Industry News

TMCNet:  Profiles of wealthiest [Orange County Business Journal (CA)]

[August 16, 2011]

Profiles of wealthiest [Orange County Business Journal (CA)]

(Orange County Business Journal (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 1 DONALD BREN Owner, chairman, Irme Company estimated worth: $12.5 billion A recovering real estate market led us to adjust our estimate for the county's largest landlord and land owner.


Donald Bren, chairman of Newport Beachbased Irvine Company, comes in at $12.5 billion this year, up from $12 billion the prior two years.

The change isn't to suggest that the local real estate market is back to pre-crash levels - it isn't. Home sales are a mixed bag across the county, and commercial buildings still count a fair share of empty space.

But several factors that we use to gauge the wealth of local real estate owners point to an estimated increase in valuation for many of Bren 's holdings.

They include: Rising safes prices for select office buildings and other commercial properties; a renewed Irvine Co. development push; recent office and apartment acquisitions; and an upswing in the apartment market.

Institutional investors have bid up prices for stable, well-located buildings in Southern California in the past year, with the industrial and apartment markets in particular seeing nearpeak prices for some high-end properties.

Home Sales And homes sales in Irvine likely have kept the value of Irvine Co.'s developable land at a stable price, which wasn't a given during the worst years of the housing downturn.

This year's estimate marks a subtle change in our valuation of Bren.

During the downturn, we didn't adjust Bren as much as other real estate owners, given the size and quality of the company's holdings and its minimal debt, which presumably brought less volatility in value.

Irvine Co.'s real estate holdings include office space, shopping centers, apartments, hoieis and marinas in Orange County. San Diego, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Chicago.

The company owns about 95 million square feet of rentable commercial real estate. The portfolio is made up of 484 office properties, 1 16 apartment communities with some 44,000 units, 41 shopping centers, three hotels, three golf courses and five marinas.

In OC, the company's holdings include large parts of the 5,000-acre Irvine Spectrum, Newport Center, half of Irvine's 185-acre University Research Park and all of Fashion Island, Jamboree Center, MacArthur Court and the Resort at Pelican Hill.

Irvine Co., which declined to comment on Bren's wealth or on specifics related to the company's holdings, added to its holdings in the past year or so.

Office acquisitions include: a Newport Center office property currently occupied by bond fund manager Pacific Investment Management Co. that likely traded hands for around $125 million; Costa Mesa's Pacific Arts Plaza, which sold for about $213 million; and Chicago's 49story Hyatt Center office building, bought for about $625 million.

Chicago Buy The Chicago deal is the first outside California for the company.

Platinum Triangle-area apartments acquired in October mark another new market. The Orange property reportedly traded hands for more than $200 million.

Irvine Co. also has been among the few companies developing.

It has sold nearly 1,500 homes in Irvine since early 2010 - most through the company 's Irvine Pacific LP homebuilding division - making it the most active home seller in the county.

The company also is estimated Io own 27,000 acres of land, about half of which probably is developable. The land could accommodate 20,000 lots for homes and nearly 6,500 apartments. after factoring in streets, parks and other uses.

Irvine Co. traditionally has sold lots to builders that develop homes according to specifications set by the company.

Land sold to builders typically sells for about $3 million per net or buildable acre, according to sources familiar with the company's land sales.

The company has taken the lead on homebuilding itself in the past year, with Irvine Pacific building homes in Irvine's Stonegate and Laguna Altura neighborhoods.

Irvine Co. also has several thousand apartment homes going up or in the works in Irvine.

In Newport Center, the company has started making way for what's likely to become Newport Beach's most valuable office space, a building for the new world headquarters of Pimco.

Sources peg Irvine Co.'s debt level at about 40% or less of the company's entire portfolio, compared to 60% or more for some real estate owners or specific buildings.

Cash Flow The company is said to generate sizable annual cash flow, even during tougher times. That money, along with debt, has been used in the past four years to develop or purchase an additional 6 million square feet of apartments, office and retail space and the Resort a! Pelican Hill in Newport Coast.

It also has been used ta reinvest in the company's shopping centers, office buildings and apartments. Among recent investments, the company spent close to $100 million on upgrades to Fashion Island, opening a Nordstrom with a Whole Foods in the works.

Irvine Co. has an "A" credit rating and stable outlook from Fitch Ratings Inc., confirming its relatively low debt.

Our new estimate for Bren tops a $12 billion valuation by Forbes Magazine in its March list of global billionaires.

The magazine ranked Bren as the wealthiest U.S. real estate owner and the 64th richest person in the world.

We haven't always agreed with Forbes.

Bren, the county's largest land owner, landlord and most prominent businessman, is the wealthiest person seen here. He tops Broadcom Corp. cofounders Henry Samucli and Henry Nicholas at their 2000 peak of $10 billion each.

Bren got his start as a homebuilder in 1958. In 1977. he was part of a group that acquired control of Irvine Co., the successor to the massive ranch bought by James Irvine in 1864.

Bren bought out many of his partners for $518 million in 1983. He became Irvine Co.'s sole owner in 1996.

Bren's set aside 50.000-plus acres of land - more ihan half of" the 93.000-acre Irvine Ranch - as parks, trails and open space in perpetuity. They're designated as natural landmarks.

Immense wealth has brought about sizable giving by Bren. Bloombcrg Business Weck magazine ranked him one of the nation's most generous philanthropists, estimating his lifetime giving at more than $1.3 billion.

More than $265 million of thai giving has been for education. He's directed more liian $70 million to the University of California, Irvine.

- Mark Mueller 2 JAMES JANNARO Founder, chief executive, Red Digital Cinema Camera Co.; Founder Oakley Inc.

estimated worth: $3.1 billion Jim Jannard has managed to turn what was once a hobby into a potential game-changer for the film industry.

While it's difficult to value Lake Forest-based Red Digital Cinema Camera Co.. the company is presumed to have continued its rapid growth since Jannard started it in 2005.

Red Digital makes digital cameras that have been used to film award-winning motion pictures and popular television shows. Among its credits arc movies such as The Social Network, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and The Amazing SpiderMan.

TV shows filmed witJi a Red Digital camera include Southland and Pretty Little Liars.

Those strides led us to take Jannard 's estimate up $100 million this year.

Earlier this year, Red Digital subleased 110,000 square feet of space in the Irvine Spectrum to accommodate the company's growth from sales of the Red One camera and new products.

Last month, the Epic-M camera model became available for sale after delays brought on when a software bug was uncovered. Another version of the Epic, the Epic-X. is set for full production in early September.

Last year Jannard bought the former Ren-Mar Studios in Hollywood and renamed it Red Studios Hollywood.

Plans for an 80-ucre Red Digital campus in Las Vegas have been scaled down from an origina) vision of a camera factory, sound studio and housing for Jannard, actors and visitors.

As an inventor, a portion of Jannard's wealth comes from patents. Many of those go back to Foothill Ranch-based Oakley Inc., which he founded in 1975 as a maker of handlebar grips for motorcycles.

Oakley now makes and sells sunglasses, goggles, prescription frames, clothes, shoes and accessories.

Jannard is still turning out innovations for that industry. His most recent patent was awarded last month for an audio system for sunglasses or other cycwear.

A good chunk of Jannard's estimated wealth comes from a 64% stake he had in Oakhy. which he sold to Italy's Luxottica Group SPA along with the rest of the company for $2. 1 billion in 2007.

Jannard is said to have stock in Luxottica, though it's unclear how much of the company he owns.

Oakley continues to be a sales force for Luxottica. with revenue up 11% for the three months through March.

Luxottica's U.S. shares are up about 30% in the past year.

Adding to Jannard's wealth are investments in Treasury bonds made before the downturn and investments in stocks made after the market bottomed out.

Jannard has developed a cult-like following among film buffs for advancements made with Red Digital cameras and at Oakley, where he holds the chief mad scientist and visionary title.

He calls Nevada and Spieden Island, Wash., home.

- Kurt Humitntika 3 DAVID SUN Cofounder. chief operating officer, Kingston Technology Co.

estimated worth: $2.75 billion 3 JOHN TU Cofounder, president, Kingston Technology Co.

estimated worth: $2.75 billion 2011 is shaping up to be a much different year at Fountain Valley's Kingston Technology Co. man its banner 2011 campaign.

Kingston, the biggest maker of memory prod- ucts for computers and consumer electronics, has a tempered outlook for 2011 amid suppK uncertainties in Japan, rising component costs and slowing demand for its memory products for computers and consumer electronics.

Kingston has said it expects a "solid" year with some new products but is "extremely unlikely to meet the same sort of revenue" as 2010, which saw record sales of $6.5 billion, up nearly 60% from a year earlier.

The surge made Kingston the county's largest privately held company, surpassing the Newport Beach-based parent of Pacific Life Insurance Co.

This year an oversupply of memory products has dragged prices down by about half.

Prices and profits on Kingston's products move in tandem with memory chip prices.

Sun and Tu arc estimated to own the vast majority of the company. They also have other investments.

We've pegged them at S2.75 billion each !his year, the same as a year ago. That's largely because the period measured here caught about half of last year's banner results and this year's tougher market.

Our estimate is based in part on Kingston's revenue projection, market share, falling memory prices and comparisons to two publicly traded rivals.

Kingston closed out 2010 claiming half the market for the most common memory used in computers (sec Serial Entrepreneurs, page 1).

Kingston's shares of sales of dynamic random access memory (DRAM) - chips mounted on circuit boards that boost computer performance - rose from 39% in 2009 to 50% last year, according to market tracker DRAMeXchange.

Total DRAM sales were $9.5 billion, putting Kingston's stake of the market at $4.8 billion.

