Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian businessman, investor, and television personality who has a net worth of $400 million.
He is best known for co-founding SoftKey Software Products, later called The Learning Company, which was acquired by Mattel in 1999 for $4.2 billion. He currently stars as an investor on the ABC reality series “Shark Tank.”
Kevin O’Leary Net Worth
Kevin O’Leary has accumulated immense wealth through his various business ventures. He first built a significant net worth in the late 1990s when his software company SoftKey merged with rival The Learning Company (TLC). The 1998 merger deal with toy company Mattel valued the transaction at around $4 billion.
Although the Mattel-TLC merger eventually collapsed, O’Leary pocketed an estimated $6 million when he was fired from Mattel in 1999. He then rebuilt his fortune through smart investments in other companies. O’Leary’s purchase and later sale of the self-storage company StorageNow to pension funds yielded an estimated $5 million profit.
O’Leary has an extensive investment portfolio with holdings in many lucrative private equity firms and companies. According to the Celebrity Net Worth, Kevin O’Leary has an estimated net worth of around $400 million.
Early Life and Education
Kevin O’Leary was born on July 9, 1954, in Montreal, Canada, to parents Georgette and Terry O’Leary. His mother was a small business owner and investor. Due to his father’s work as a salesman, O’Leary lived in many places growing up, including Cambodia, Tunisia, and Cyprus.
O’Leary attended Stanstead College and Nepean High School before enrolling at the University of Waterloo. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s in environmental studies and psychology. After working briefly in various jobs, he returned to school and earned an MBA from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario in 1980.
After business school, O’Leary began his career working as a television producer. He co-founded Special Event Television, a TV production company that made shows for local television stations.
In 1986, O’Leary saw the potential in the growing software and personal computer industries. He co-founded SoftKey Software Products and business partners John Freeman and Gary Babcock in Toronto.
The company focused on publishing and distributing CD-ROM-based software. Titles released included software encyclopedias and dictionaries and educational, reference, and home entertainment products.
SoftKey International and The Learning Company O’Leary served as president of SoftKey until the company acquired rival firm The Learning Company (TLC) in 1995. The merger made SoftKey International the world’s second-largest consumer software company. In 1998, Mattel Inc. made a $4.2 billion bid and acquired SoftKey, with O’Leary serving as president of Mattel’s new TLC digital division.
However, Mattel soon ran into significant troubles due to management missteps and the burgeoning popularity of video games over educational CD-ROM products. By 1999, Mattel’s stock had fallen significantly, and shareholders eventually forced the board to fire several executives, including O’Leary. Mattel’s purchase of TLC is now considered one of the worst acquisitions in history.
After leaving Mattel, O’Leary purchased a StorageNow Holdings self-storage company for $5.5 million. Within five years, he had grown the business from 3 to 30 locations with over $100 million in assets.
O’Leary credits StorageNow as the foundation for rebuilding his wealth after the Mattel-TLC fiasco. In 2011, StorageNow was sold to pension funds for over $110 million, yielding O’Leary an estimated $5 million profit.
O’Leary Funds and O’Leary Ventures
O’Leary founded O’Leary Funds, an investment fund company, where he serves as chairman. The company raised $400 million in assets within its first 18 months.
His private equity investment firm, O’Leary Ventures, focuses on early-stage companies. Significant investments include companies in wine, poultry production, managed print services, and luxury goods.
In 2003, O’Leary made several television appearances as a financial expert on CNBC and CBC Television business news programs. In 2006, he appeared as one of the five venture capitalists on the first season of Dragons’ Den, a Canadian reality television show similar to Shark Tank.
Due to the show’s success, ABC picked it up in 2009 for an American version called Shark Tank. On the front, entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to a panel of investors hoping to land investment capital. O’Leary quickly became known as “Mr. Wonderful” for his blunt assessments of entrepreneurs’ business concepts and financials. He has now appeared for thirteen seasons as an investor on Shark Tank.
O’Leary has also been a financial commentator in various business television documentaries and global business news programs.
Sources of Income
Kevin O’Leary amasses his staggering net worth through an impressive array of profit channels. His investments in companies big and small have delivered lucrative returns for over 30 years. As chairman of his own mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds, he earns sums in management fees.
His private equity firm, O’Leary Ventures, provides additional income streams through dividends from early-stage companies he invests in.
Strategic celebrity licensing deals allow startups to use O’Leary’s brand in exchange for royalties. He currently has over 30 such licensing arrangements with various companies.
Serving as an investor on the hit show Shark Tank pads his pocket, too, with an estimated $100k salary per episode. Additional television appearances where he discusses money topics pad his wallet even more.
Salary and Earnings
Kevin O’Leary has made nearly half a billion dollars through savvy investments and lucrative business deals over the past 30 years. Let’s examine some of his biggest salary and earnings streams:
As one of the longstanding ‘Sharks’ and investor panelists on this popular ABC reality series, O’Leary earns an estimated per-episode salary of $100,000. For a season of 15 episodes, that equates to $1.5 million per year from Shark Tank alone.
O’Leary takes shareholder dividend payments from many companies he owns stakes in. As chairman of his investment fund company, O’Leary Funds, he also draws management fees based on the fund’s assets – likely a 7 figure annual sum based on $400 million AUM.
O’Leary resides primarily in Toronto. He was married to Linda O’Leary in 1990. The couple has two children together, Savannah and Trevor.
In 2011, O’Leary was involved in a boat crash that resulted in two deaths. His wife Linda was driving the boat when it collided with another watercraft on a dark lake in Muskoka, Canada. O’Leary was onboard but not operating the boat.
Linda was given a DUI charge but was later acquitted of criminal negligence. The victim’s family filed a civil lawsuit and eventually reached a financial settlement with Kevin and Linda O’Leary. The tragedy also sparked O’Leary to become an advocate for boating safety.
FAQs on Kevin O’Leary Net Worth
What is Kevin O’Leary’s net worth?
Kevin O’Leary has an estimated net worth of around $400 million as of 2024. The Shark Tank star has accumulated wealth over the last 30 years through his investments, business ventures, television career, and other sources.
How much does Kevin O’Leary make per Shark Tank episode?
O’Leary earns a salary of $100,000 per episode. He appears as an investor on Shark Tank. For a 15-episode season, that translates to $1.5 million annually from the hit show.
What companies does Kevin O’Leary own?
O’Leary owns stakes in dozens of companies across many industries. Some significant holdings include wine retailer Winesum, print services provider The Image Group, egg producer Goodfood, and restaurant chain Boston Pizza International. He also chairs his own mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds.
What other income sources does Kevin O’Leary have besides Shark Tank?
O’Leary earns millions from public speaking fees, book royalties, celebrity licensing deals with startups, chairman fees from O’Leary Funds, and occasional television appearances on other business media channels.
Few businessmen encapsulate financial success and business savvy as considerably as Kevin O’Leary. His rags-to-riches story spans over three decades marked by both triumphs and obstacles. However, Kevin O’Leary sits atop an estimated $400 million net worth.
After great success building and selling SoftKey Software to Mattel, O’Leary persevered through business failures to reestablish his immense wealth. With smart post-Mattel investments like StorageNow, he efficiently rebuilt an even larger fortune within years after his harsh public setback.