million more than he had paid only two years prior.

Some of the Smiths’ nearest neighbors in the 90210 include Dr. Phil, Tony Pritzker, and Sandra Bullock.

As for the Smiths’ two adult daughters — Tara and Kaily — they are both married to men in the entertainment industry. Tara is hitched to Tony Award-nominated producer Brian Swibel, and Kaily recently tied the knot in a lavish ceremony to Adam Westbrook, Mr. Swibel’s producer partner.

Back in July 2015, Tara Smith paid $9,626,000 for the Brentwood home of Steve Burke, President and CEO of NBC Universal. Then in 2016, Kaily Smith coughed up $11,000,000 for a newly-built spec mansion in the desirable Pacific Palisades Riviera neighborhood.

That’s all she wrote, everyone. Yolanda is going on vacation up north this weekend. So behave, say “please”, and within a few days we should be able to see the final sale price here.

And if y’all didn’t know who Mr. & Mrs. Smith are, now you know.

Listing agents: Branden & Rayni Williams, Hilton & Hyland
Selling agent: Barry Peele, Sotheby’s International Realty

7 Replies to “Michael & Iris Smith slam down a record-shattering $110 million on Malibu’s Carbon Beach”

  1. Wait a minute, the buyer and the decorator are both named Michael S. Smith ?!

    1. Michael is a common first name and Smith is a common last name. It’s bound to happen. Still weird though.

  2. For $110 million, I’d be Mr. Smith’s oiler everyday for the next 10 years.

  3. […] exporter. The Smiths also run a private investment firm called Blue Spruce Capital Corporation. [Yolanda’s Little Black Book] – Dennis […]

  4. Do these people know their $110 million house will be underwater in 20 years?

  5. Zillow has this transaction listed at $1.1 million. They probably thought $110 mil was a typo!

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