Kingston's position in this key segment is expected to grow in the coming years.

Shares of Fremont-based Smart Modular Technologies Inc., which makes memory modules, are up more than 50% in the last 12 months but trade in the single digits, so wide shifts arc common. Milpitas-bascd SanDisk Corp., which makes flash memory products for consumer electronics, are slightly down in the same period.

We presume a premium for Kingston, given its role as the largest maker of memory products.

Kingston buys memory chips from Asian, European and American suppliers and assembles them onto circuit boards used for short-term data storage in computers. The company also builds chips into memory cards and flash drives used in cameras, cell phones and other consumer electronics.

Revenue in 2011 is expected to see slower growth or even decline across the industry, continuing to slide through 2013 as chip prices fall amid lower demand.

Kingston hopes new products will help offset a rise in production costs that's expected because of the increases on copper and various other materials.

Earlier this year the company debuted a stick memory module that plugs into computers and boosts memory speed and improves overall performance. It also came out with a line of secure flash drives for corporate customers.

The effects of new products on Kingston's annual sales remain to be seen.

Fortune came to Sun and Tu after they built Kingston and then sold 80% to Japan's Softbank Corp. for $1.5 billion in 1996. Three years later, they bought it back at a steep discount.

Both men are on their second fortunes, having founded memory products maker Camintonn in the 1980s and selling it to former Irvine computer maker AST Research Inc.

They left AST to start Kingston after losing millions in Camintonn proceeds in the 1987 stock market crash.

Sun and Tu are known for their generosity. They made headlines in the 1990s when they handed out $100 million in bonuses to workers after selling their company to Softbank.

Kingston has put its name behind fundraising events by local nonprofits, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which has a chapter in Irvine. Kingston's British operations give to Vision Charity, which raises funds for blind and dyslectic children.

Sun has given to Taiwanese charities, the Presbyterian Church and education causes.

Tu and wife Mary have given $250,000 to KOCE-TV. He's also backed projects to help homeless children in Brazil.

Sun and Tu also are music devotees and keep local musicians in gigs with their company orchestra.

Tu jams with his own band, JT & California Dreamin', which plays benefits.

Tu also has given to stem cell research, inspired in part by friend and AST cofounder Tom Yuen, a dialysis patient.

In Erin Gruwell's "The Freedom Writers Diary," a book that was made into a movie. Tu is the businessman benefactor for a group of inner-city high school kids.

Tu, originally from China, moved to the U.S. in 1972. He once worked as a cook in his uncle's Chinese restaurant and as an apprentice welder while living in Germany as a young man.

Sun, who was born in Taiwan, came to the U.S. in 1977.

- Chris Casacchia 5 IGOR OLENICOFF Owner, founder, president, Olen Properties Corp.

estimated worth: $2.5 billion New information and a modest upturn in commercial real estate pricing has given Newport Beach developer and real estate owner Igor Olenicoff a $300-million boost in his estimated wealth on this year's list.

We've estimated Olenicoff at $2.5 billion this year. It's the highest estimate yet for the longtime mainstay on our list of wealthiest residents.

Getting a better sense of OlenicofTs company, Newport Beach-based Olen Properties Corp., is the primary reason for this year's uptick.

Based on input from a source familiar with Olenicoff, we now estimate his real estate portfolio to be in excess of $4 billion.

Factoring in a debt level that's said to be well below many other property owners, improving market conditions that justify higher valuations for many of his key real estate holdings and other assets, we believe $2.5 billion reflects a more accurate picture of OlenicofTs holdings.

Along with boosting this year's figure, we've also revised our prior year's estimate for Olenicoff to $2.2 billion.

Our figure for Olenicoff remains a conservative one, along with most of the rest of our estimates.

The update puts the Business Journal on the same page as Forbes, which gave Olenicoff a similar bump in estimated wealth in its March ranking of the world's billionaires.

Forbes estimates Olenicoff, who has homes here and in Florida, to be the eighth-richest real estate businessman in America.

Olen Properties Corp. owns more than 7 million square feet of office and industrial space, much of it in Orange County. The value of those buildings likely has increased over the past year, based on sales prices seen here of late.

Olen also has more than 10,000 apartments, primarily in Las Vegas and Florida, with another 500 or so in OC and Arizona. Many of those apartments have been debt-free for years. Apartments across the country have seen an uptick in pricing the past year, although perhaps not as much in Olen's core markets as in California.

Other Olen assets include marinas, restaurants, airport hangars and a golf course. All told, the square footage of Olen's total commercial real estate portfolio likely runs close to 20 million square feet, including apartments.

Olenicoff also reportedly owns close to 1,400 acres of land in Temecula, Nevada, Arizona and Florida.

Olenicoff made his fortune after his family fled Soviet Moscow and landed in America, by way of Iran, in 1957. He started Olen in 1973.

Nationally prominent holdings include Chicago's One South Dearborn tower, bought in 2006 for about $360 million.

Locally, offices Olen owns include Century Centre, a pair of 13-story office towers on Irvine's Main Street, and Brea's Olen Pointe office and apartment campus.

Other sources of wealth for Olenicoff include stocks, loans he's made and cash holdings, according to sources.

In 2008, he settled a long-running tax dispute with federal authorities regarding the size of his holdings and money kept in overseas accounts. He paid about $50 million in penalties.

Olenicoff moved more than $300 million from overseas accounts to the U.S. as part of the settlement.

He's suing his former UBS AG bankers, and others, for $500 million, saying they gave him bad advice and turned him in to the feds to protect themselves. Olenicoff said he'd donate any money won for that case, which is still ongoing, to charity. Court records indicate at least one settlement with a defendant in that case is in the works. - Mark Mueller 6 HENRY SAMUELI Cofounder, chief technical officer, Broadcom Corp.

estimated worth: 3 billion Henry Samueli is back in the public eye after regaining a seat on the board of directors at Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp.

Samueli, the company's cofounder and former chairman, rejoined the board in May in a move that brought the engineering visionary full circle after a lengthy legal vindication.

The appointment ended a three-year absence from the board as he publicly distanced himself from the company during a legal battle over backdated stock options.

In late 2009 U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney threw out his plea deal on a criminal charge of lying to investigators, citing prosecutor misconduct and a lack of evidence. The Securities and Exchange Commission's civil case against him was also dropped.

The move marked the beginning of the end of a long saga for Samueli and Broadcom cofounder and former chief executive Henry Nicholas, No. 8 on this year's OC's Wealthiest.

In March Broadcom outlined the terms of a preliminary settlement to resolve a shareholder lawsuit dealing with stock options backdating in which Samueli and Nicholas agreed to pay the company more than $50 million combined.

Samueli is set to see some $24 million in unexercised stock options canceled as part of the settlement.

We estimate Samueli's wealth at $2.3 billion, even with last year. That's based largely on Broadcom's stock slipping about 1% in the last 12 months. A rally of the shares in the last two weeks brought the stock up from being down more than 1 5% over the last year.

Samueli's 28 million Broadcom shares account for about half of his wealth by our estimate.

He's sold $1.2 billion in shares since the company went public in 1998, including about $70 million worth in the past year or so but remains a dominant shareholder.

Samueli is known as a mentor to Broadcom's engineering groups and does high-level strategy and product development for chips that go into computers, cell phones and consumer electronics.

Samueli's name has recently graced the sports pages more than the business section thanks to other interests. His Anaheim Ducks hockey team had a successful regular season on the ice, drawing renewed support from fans and reaching the National Hockey League playoffs.

The Ducks generate an estimated $25 million in ticket sales per season to go with revenue from TV and radio rights, merchandise and other sources. They are generally considered to break even or be slightly profitable during good years.

A lifelong hockey fan, Samueli bought the team from Walt Disney Co. for $75 million in 2005. He also owns the company that operates Honda Center, the Ducks' home ice.

Including concerts and other events, Honda Center is estimated to do about $50 million a year in ticket and concession sales.

Landing a basketball team has long been one of Samueli's goals since entering the sports business, and he came close to achieving it earlier this year when the Sacramento Kings weighed a move to Orange County.

He even offered to increase a personal loan to the team from $50 million to $75 million for the move, take a minority stake in the franchise and pump as much as $70 million into stadium improvements.

In the end, Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof decided to stay in Sacramento for another year in hopes of landing a new stadium there, a major stumbling block without a clear resolution. Samueli will be at the center of discussions next year if the Kings can't secure a new home in Sacramento.

In 2006, Samueli and wife Susan joined Bert ElHs in buying KDOC-TV for about $150 million from Golden Orange Broadcasting. The station broadcasts Ducks games that aren't scheduled by cable channel Fox Sports West.

The station also has tweaked its programming recently in an effort to capture more market share. In late 2009, it added ESPN Plus' syndication package of Southeastern Conference football and men's basketball games. It added coverage of Big 12 Conference men's basketball during the 2010-11 season.

Samueli and his wife have given away more than $250 million in the past decade and are among the county's top philanthropists.

Among their causes are the University of California's Irvinc and Los Angeles campuses, both of which named their engineering schools after Samueli.

In all, the Samuelis have given more than $35 million to UCLA, where Samueli earned three degrees. Last year he was awarded the UCLA medal, the university's highest honor.

At Chapman University, a library is named for Samueli's parents. Polish Jewish immigrants who survived Nazi Europe.

Wife Susan is a big supporter of alternative medicine. UC Irvine's Susan Sarnueli Center for Integrative Medicine is named for her.

The Samuelis also give to numerous nonprofits through their foundation, which focuses on healthcare, youth charities and Jewish causes.

- Chris Casacchia 7 WILLIAM GROSS Cofounder, co-chief investment officer, managing director, Pacific Investment Management Co.

estimated worth: $2.2 billion We estimate a gain of $200 million this year for Gross based on his Hall-of-Fame credentials as an investor and the strong performance of stocks and gains in other asset classes during the past 12 months.

He's best known as the "king of bonds" at Pacific Investment Management Co., which oversees about $1.2 trillion in investments for pension funds, insurers, corporations and others from its Newport Beach headquarters.

Gross has been shifting strategies lately. He recently sold all U.S. bonds from his $234 billion Pimco Total Return fund, the world's largest mutual fund. He's been steering Pimco toward stocks, and his status is such that many observers take that as an indication that the bond rally of the past 30 years has run its course.

Gross says that's not necessarily so, although he warns about that the federal government's U.S. deficit spending and the potential for inflation, which drags down the value of government debt and require issuers to pay bigger returns to investors.

"It is a question of valuation," Gross said on Bloomberg Television earlier this year. "It is not a question of departing treasuries based on credit fears." He's also continued a shift toward equities.

Pimco started its first stock fund, the Pathfinder, in April and quickly got to about $2 billion in investments. A second stock fund, with a focus on emerging markets, is in the works.

Pimco is opening a brokerage in New York as it takes over the selling of its mutual funds from German parent Allianz SE.

The changes have led to a second-straight year of sizable employment growth, including new hires and about 170 brought on from Allianz. Pimco's overall count grew by about 300 last year and is expected to do about the same this year, reaching 1,800 employees total. About 850 of Pimco's employees are here, with most at its headquarters in Newport Center.

Pimco also is getting ready for a new 380,000-square-foot headquarters to be built by Newport Beach-based developer and landlord Irvine Company. The building at 650 Newport Center Drive is going up a few blocks from Pimco's existing headquarters, which it leases from Irvine Co.

Construction of the 20-story tower is expected to finish by mid-2013.

Anyway you figure the shifts, additions and new address, Gross remains in the upper-echelon of the wealthy here.

Gross' compensation and investments aren't public. This year's estimate follows an upward revision a year ago.

Last year Pimco saw a big milestone when it surpassed $1 trillion in assets under management for the first time.

Gross is Pimco's co-chief investment officer, guiding investments with Chief Executive Mohamed El-Erian.

Part of Gross' wealth comes from the 2000 sale of Pimco to Germany's Allianz SE for $4.7 billion. Gross is believed to have received $400 million in the sale.

On top ofthat, Gross reportedly has been paid a sports-star-type salary plus bonuses. Before Pimco's sale, he's believed to have collected big dividends based on the performance of his funds.

Humble and almost shy. Gross got his first taste of money management playing blackjack, turning $200 into $10,000 in four months. He also ran a Kentucky Derby pool while at North Carolina's Duke University.

After earning an MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles, Gross became a securities analyst at Newport Beach-based Pacific Life Insurance Co.

In 1971, Gross helped start Pimco within Pacific Life. The bond fund manager set off on its own in 1994 as Pimco Advisors.

An avid stamp collector. Gross has spent an estimated $100 million on his hobby. He's said to own every stamp produced in the U.S. from 1847 to 1869.

He sold $1.5 million worth of rare European stamps to benefit Doctors Without Borders, the latest in a series of sales to benefit charities. Last year, Gross gave $8 million to the National Postal Museum in Washington. D.C.

With his wife Sue, his other giving includes $23.5 million to Duke University for scholarships, $20 million to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian for its women's pavilion and $10 million to the University of California, Irvine. for stem cell research.

Two years ago the couple paid $23 million for an 11,000-square-foot Georgian -style mansion on a bayfront lot on Newport Beach's secluded Harbor Island.

They tore down the home, thought about and decided against building a new one, and a few months ago listed the now-empty lot for sale at $26.5 million.

- Jerry Sullivan 8 HENRY NICHOLAS Cofounder, Broadcom Corp.

estimated worth: $1.6 billion Henry Nicholas has spent the last few years repairing an image tarnished by a lengthy legal battle over accusations of stock options backdating and a reputation for hard partying.

He's spared no cost in clearing his name in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion, enlisting an all-star cast of attorneys, public relations experts and consultants.

Those expenses and a pending divorce settlement led to a big drop in our estimate on Nicholas, which is down from $2 billion last year.

In March he closed another chapter in his life when he and Broadcom Corp. cofounder Henry Samueli agreed to pay the company more than $50 million to resolve a shareholder lawsuit dealing wilh stock options backdating.

Nicholas is set to pay nearly $27 million under the agreement.

The Daily Journal, a legal newspaper in Los Angeles, pegged Broadcom's legal costs at more than $100 million, citing a 2010 motion to dismiss the lawsuit by one of the company's lawyers.

Last year a federal judge threw out the government's case, citing a lack of evidence and prosecutor misconduct. Separate drug charges against Nicholas also were dismissed.

Nicholas had pleaded not guilty in both matters.

The cases could have dragged on for years and had the potential to put a much bigger dent in Nicholas' wealth.

Nicholas has tried to keep details of his divorce settlement sealed in the courts, but a records request by the L.A. Times shed light on $1 billion in property shared by the couple.

We estimate the divorce settlement, legal fees and other hits trimmed about $400 million from his wealth.

Like Broadcom cofounder and Chief Technology Officer Henry Samueli, Nicholas has been steadily selling shares of Broadcom, which makes chips that go into computers, cell phones and consumer electronics.

Nicholas is co-trustee of the Nicholas Broadcom Trust, along with his ex-wife. The trust holds about 26 million Broadcom shares with a recent market value of about $960 million. He's sold an estimated $1.2 billion in shares since the company went public in 1998.

Nicholas continues his activism on behalf of crime victims' rights and philanthropy that aims to boost education.

Victims' rights struck a personal chord with his sister's murder decades ago. He was a driving force in efforts to stop Proposition 66, a statewide referendum that aimed to weaken the three-strikes law, a proposal many victims' right advocates saw as watering it down.

He's also big on philanthropy that aims to boost education.

His Nicholas Academic Centers in Santa Ana graduated 60 seniors this year who all plan to attend college in the fall. The centers offer afterschool tutoring, computers and mentoring programs. Nicholas is talking with Governor Jerry Brown about ways to take the concept behind the school statewide.

He has given to the engineering and computer science programs at the University of California, Irvine. where he established the Nicholas Prize research grants.

Nicholas also gives to Pacific Symphony, Habitat for Humanity, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and the Oakland Military Institute, among others.

He's made some media-friendly appearances recently at charitable events, social galas and education-related events.

- Chris- Casacckia 9 GEORGE ARGYROS Owner, chairman, chief executive, Arnel & Affiliates; limited partner, Westar Capital LLC estimated worth: $1.3 billion George Argyros remains one of OC's richest real estate owners, although he's likely made as much, if not more, money from his non-real estate investments in the past year.

We've estimated Argyros at $1.3 billion this year, up from $1 billion a year ago.

That increase is a reflection of big gains for one of Argyros' key stock holdings as well as a generally improving market in pricing for commercial real estate, especially for apartments.

Despite the increase, our estimate falls short from that of Forbes, which put Argyros at $1.7 billion on the magazine's March list of global billionaires. That figure's up from Forbes' prior estimate of $1.5 billion for Argyros.

Argyros can thank the performance of DST Systems IDC. for much of this year's jump. He's the largest individual investor in the Kansas City, Mo.-based software company, with nearly 10 million shares, good for a market value of about $530 million at recent check.

DST's shares are up about 30% in the past 12 months, and the company has been getting buyout offers. Argyros has said he thinks the company's stock should be valued by as much as 30% higher, a level last seen in 2007.

DST is an early investment of Costa Mesa's Westar Capital LLC, Argyros' investment firm.

On the real estate front, Argyros owns Costa Mesa-based Arnel & Affiliates, a development and investment company he started in 1968.

Amel has close to 5,500 apañmenls and some 2 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space in and around Orange County.

Among its holdings are the 280,000-squarefoot Metro Pointe shopping center in Costa Mesa and the 356,000-square-foot Puente Hills Business Center in City of Industry.

Conservatively factoring in debt, the Business Journal last year estimated Argyros' wealth from real estate to be worth close to $600 million.

This year, we've bumped that estimate up to the $700 million range. In particular, the value of his apartment holdings, which we previously estimated to have fallen 25% or more during the recession, are moving up again, due to lower cap rates and higher rents. Other properties are likely up 10% or more from a year ago.

Argyros also counts a small stake in Sania Ana's First American Financial Corp., where he's a director, and recent First American spinoff CoreLogic Inc., which is headquartered in Santa Ana.

Argyros also owns shares in Costa Mesabased Pacific Mercantile Bancorp, where he's a director of the bank holding company.

Born in Detroit and raised in Pasadena, Argyros graduated from Chapman University in 1959 with a major in business and economics.

He also attended Michigan State University.

Argyros served as chairman of Chapman's board of trustees from 1976 until his 2001 appointment by President George W. Bush as ambassador to Spain.

He rejoined Chapman as a trustee upon his return three years later. Argyros is one of the school's biggest benefactors. He and wife Julia also give large donations to several causes.

-Mark Mitelier 10 CAROUHE GETTY. HEIRESS TO J. PAULGEHY Governing Council officer, The Wilderness Society estimated worth: $1 billion 10 ANNE CATHERINE GETTY EARHART, HEIRESS TO J. PAUL GETTY Founder, president, Marisla Foundation estimated worth: $1 billion Caroline Getty and sister Anne Catherine Getty Earhart keep a low profile while funding environmental and Democratic causes with their oil inheritance.

They're granddaughters of late oil tycoon J. Paul Getty.

The sisters are two of the nation's richest women and are among 1 6 grandchildren of the autocratic billionaire.

We estimate their worth at $1 billion. Thai's based on a longstanding conservative analysis thai continues with a 10% gain this year, which we view as likely with the strong stock market and increases in values on other asset classes.

The sisters' wealth comes from J. Paul Getty, who struck oil in 1953 and founded Gerry Oil Co. in 1956. He died in 1976.

After a nine-year battle over Getty's will, a 1985 settlement gave Earhart. Caroline Getty and one other daughter of his late son George Franklin Getty II $750 million each.

The family sold part of Getty Oil to what's now Chevron Corp. for $10 billion in 1986. Caroline Geity and Earhart got an additional $400 million each from the sale.

They continue to give away money.

Earhart, 58, lives in Corona del Mar. She's founder of Laguna Beach 's Marisla Foundation, which unsuccessfully fought the San Joaquín Hills (73) Toll Road in the 1990s.

In 2008, Earhart gave richly to Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Al Franken.

in 2010, Earhart supported the successful fight against Proposition 23, which sought to suspend global warming laws. Earhart also supported the successful "Yes on Proposition 22," which prohibits the state from redirecting funds from local governments.

Marisla Foundation had about $62 million in assets in 2009. The foundation has helped fund the preservation of coral reefs on the island of Menjangan off the coast of Bali, Indonesia.

Getty, 53, also is an environmental activist. She's a member of the governing council of The Wilderness Society and has served on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

- Sherri Cruz 10 PAUL MERABE Chairman, MfG Capital LLC, formerly Falcon Investment Group estimated worth: $1 billion The Iranian- American entrepreneur saw a demand and filled it, launching him to wealthy status. Merage and his brother, David Merage, came up with Hot Pockets.

Together, they sold their Colorado-based Cbef America Inc. to Nestle SA for $2.6 billion in 2002.

This year he joins the ranks of billionaires, a move that presumes we estimated low in prior years and he added at least 10% to his fortune as an investor in a market where stocks and other assets classes did well over the past 12 months.

The estimate for Merage is based largely on the Chef America sale, after factoring in ihe stake of his brother (who lives primarily in Colorado), as well as any other ownership stakes, debt and taxes.

Our estimate is likely still conservative. Merage was rich before selling Chef America and could be worth much more.

In OC, Merage is largely known for his phi-*' Janiliropy and family investment firm, Newport Beach-based MIG Capital LLC, formerly Falcon Investment Group LLC.

MIG Capital (Merage Investment Group) and affiliates MIG Absolute Return, MIG Real Estate (formerly Stoncridgc Capital Partners) and MIG Private Equity, collectively manage more than $1 billion in assets.

MIG Real Estate owns buildings in California, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Hawaii and Denver.

A good chunk of Merage's time is spent giving away money through the Merage Foundations.

The Merage Foundation for the American Dream focuses on immigration issues and chooses bright, graduating college seniors for $20,000 grants.

Merage himself is an immigrant, having come to the U.S. from Iran in the early 1960s.

His Children First foundation recruits skilled retirees to work in jobs in early childhood development with low-income kids.

The Merage Foundation for U.S.-Israel Trade seeks to promote business ties between the countries.

He's also a major benefactor to local Jewish causes, such as the Merage Jewish Community Center of Orange County in Irvine.

Merage is best known locally for his $30 million donation in 2005 to the University of California, Irvine's business school, which is named after him. He sits on the dean's advisory board at the business school.

He also has served on several boards, including those of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and the Pacific Symphony.

Merage's sprawling Newport Coast estate is featured on online luxury home sites.

-Sherri Cruz 13 WILLIAM LYON Chairman, chief executive, William Lyon Homes Inc.

estimated worth: $725 miliion The muddled fortunes of the homebuilding industry haven't helped provide much clarity for the wealth of Gen. William Lyon.

We've cut the estimate for the owner and chief executive of Newport Beach-based homebuilder William Lyon Homes Inc. by $50 million from last year to $725 million.

The decrease is the fourth we've made in the past five years for Lyon. At the peak of the housing boom, we conservatively estimated Lyon to be a billionaire.

This year's decline counts its share of guesswork, based on recent earnings and the value of land holdings for the privately held builder.

The company lost about $137 million in 2010 on revenue of about $295 million. It owns more than 10,100 lots and had options to purchase an additional 417 as of the end of 2010.

A bulk of its land holdings are in Southern California, which is seeing sluggish sales so far in 2Ol1 but holds the potential for big gains in value if a housing recovery takes hold.

Lyon took his company private in 2006. near the peak of the housing boom.

He bought out the rest of the company he didn't own for about $275 million. The deal valued William Lyon Homes at close to $950 million at the time.

The company's seen its share of losses since then, and has worked to improve its balance sheet.

In 2009, William Lyon Homes got $206 million in financing from Los Angeles-based real estate investor and private equity firm Colony Capital LLC. The company struck the deal to buy back debt and acquire land.

In regulatory filings made earlier this year, the company disclosed that its tangible net worth - the value of its land and other assets minus its liabilities - was $13 million at the end of 2010.

Colony Capital officials aren't fazed by thai, saying in regulatory filings the company "believes that the value of the collateral securing the loan is significantly in excess" of the unpaid balance on the senior secured loan, which still has a balance of $206 million.

The homebuilder is just part of the wealth of Lyon, who has been relinquishing more duties to his son, Bill H. Lyon, as president and chief operating officer.

Also part of his portfolio: Lyon Apartments Cos., which manages 11,000 apartments.

Many of apartments are believed to be owned by Lyon. Improved valuations for apartments over the past year likely countered much of any loss in value to his homebuilding operation.

Lyon also is known for his classic car and plane collection, estimated by some to be worth as much as $300 million. He has some 100 classic, antique cars, including 10 Duesenbergs. of which only 480 were made. He also has a collection of old warplanes and sponsors the Lyon Air Museum near John Wayne Airport.

Known as "The General," 88-year-old Lyon served as a flyer in the Pacific, European and North African theaters during World War II. He rose to chief of the U.S. Air Force Reserve before retiring from the military in 1979 as a major general.

He's one of the county's biggest philanthropists and supporters of Republican candidates.

-Mark Mueller 14 RONALD SIMON Founder, chairman, RSi Holding Corp.

estimated worth: $75 billion Ron Simon's new gig is selling homes in a market where home sales are few and far between.

Simon is founder and chairman of Newport Beach-based RSI Holding Corp.. the parent company of household cabinet maker RSl Home Products Inc.

We estimate Simon's wealth at $675 million, up from $650 million a year ago, based on a modest increase in the shares of building products companies over the past year, his new business and the chunk of wealth he likely invests in other places, including stock and other asset classes that have seen gains.

In 2008, Simon sold half of RSI to Canada's Onex Corp. for S3 1 8 million.

Like others in the housing industry. RSI is believed to have felt the industry's slowdown in 2008 and 2009. But after bottoming out in 2009, some publicly traded rivals have begun to see a rebound, including a rise of about 10% in the past year.

In 2009, Simon started a homcbuiiding business, RSI Development. The venture has $100 million in tunding and builds easily assembled, low-priced homes.

The new venture's seen some success. Last month the company announced selling out all 103 homes at its initial development in Menifee, east of Temecula. It was the top-selling development in the Inland Empire's hard-hit housing market of late, according to market watchers.

RSI Development also is building in Buena Park and elsewhere in the Inland Empire. It's unclear how much of the $100 million investment in RSI Development comes directly from Simon. The new company is reportedly making a profit (see Serial Entrepreneurs, page 1 ).

Simon was bom in East Los .Angeles to a Russian mother and English father.

After studying engineering at Los Angeles City College, Simon wanted to start his own business. Instead, his father convinced him to join his medicine cabinet business, Perma-Bilt.

Simon eventually took control and grew ii (o be the largest maker of medicine cabinets, vanities and marble countertops.

In 1987. he sold it to an Australian company at a time when Asian manufacturers were making it tougher to compete.

Simon, who had stayed on as a Perma-Bilt director, came up with a plan to compete that was rejected by the new owners. So he took the plan and founded RSI. A few years later PermaBilt was out of business.

Philanthropy is big for Simon. His Ronald Simon Family Foundation has awarded more than 425 scholarships valued at about $14 million since 2003.

Simon also supports the arts, healthcare and other causes.

-Mark Mueller 15 VINCENT "VINNY" SMITH Executive chairman, Quest Software Inc.

estimated worth: $650 million Higher sales and an uptick in share price at Auso Viejo 's Quest Software Inc. have boosted the wealth of its unassuming Strategie guru.

While Vincent "Vinny" Smith prefers to stay behind the curtain of the county's largest publicly traded software company, his influence is center stage.

Quest has been on a buying spree during the last year as it picked up security-related technologies and rolled them into its product lineup. H also has made several investments and partnerships to bolster its position in that segment.

Its security software suite aims to help make corporate networks more secure and help companies verify to auditors and others that they're protecting them.

Smith, the chairman and former chief executive, heads up the company's strategic buying. He turned over daily operations to current Chief Executive Doug Garn in 2008 after more than a decade in the role.

The company's shares are about flat in the last 12 months to a recent market value of about $1.7 billion.

We've estimated Smith at $650 million this year, up from $625 million last year, based on his Quest holdings and a revaluation of his worth.

Smith owns 31 million shares with a recent market value of about $590 million.

An expected rebound in corporate spending, coupled with the ongoing economic recovery, is expected to give the business software maker a boost this year.

Quest topped $784 million in revenue in the 12 months through March, up nearly 12% from a year earlier.

Quest malves software that helps corporations become more efficient by improving on existing applications by Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and others.

Smith's a low-key multimillionaire who goes by Vinny and often sports jeans and a cap.

Known as a savvy investor, Smith has said he likes to dabble in various ventures, including real estate and restaurants.

Smith started his career with Oracle after graduating from the University of Delaware in 1986. In 1992, he started San Francisco's Patrol Software with an Oracle colleague. BMC Software Inc. bought Patrol in 1994.

Smith's interest in Quest grew through an investment his Insight Capital Partners made in 1995. He took a seat on Quest's board and gradually became more involved, becoming chief executive in 1997 and chairman a year later after leaving a life on the Colorado ski slopes.

Smith supports several charitable causes, including the Miocean Foundation, Augie's Quest for Lou Gehrig's disease and various kids programs.

-Chris Cosacchia 16 JANIE TSAO President, Mive Venture Partners VICTOR TSAO General partner, Miven Venture Partners estimated worth: $600 million Janie and Victor Tsao, one of Orange County's wealthiest business couples, like to keep a rather low profile in their ventures.

It's been that way since they sold Links) s Group Inc. to Cisco Systems Inc. for $500 million in 2003. They stayed on for a while after the deal closed, working for Cisco in China, but cut ties since then.

Cisco largely has absorbed Linksys, a top maker of routers and other home networking gear. Its campus near the University of California. Irvine, became a hub for Cisco's consumer efforts, which are aimed ai spurring sales of the company's routers. The pending shutdown of the company's Flip video camera operation and recent disappointing results now has Cisco making cutbacks in Irvine and companywide.

The Tsaos run Miven Ventures Partners, a $100 million venture fund. The company doesn't have a websitc and rarely touts a financing deal, but we did find a few investments it made in the past year.

In June Miven participated in a $24 million third-round financing for ViVOtech Inc., a Santa Clara software maker for business payment and marketing. The company has raised some $75 million. Miven, a prior investor, could be in for a payday down the road if its planned initial public offering comes to fruition.

Late last year the venture capital firm joined a handful of investors in a $12 million financing round for Celeno Communications, an Israeli chipmaker that specializes in Wi-Fi applications for high-definition video in homes.

Miven had been a previous investor in the company.

Victor Tsao spends a few months of each year on the road, looking for investments in Silicon Valley, China. India, Israel and Vietnam.

Janie Tsao is president of Miven and runs day-to-day operations. She also does startup advisory work and heads the Tsao Family Foundation.

A few of Miven 's investments didn't survive the recent recession.

Sunnyvale-based Tzero Technologies Inc. shut down in 2009. India's TechTribe Networks, a job referral website, was said to be looking for a buyer.

Miven scored a win las! year with Sunnyvale's ZeroG Wireless inc., which was bought by Arizona's Microchip Technology Inc. for undisclosed terms.

We estimate the Tsaos at S600 million, up about 10% from a year ago, based on the assumption that their investment savvy was good for at least that much over the past 12 months.

Our estimate of their wealth begins with the sale to Cisco and other investments they're said to have made since then. They are believed to have diversified out of most Cisco shares.

Both serve on various advisory boards for startups and continue giving to causes in education and medical research, among others.

The Miven Venture Partners Scholarship was established by the Tsao Family Foundation and Miven Venture Partners at California State University, Fullerton, to support students who need financial assistance.

Victor Tsao is big on mentoring entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China, where both of the Tsaos were bom.

- Chris Casacchia 17 HOWARD AHMANSON JR.

Trustee, Fieldstead and Co.

estimated worth: $575 million Howard Ahmanson, a banking fortune heir known for funding religious and conservative causes, has a new home, an Old World-style mansion spanning three lots on Corona del Mar's Ocean Boulevard.

Ahmanson finished the estate in late 2010.

The 12,000-square-foot home, estimated to be worth about $30 million, is called Casa de Los Peregrinos, or house of the pilgrims. It has a backyard chapel.

The house, with its rustic touches, unique look and stunning ocean views, draws a lot of attention from neighbors and passersby.

It also speaks to the tastes, wealth and idiosyncrasies of its owner.

Ahmanson is a big financier of conservative Christian cultural, religious and political causes.

He gave $1.1 million to support Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California. He's a board member of Seattle-based Discovery Institute, known for its advocacy of intelligent design.

Ahmanson also serves on the boards of-John M. Perkins Foundation in Jackson, Miss., and the Claremont Institute.

He's been a big supporter of Tustin-based Orange County Rescue Mission.

He's feared by critics on the left who see him as a behind-the-scenes adversary on key issues.

But Ahmanson likely is more complex than some foes make him out to be.

He surprised many in 2009 when he said he registered as a Democrat because he was turned off by the California Republican Party's sole focus on resisting new taxes. He now considers himself a conservative Democrat.

Ahmanson and wife Roberta do a lot of humanitarian work on race relations, feeding the hungry and other causes.

Lending to Ahmanson's mystique is that he's somewhat reclusive. He suffers from Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder that can result in involuntary body movements and repetitive, compulsive thoughts.

Roberta is a former religion writer for the Orange County Register and author of "Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion." She's a collector of Christian art and a director of the Museum of Biblical Art in New York.

We estimate Ahmanson's wealth at $575 million, up about 5% after considering the strong stock market with an offset for his giving.

Our estimate is conservative, and Ahmanson could be worth more.

His father, Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson Sr., started and grew Home Savings & Loan, which was bought for $10 billion in 1998 by Washington Mutual Inc.

The elder Ahmanson spent much of his later years as a philanthropist, creating the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles and the Ahmanson Gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

When Ahmanson Sr. died in 1968, his estate was split between the Ahmanson Foundation and lhen-1 8-year-old Howard Ahmanson Jr. Today, the foundation, of which Ahmanson is a trusiee, has $949 million in assets and gave $43 million in the year through October.

- Sherri Cruz 18 LYNSI MARTINEZ Owner, president, director, In-N-Out Burgers Inc.

estimated worth: $500 million A push into Texas earlier this year gave an extra boost to In-N-Out Burgers Inc., if long lines at recent grand openings are any indication.

The Irvine-based company's 29-year-old heiress expanded the chain into new territory a year after becoming president.

Martínez replaced Mark Taylor - the brotherin-law of one of her half-sisters - who is now the company's chief operating officer.

In-N-Out now has Texas restaurants in Frisco, Alien and Dallas with plans to open six more in the state.

Texas is a big move for In-N-Out, which has 259 restaurants.

Growth in prior years had been concentrated in a 500-mile radius around the company's Baldwin Park distribution center.

The distribution center is where In-N-Out's secret blend of ground beef from local suppliers is made into burger patties and sent to restaurants daily, leaving the freezer out of the equation for its meat and fries.

In-N-Out is operating out of a temporary processing and distribution center near Dallas until a permanent location is found.

Besides California and Texas, In-N-Out has restaurants in Arizona, Nevada and Utah.

In-N-Ouf s estimated annual revenue is $500 million.

We estimate Martinez's wealth up from $475 million last year. That's based on sales growth from new locations, including in Texas, where the chain scored an immediate hit with customers and managed to replicate its unique distribution system to meet demand.

Martínez doesn't own the entire company - noi yet, anyway.

We allocated In-N-Out's full value to Martínez on the expected fortune coming her way.

She owns a third of In-N-Out's holding trusts. Next year, she'll own half and by 2016 Martínez is expected to own the entire company.

Martinez's grandparents are the late Harry and Esther Snyder, who opened the chain's first restaurant in Baldwin Park in 1948.

A set of unfortunate circumstances within the family sped up Martinez's ascension and stake in the company.

Before she became president, she had been a director and was involved with the In-N-Out Foundation.

When Martinez's grandfather Harry Snyder passed away in 1976, her uncle Rich Snyder took over the helm of the company.

Martinez's father, Guy Snyder, led In-N-Out when Rich Snyder passed away after a 1993 plane crash.

Guy Snyder died from a prescription drug overdose six years later.

Esther Snyder served as In-N-Out's president until her death in 2006.

In-N-Out keeps out of the media spotlight but couldn't avoid it in 2005 when former executive Richard Boyd filed a lawsuit alleging Martínez was attempting to remove her grandmother from the top spot. The company filed a countersuit accusing Boyd of embezzlement and fraud.

The matter was settled in 2006.

-Kari Hamanaka 19 ANTHONY MAGLICA Founder, president, owner, Mag Instruments Inc.

estimated worth: $400 million Anthony Maglica's riches come from a common household item: the flashlight.

The Anaheim Hills resident owns and runs Ontario-based flashlight maker Mag Instruments Inc., which sells products to everyone from everyday shoppers to firelighters and police officers.

We estimate Maglica's worth at $400 million, unchanged from last year, based on prior estimates and the steady strength of his core business.

Maglica also holds hundreds of patents for his inventions.

Plus. Mag Instruments is known for aggressive enforcement of its intellectual property rights, having won some multimillion-dollar decisions along with out-of-court settlements that also included compensation.

Last year. Mag Instruments bought Germany's E uba ma Eugen Bader Maschinebau GmbH, a seller of rotary transfer machines used to cut metal.

The company could be an attractive buy for private equity firms or companies such as $l. Louis-based Energizer Holdings Inc., but Maglica has shown no interest in selling the business.

His two sons are said to be the most likely candidates to take over the company when Maglica retires.

Until men, Maglica can still be found on the shop floor tinkering with prototypes. Maglica founded his company in 1974 and trademarked the company's first flashlight in 1979.

He had originally intended the flashlight to be used within the public safety sector.

The popularity of the Maglite among police officers and tirefighters spread.

New versions of the Maglite - including rechargeable and personal-sized ones - helped broaden the company's appeal.

Maglica was born in New York but grew up in Croatia.

He left for the United States in 1950 when communists took control of the country.

Maglica picked up what jobs he could while slowly teaching himself English.

He found a job as a machinist and saved up $125. It was just enough for a down payment on a lathe to start his own machine shop building parts for aerospace companies and the military.

Magfica's personal life made headlines in the 1990s when he went through a palimony case with former longtime girlfriend Claire Halasz.

Halasz asked for $150 million, but the case was settled for about $30 million.

- Karl Hamanaka 19 SHELDON RAZIN Founder, chairman, Quality Systems Inc.

estimated worth: $400 million Boston native Sheldon Razin, who years earlier turned $2,000 into fast-growing Irvine medical software maker Quality Systems Inc., is starting to see a bounce from bealthcarc reform.

Quality, which had a $2.6 billion market value at recent check, is getting benefits from the $20 billion in healthcare information technology spending that came from last year's heallhcare reform law.

The company makes software thai helps doctors and dcntisls manage their practices and has begun to get into making medical record software for smaller hospitals. (L:ven though Quality is seen by analysts as benefiting from health reform. Razin was critical of if because he contended it was about shifting costs rather than containing them).

Quality Systems has been a longtime Wall Street darling. The company's shares are up more than 3,000% since early 2000. After some cooling, il's regained momentum - shares are up 56% over the past 12 months.

Razin, 73, owns 5. 1 million shares of Quality. a 1 7% stake with a receñí market value of nearly $460 million. Our estimate of his wealth is up by $100 million this year, based mostly on Quality's share price and some assumptions of other investments. Wc have tried to account for past stock sales, the cosi of exercising options and taxes.

Razin's Quality has grown through doctors' and dentists' adoption of technology to create "paperless offices." It has its roots in a management consulting business Razin started in the early 1970s.

Quality began selling to dentists, then added doctors and went public in 1982, raising $11 million.

Razin holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before starting Quality, he held various technical and managerial positions with former Orange County aerospace company Rockwell International Corp.

He has given to MIT, the Chabad Jewish Center of Laguna Beach and the Alzhcimer's Association.

In March, Razin was named a director of the year by the Forum for Corporate Directors for his contributions to Quality's growth.

A married father of two and grandfather of five, Razin said he follows the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as well as the Boston Red Sox.

-Vila Reed 21 JAMES DOWNEY Owner, Wave Equity Partners LLC esumateci worth: $375 million James Downey cashed out in a wave of consolidation in the aerospace industry in the 200Os.

We estimate his wealth at $375 million based on the sale of his C&D Aerospace in Hunlington Beach to France's Zodiac SA for $600 million in 2005.

Our estimate is based on the sale, and we tried to factor in other owners and debt. We've increased it by $25 million to reflect the strong stock market and gains in other asset classes, with some give-back based on his generosity.

Childhood friend Toby Crowley was the other founder of C&D, which was launched in 1972.

The company now goes by C&D Zodiac Inc. and makes commercial and military aircraft cabin fixtures, including overhead bins, cabin lighting and reinforced cockpit doors.

Downey now oversees Aliso Vieio-based family investment firm Wave Equity Partners LLC. He keeps a low profile. Since the C&D sale, he's given millions through his foundations.

His Aliso Vicjo-based Downcy-Short Foundation supports patients undergoing cancer treatment. It has $4 million in assets. The James E, Downey Foundation, with about $3 million in assets, has given scholarships to more than 200 college students in Orange County and Illinois. Hc also supports education in Brazil.

Downey's estimated giving through 2010 is $14 million.

- Sheiri Cruz 21 FARIBORZ MASEEH Founder, managing principal. Picoco LLC estimated worth: $375 million Enginecr-mrned-fmancier Fari bor/ Maseeh has a new passion: the fight against autism.

Mascch, who has become a leading philanthropist in Orange County in recent years, established the Kids Institute for Development and Advancement in Irvine three years ago.

New passions come naturally to Maseeh. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology -irai ned pioneer in microelcetromerîiamt1;)! systems cashed out the software company he built with a $750 million siile lo Corning Inc. J decade ago. Now he manages several hedge funds and other assets through his Picoeo LLC in Newport Beach.

Maseeh's giving is just as varied and innovative. The nonprofit autism education and treatment center is set to relocate from its 10,000square-foot space to a 50.000-square-foot building that's being touted as the first of its kind for education, therapy and medical support in one location.

"One of the main aims of my life now is to create a center of excellence dedicated to autism treatment ihat is the best in the world" said Maseeh, a parent of an autistic child.

In September the institute will host a national conference on autism at the University of California, Irvine, that will focus on the family and new technologies to aid treatment.

Maseeh founded and ran IntelliSense Corp.. a Massachusetts maker of software for the microscopic machines that run on a chip. MEMs, as they're called, go into a variety of devices, including pacemakers and aircraft landing gear.

He ran the the company from 1991 until the sale to Coming Inc. was completed with the second ? G two transactions in 2000.

Our S375 million estimate for Mascch is based on the sale and presumption that he exiled some of his Corning shares before the stock crashed in 2001. He could be worth more.

Without a good read on his investments, we opted to leave our estimate for him unchanged from a year ago. We assume he had some gains in his portfolio, but also note some big gifts that likely offset some of the increase.

We do know that he bought Corona del Mar's Portabello Estate late last year in what appears to be the most expensive home sale OC's ever seen, topping a $35 million sale in 2008 of a Newport Bay mansion previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage.

The deal also reportedly included the transfer of a property valued at roughly $7 million to the estate's seller, Frank Prilt. founder of Seattle software maker Attachmate Corp. That upped the price tag to $41.1 million for the tripleoceanfront lot with a panoramic view of the Pacific, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Portabello has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms. a three-story grotto with two pools, two spas and a swim-up bar, a two-lane bowling alley, an auto museum, an art deco theater and a 2,000squarc-foot master bedroom suite.

He gives via the Massiah Foundation, which makes investments in education, science, heallhcare, the arts and humanities.

Last fall Maseeh donated $24 million to build a new residential complex at MIT, which will enable the school to more than double undergraduate enrollment to some 400 students. Earlier this year, the University of Southern California's Vitcrbi School of Engineering held the first Maseeh Entreprencurship Prize Competition, the result of his $1 million gift to annually recognize the best business plan written by engineering students.

Maseeh has given $12 million to Portland State University in Oregon, where he did undergraduate work, to support the school of engineering and the math and statistics department, both named after him.

His foundation also created several student awards at Portland State's school of arts in honor of Masedi 's iaie sisîer, Kamelja Massih.

Maseeh started the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture at UC Irvine and gives to its Samueli School of Engineering.

He is a past recipient of the UC Irvine Medal, the school's highest honor. He also has supported Hoag Hospital and Children's Hospital of Orange County.

Maseeh's a member of (he Samueli School of Engineering advisory1 board at UCI and serves on similar boards at Portland State. MIT and USC.

In May he was named a 2011 Distinguished Graduate of the University of Texas' Cockrell School of Engineering, the school's highest alumni award.

Maseeh grew up in Tehran. Iran, and came to the U.S. at 18.

-Chris Ciisacchia 21 DUANE ROBERTS Chairman, chief executive.

Entrepreneurial Corporate Group estimated worth: $375 million Duane Roberts, known for saving and restoring the landmark Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, made his early fortune in food.

He since has diversified into real estate and other investments.

We estimate Roberts' wealth at $375 million, the same as last year, based in part on his holdings in the lagging Inland Empire.

Besides the Mission Inn. his businesses include British food manufacturers, restaurants and apartments.

He lives in Laguna Beach and runs his businesses from Newport Beach-based Entrepreneurial Corporate Group. He also frequents his native Riverside.

In 2010, Roberts launched another venture, Casey's Cupcakes, with his wife, Kelly, and stepdaughter, Casey Rcinhardt, who appeared on a reality TV show called Laguna Beach.

Casey's cupcakes has two stores - one at the Mission Inn and another in Laguna Beach, with stores in Newport Beach and Irvine under construction.

In 1950. his dad. Harry Roberts, started Butcher Boy Food Products Inc., a meat company that was a supplier of hamburger patties to the original McDonald's drive-in and other fastfood operators. Roberts dropped out of college to help his dad.

While working at Butcher Boy, Roberts, then 19. came up with what is billed as the first frozen burrito. At 27, Roberts became president and built Butcher Boy to six plants and 1,400 workers.

By the time the family sold the business to Central Soya Inc. in 1 980, Butcher Boy had an estimated $85 million in yearly sales.

Roberts went on to sell another burrito company. Fernán do 's Foods, to Omaha, Neb.based ConAgra Foods Inc. in the late 1 99Os for about $35 million in ConAgra stock.

Roberts took his Mexican food fortune and branched out into real estate, as well as banking and other investments.

He's spread his wealth. Roberts built a 1 7, 000 -square-foot pet adoption center named after his mother, the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center. He is a major long-term supporter of Santa Ana-based Olive Crest Children Treatment Centers Inc. He's given "seven figures" to Pepperdine University, where his stepdaughter went to school.

The Mission Inn. which Roberts saved more than 18 years ago after it had been closed for eight years, has been the site of many Republican fundraisers.

- Sheiri Cruz 24 PETER COOPER Founder, executive chairman, Cooper and Co.

estimated worth: $325 million New Zealand native Peter Cooper made a fortune in the U.S. and is putting part of it to work in his homeland.

Cooper, a real estate developer and investor ivho spiffs his lime between Newport Beach and New Zealand, is heading up a massive redevelopment of the rundown waterfront of Auckland's Britomart precinct.

The project now is in its seventh year, and includes new offices, stores and apartments, and the restoration of historic buildings.

The New Zealand project has seen changes in financiers, development plans and some retailers during the downturn.

Cooper remains in charge of the project.

After dropping our estimate of Cooper's wealth during the worst of the global downturn, we've kept the same $325 million eslimate on this year's list, based on the reported progress of the project over the past year.

Britomart is lhe largest project right now for Newport Beach-based Cooper and Co.. which develops, manages and owns real estate in the U.S. and New Zealand. Cooper also invests in clean energy, financial and other companies.

In the 1990s, Cooper and partner Brian Stebbins sold a handful of U.S. shopping centers for about $180 million and went on to develop Southlake Town Square, a mall and residential center near Dallas.

Cooper also is undertaking a labor of love in his homeland - he's built a 16,000-square-foot home on 4 acres on the northern coast of New Zealand.

The home is part of Cooper's Mountain Landing development of custom home sites, which also has been slowed by the downturn.

The son of a truck driver. Cooper studied law in Auckland. He began his career as a real estate lawyer with Russell McVeagh. one of New Zealand's largest law firms.

He went on to work for Australian beer brewer Lion Nathan Ltd.

Cooper came to the U. S. in 1989 with his wife and five children. He's on the board of directors for Georgetown University.

-Mark Mueller 24 FLETCHER "TED" JONES JR.

Chief executive, president.

Fletcher Jones Management Group Inc.

estimated worth: $325 million Fletcher "Ted" Jones Jr.'s auto empire includes the top Mercedes-Benz dealer in the nation, Fletcher Jones Motorcars in Newport Beach.

We estimate Jones' wealth at $325 million, the same as last year. Although luxury car sales are up in recent months, they lagged in 2010 as the industry recovered from the worst downturn in recent memory.

Our estimate is based on a valuation of Las Vegas-based Fletcher Jones Management Group Inc. after subtracting a portion for debt and any other owners.

Jones, whose father started in the auto business in 1946, sells Mercedes-Benz. Porsche, Toyota and other brands at dealerships in Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada and California. His Fletcher Jones Motorcars is the county's largest dealership by revenue and second in the country after Longo Toyota in El Monte.

The group of 16 dealers has annual sales of about $1.6 billion, with the Newport Beach dealership accounting for about $400 million. His most expansive dealership is the 225,000square-foot Fletcher Jones Imports, a Las Vegas Mercedes dealer modeled after the one in Newport Beach.

Jones recently finished a remodel of the Newport Beach dealership showroom. He plans to open a Mercedes dealership in Ontario in 2012.

Jones has a home in Peninsula Point in Newport Beach and an office at Fletcher Jones Motorcars, where general manager Garth Blumenthal oversees day-to-day business.

He recently bought Billy's at the Beach on Pacific Coast Highway, a favored hangout of his that now operates under the guidance of his wife, Kimberly.

His dealerships contribute to several charities through sponsorships, the Fletcher Jones School Fund and golf tournaments.

- Sherri Cruz 26 MICHAFL HARRAH Owner, president, Caribou Industries inc.

estimated worth: $380 minion He's Santa Ana's largest commercial real estate owner. But Michael Harrah, the man known as "Big Mike," still is waiting to become that city's largest office developer.

Harrah owns close to 4 million square feet of commercial space in downtown Santa Ana and around the Civic Center.

He also owns close to a quarter of Santa Ana's office buildings - some 50- plus a handful of stores and restaurants.

We estimate Harrah's wealth to have held steady at $300 million this year, based on his real estate holdings and Santa Ana's Caribou Industries Inc., a development, construction and property management company he owns. Caribou is one of Orange County's larger tenant improvement construction companies.

Harrah has minimal debt on his buildings, many of which were bought cheap during Santa Ana's downtrodden days in the 1980s.

Older buildings in and around Santa Ana haven't seen as much of a rebound in pricing in Orange County as their newer counterparts in other areas of the county over the past year. That's one reason we haven't bumped up Harrah's wealth this year, as we have with other area commercial real estate owners.

At the peak of the market in 2007. we valued Harrah at $500 million.

His long- stall ed, 31-story One Broadway Plaza tower in the heart of Santa Ana - first approved in 2004 - got a boost last year when the city waived a rule requiring Harrah to lease half of the proposed 530,000-square-foot tower before starting construction.

Complaints could lead to another delay. A court ruling announced last month called on city officials to put the waiver to a citywide vote.

Harrah could be in line for a boost in his wealth next year based on recent buzz that he has a tenant lined up that will put him over the 50% mark on One Broadway and eliminate the need for another vote and further delay.

Beyond Santa Ana. Harrah's company has built condominium towers and parking lots in Hawaii, among other projects.

Recent projects he's worked on include the Pinnacle Honolulu, a 36-story condominium tower in Hawaii. Harrah also owns a Honolulu hotel. Other assets include jets, helicopters and a collection of rare automobiles.

Along with the Orange County High School of the Arts, Harrah supports the Boys & Girls Club, Drug Abuse Resistance Education and the Child Abuse Prevention Center of Orange County.

-Mark Mueller 26 STACEY E. NICHOLAS Co-trustee, Nicholas Broadcom Trust estimated worth: $300 million Stacey E. Nicholas is a newcomer to the lisi this year as co-trustee and co-settlor of the Nicholas Broadcom Trust and. more notably, the former wife of Henry Nicholas, No. 8 on this year's list.

The trust includes about 26.2 million Broadcom Corp. shares. The gross value of half the trust currently is about $480 million.

The Business Journal pegs Slacey's estimated worth at $300 million based on the value of those shares and other property and assets she likely retained from her 20-pius-year marriage to Nicholas, cofounder and former chief executive of Irvine chipmaker Broadcom Corp.

Stacey (maiden name Feller) married Nicholas in 1987.

She first filed for divorce in 2002, a year before her husband stepped down as Broadcom's chief executive.

The couple apparently attempted reconciliation before divorce proceedings resumed in 2006.

The divorce became final in 2008, and details of the financial settlement arc still being hammered out.

Stacey holds a bachelor's degree and masters' in electrical engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was an electrical engineer at the now-defunct defense contractor TRW Corp., where she met Nicholas.

TRW was also where Nicholas met Broadcom cofounder Henry Samueli.

Stacey is on the board of the Pacific Symphony and vice president of the board of trustees of St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano. Her eldest son graduated from St. Margaret's this year and is attending Dartmouth College. She and Nicholas are also the parents of another son and a daughter.

-Emily Weisburg 26 PAWAN SETH Drug developer, founder, Pharma Pass LLC estimated worth: $300 million Pawan SeIh, a drug developer and inventor, is in his second year on OC's Wealthiest list after years on our list of Other Centimillionaires.

Seth made our main ranking based on input from several sources.

His wealth from patents and development deals isn't easily discernable, and we've kept him even with last year's estimate of $300 million.

Seth established Pharma Pass LLC. a developer of ways to control the release and boost the effectiveness of drugs.

He's perhaps best known as the creator of Wellbutrin XL, a once-daily, time-release version of the anti -depressant that has maintained a loyal following despite competition from generic alternatives.

Seth has a longtime relationship with Biovail Corp., a large Canadian drug maker that bought Va lea n t Pharmaceuticals International, which was based in Aliso Viejo, last year.

Biovail bought products under development, technologies, intellectual properties and the assets of Pharma Pass LLC and Pharma Pass SA of France for $190 million in 2002.

Seth continued to independently work on drug development after the Biovail deal. He appears to have continued work at a successor company aptly named Pharma Pass Il LLC.

Seth still works with Biovail, with the two striking a deal for two drugs under development in 2008.

He also has the distinction of inventing the only generic version of Prilosec, a blockbuster heartburn drug that didn't infringe on patents held by Britain's AstraZeneca PLC. Seth's version of generic Prilosec is marketed by UCB SA of Belgium.

Seth is also a member of the oversight committee for the Richard and Mary Alien Diabetes Center at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach.

-Vila Reed 26 MICHAEL WILSON Chief executive, Makena Technologies Inc.

estimated worth: $300 million Former eBay Inc. executive Michael Wilson is trying to resurrect a virtual world he brought to life eight years ago with There.com.

Wilson's company, Makena Technologies Inc., wants the social media site to be a competitor of Second Life and Facebook. There.com users take on digital personas, participate in online activities and interact with each other.

The site generated money from members and advertising, with deals with Coca-Cola Co., Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and some clothing brands at one point.

Makena Technologies Inc. shut There.com down last year.

Wilson recently announced that There.com will reopen, sparking virtual joy among thousands of followers who keep tabs on him and respond to his frequent blog posts.

That same month some of the site's users were invited to try out an instant messaging service to check for bugs in claiming avatars, inventories and other abandoned items.

The site is expected to open some time this year as a paid service for visitors over the age of 18.

The cost will be at least $10 a month, according to a Wilson blog post shortly after the announcement.

"We don't know the opening date yet, but we do know we'll start with ThereIM," he wrote. "We've done some work to get ready for this, but clearly there's lots more to do." The relaunch has run into some glitches with the site moving from the company's dedicated servers to servers in the cloud run by Amazon Web Services.

Wilson works from Laguna Beach for Makena, which has its on-thc-books headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Wilson was employee No. 5 at eBay. He made millions in eBay's $63 million initial public offering in 1998 and its ensuing stock rise.

Our estimate for Wilson starts with his early eBay shares. He's likely lost some money on There.com. but that's been factored in for past years. This year we've increased the estimate $25 million based on the stock market's strong performance, with a slight offset for his new bet on There.com.

Wilson "retired" from eBay in 2001 as chief scientist and dabbled in startups. He moved to Laguna Beach in 2005.

In the mid-1990s, Wilson was hired as an engineer at eShop, a software company that was bought by Microsoft Corp. in 1996.

At eShop, Wilson met eBay founder Pierre Omidyar - who doesn't live in Orange County but is part of the ownership of Montage Laguna Beach resorts. At the time he was tinkering with the code for creating online auctions.

Wilson has said on his blog that he's working on "a number of commercial projects" at Makena but didn't give specifics.

He is involved with the Washington, D.C.based Maya Foundation, an education nonprofit, and is a cofounder of its sister group, the Tzec Maun Foundation, which provides students with access to telescopes and "Internet astronomy." He also gives to Child's Play, which gives sick kids video games during hospital stays, Ronald McDonald House in Palo Alto and Toys for Tots.

- Chris Cosachia 30 RlCK AVERSANO Cofounder, Qtera Corp., philanthropist estimated worth: $275 million Rick Avcrsano spends most of his time these days supporting the arts and other philanthropic endeavors in Orange County.

Aversano and wife Wcndy have a passion for community theater and support Irvine's Barclay Theatre, South Coast Repertory and the Laguna Playhouse.

Their wealth comes from his business ventures before he came to Orange County.

In 2000, he was part of a group that sold Boca Raton. FIa. -based Qtera Corp. to Nortel Networks Corp. for more than $3 billion.

Tlic founders struck it rich before they ever sold a product after developing a way to boost the distance and speed of data over fiber-optic cables, which was key to Nortcl's networking gear.

Avcrsano brokcred the Nortef deal.

We estimate Avcrsano at $275 million, up from $250 million a year ago. another increase based on gains in the stock market and other asset classes during the past 12 months.

That's largely based on his Qtcra stake at the time of the sale. We presume he sold at least some of his Nortel stock before it crashed in 2001.

Getting a read on Aversano's investments and worth has become more difficult with each passing year away from the spotlight.

He's now partly retired, overseeing investments and philanthropy.

Before Qtera, he was at a handful of startups.

He and his wife give to environmental groups, including the Surfrider Foundation, ocean conservation group Oceana and the Crystal Cove Alliance, which seeks to protect Crystal Cove State Park.

Last fall the couple attended an event for AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County, commemorating 25 years of fighting the disease. The gala in Laguna Beach was dubbed "The Red Ball 1985" and raised $300,000 for the foundation.

The Aversanos are big supporters of Democrats, including Loretta Sánchez, John Kerry, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Democratic National Committee. They gave some $50,000 to President Obama's inauguration bash.

They also give to the Laguna Art Museum and Olive Crest, which aims to prevent child abuse.

In 2008, the Aversanos sold a Corona del Mar home for about $27 million.

At one point the Aversanos owned Corona del Mar's Port Theater and later sold it to fellow OC's Wealthiest member Fariborz Maseeh for about $3 million.

- CAw Cosacchin 30 ROBERT HOFF General partner, Crosspoint Venture Partners estimated worth: $275 million We confess we don't have a clear view into venture capitalist Bob Hoff s wealth.

He returns to our list this year based on the persistent input of trusted sources that he should rank here. We're figuring a 10% increase over last year based on the assumption that his savvy brought that much of a gain in the past 12 months.

Based on that circumstance, we figure our $275 million estimate for Hoff s wealth is a safe bet. Some sources tell us he could be worth more.

Hoff is a general partner at Woodside-based Crosspoint Venture Partners and manager of its Irvine office. He's invested in scores of startups in his career.

Some of Hoff's hits include Innovent Systems (acquired by Irvine's Broadcom Corp.), IPivot (bought by Intel Corp.) and PairGain Technologies (bought by ADC Telecommunications Inc.). Misses include the now-defunct Internet consultant m arch First Inc.

Most of Hoff s wealth is estimated to have come from investments during the technology boom.

In 2001, Forbes magazine ranked Crosspoint No. 1 in the country in terms of overall distributed returns to its limited partners. Investors who had placed Si with Crosspoini in 1996 got back $29 by 2001. This was after fees and profit-sharing by general partners such as Hofft.

Venture capital firms such as Crosspoint normally charge 2% fees for managing money and take 20% of the profits.

After making his fortune. Hoff is semiretired.

He's on the advisory board of Encore Housing Opportunity' Funds, a San Franciscobased distressed real estate investor. He serves alongside former Pacific Investment Management Co. executive Bill Powers, a principal at Encore.

He's also been an investor in an Aspen, Colo., project that called for building an upscale, 75room hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain.

The project filed for bankruptcy protection last year in what the company's lawyers have described as a defensive move made to save the proposed lodge at Aspen Mountain from a bank foreclosure.

Hoff is a veteran of General Electric Co. 's executive ranks. He holds an undergraduate degree from Bucknell University in Lewisburg. Pa., and an MBA from Harvard.

-Staff' report 30 JOAN IRVINE SMITH Heiress, philanthropist estimated wealth: $275 million Joan Irvine Smith, great-granddaughter of James Irvine, the Irvine Ranch founder, is one of the county's major givers to education, the arts and environmental causes.

She's making a big change in her fife- she's selling the San Juan Capistrano farm that's housed her world-class jumping-horsebreeding operation, a major passion of hers, for more than 25 years.

In March, she announced that she was selling The Oaks, which bred 50 to 60 American sport horses a year in its heyday.

Smith said she was selling The Oaks in order to dial back her commitments. The asking price for the farm, which includes stables, training areas and 200year-old oak trees, is about $20 million.

Officials said they were looking for a wealthy buyer who would want to bring horses to The Oaks.

We estimate Smith's wealth at $275 million, based on input from several sources and crediting her with a likely gain of 10% on the strong stock market.

She got her fortune from her great-grandfather, who struck it rich during the Gold Rush of 1849. James Irvine and three partners bought 120,000 acres of land, which made up about a quarter of Orange County at the time.

James Irvine II, Smith's grandfather, incorporated the land as Irvine Land Co. in the 189Os.

A group including Donald Bren acquired control of what later became the Irvine Company in 1977. Bren, who is No. 1 on OC's Wealthiest, became sole owner in 1 996.

Bren paid Smith and mother Athalie CIarke $256 million for their Irvine Co. shares in 1991.

Smith and Bren arc cordial, sharing a passion for the environment and preserving parts of the Irvine Ranch as open space.

Smith also championed the University of California, Irvine School of Law, which opened in 2009. She donated $1 million to the school.

Her other passions include politics.

Smith, an ardent Democrat, has given to Hillary Clinton, Loretta Sánchez, the late Ted Kennedy and others.

-Vita Reed 30 WILLIAM WANG Founder, chief executive, Vizio Inc.

estimated worth: $275 million William Wang always wanted more than a TV empire. He's gone about getting it in the last year, as his vision to diversify Vizio Inc. has become as clear as pictures on the company's top-selling flat-screen TVs.

"TV was a great way to get a brand," said Wang, who launched the company in 2002 amid the flat-screen boom. "The goal was always to build a consumer electronics company." Vizio has made big strides in broadening the brand with accessories and other products in a relatively short period of time.

The company started sales of soundbars last year and now has roughly half the U.S. market, according to data from the Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Electronics Association. Its BIuray DVD business, while still small, is up roughly 400% since 2009.

Other Vizio offerings include subwoofers, headphones, cables and wireless routers.

The company also has jumped into the market for tablet computers. Its first model, dubbed the Vizio Tablet, debuted at January's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

In June the company surprised industry watchers when it debuted a line of light bulbs at a Consumer Electronics Association show in New York. The recyclable and mercury-free light-emitting diode, or LED, light bulbs are expected to hit the market later this year at "a Vizio price," according to the trade press.

"I'm very excited about all the products we carry now," Wang said.

To accommodate its growth. Vizio bought a three-story office building earlier this year near its Irvine headquarters for $7.5 million. It's been growing local employment and had about 195 people in Irvine through April, up 66% from a year ago. It employs 370 worldwide, up 89%, with its manufacturing done on a contract basis, mostly in Asia.

While Vizio has seen success in new-product rollouts as it diversifies into digital, mobile and online entertainment, TVs remain the company's revenue driver.

It sold 6.9 million TVs in 2010 for a total North America market share of 1 8%, according to data from DisplaySearch, a unit of Port Washington, N.Y. -based NPD Group Inc.

That's up from 2009, when the company sold nearly 6 million sets and had 1 7% market share, and the trend has continued this year.

The company has yearly sales of about $3 billion and has taken away business from bigname rivals, including Samsung Group, Sony Corp. and Japan's Funai Electric Corp., which sells sets under the Philips brand in the U.S.

Vizio's TVs are often priced at hundreds of dollars less than competitors. The company gets big sales from retailers such as Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Vizio now ranks as Orange County's fifthlargest private company by sales.

Wang relies on the same perseverance he showed in 2000 when he walked away from a Singapore Airlines crash, in which roughly half of the passengers died.

Vizio now is the second-largest minorityowned company here after Fountain Valley's Kingston Technology Co., run by John Tu and David Sun, who rank No. 3 among OCs Wealthiest.

We estimated Wang's worth at $275 million, up 10% from a year ago, given the strong year of sales at Vizio and market-share gains on its consumer electronics accessories.

That's our conservative guess since his exact ownership stake, Vizio's profits and other variables aren't known (see Serial Entrepreneurs, page 1).

- Chris Casacchia (c) 2011 CBJ, L. P.

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