One thing's for sure: when a billionaire goes on a spending spree, it's sure to hit the news. After all, it's hard to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars without someone taking notice. Read on for some of the top billionaire spending sprees to hit the news - and to find out what they bought.

IN PICTURES: How To Make Your First Million

Malibu? I'll Take It!
Exactly where Oracle (Nasdaq:ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison's spending sprees begin and end are hard to pinpoint. With an estimated net worth of $28 billion in 2010, he has a lot of disposable income, but he doesn't keep it squirreled away. In 2004 and 2005, he made headlines when he bought up more than 12 properties in Malibu, California, including five contiguous ocean-front properties, restaurants and hotels, spending an estimated $180 million. Ellison has also cashed out on a number of sports acquisitions, most recently spending $100 million to buy the BNP Paribas Open Tennis Tournament.

This year, it looked like Ellison was poised to raise his spending to a whole new level, when it was reported that the was bidding to buy the National Basketball Association's Warriors. The deal closed in July at an NBA-record breaking $450 million, but Ellison lost out to another bidder.

The $50,000 Dollar Lunch?
Roman Abramovich, a Russian businessman and the owner of a private investment company is well-known for his lavish lifestyle and one very luxurious - although disputed - lunch. In 2009, he made news when he purchased one of the most expensive private homes ever sold: a $90 million estate in St. Barts. But Abramovich has a number of other spectacular possessions, including the world's largest privately owned yacht, a Colorado ski estate, England's Chelsea soccer team and a $100 million art collection. (Interested in investing in some real estate of your own? Check out 5 Things Every Real Estate Pro Knows.)

And the lunch? In November 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Abramovich had indulged in a $52,000 lunch in New York City for himself and nine guests, including more than a $12,000 tip, although the Journal later reported that a spokesman for the Russian billionaire had denied the claims, saying that the bill had been only a "a couple of percent" of the reported size.

Pick, Me! Pick, Me!
In a less conventional spending spree, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won his reelection bid in 2009 in a campaign that required him to shell out a record amount of his own $18 billion fortune. According to a November 2009 report in AFP, Bloomberg burned through up to $1 million per day, outspending his rival by 15 to 1 in a $100 million political showdown. Bloomberg's spending on his past three elections obliterated the previous U.S. record for self-financed political campaigns, according to the New York Times.

Although money may have helped Bloomberg keep his seat, he has generally maintained high approval ratings from New York City voters, suggesting there's more than money behind his success. (To read more about political campaigns and politicians' promises, see Talk Is Cheap: Campaign Promises And The Economy.)

Guilt-Free Giveaway
In 2008, Forbes ranked Warren Buffett as the richest man in the world, with a net worth of approximately $62 billion. The famously-frugal Buffett has never been a big spender. Throughout his career, he has condemned big spending by CEOs, even labeling his company's $10 million private jet "The Indefensible". He has lived a relatively modest life for such an incredibly wealthy man.

But what to do with all that money? In 2006, Buffett announced he would donate more than 80% of his wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At the time, this amounted to more than $30 billion, making it the biggest charitable donation ever. (For more on the "Oracle of Omaha", check out Think Like Warren Buffett and Warren Buffett's Frugal, So Why Aren't You?)

Now THAT's a Party
To name just one billionaire who burned through cash on a lavish party would be impossible, so let's check out at a few of the top contenders.

In 2004, Indian steel tycoon and CEO of ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) Lakshmi Mittal threw his daughter a six-day wedding for 1,000 guests at the Palace of Versailles, complete with a performance by pop-star Kylie Minogue. According to Outlook, a leading Indian magazine, Mitall "summons all the romance of Paris to gift his daughter-and his guests-a fairytale wedding. The BBC estimated the cost of the wedding at more than $55 million.

In 2005, the BBC reported that British retail billionaire Philip Green had spent $7.5 million on his son's bar mitzvah, a three-day event on the French Riviera that included a concert by Destiny's Child for 200 of Green's family and friends.

In July, the New York Post reported that a Malaysian billionaire Zhen Low had squared off against Winston Fisher, a prominent New Yorker from a real-estate family, to see if they could break the world record for ordering the most champagne. They succeeded - and they have a $2.6 million bar tab to prove it.

The Bottom Line
These spending sprees may sound lavish, but when you put it in perspective, these billionaires have cash to spend and they do it in style. Wouldn't you?

Catch up on your financial news; read Water Cooler Finance: A Diving Dow And Rotting Eggs.

Related Articles
  1. Economics

    How Warren Buffett Made Berkshire A Winner

    Berkshire Fine Spinning Associated and Hathaway Manufacturing Company merged in 1955 to form Berkshire Hathaway.
  2. Your Practice

    How to Save for Retirement Like a Wealthy CEO

    Don't have a CEO's income? You can still employ a millionaire’s saving strategy when it comes to planning for retirement.
  3. Your Clients

    Where Rich Investor Loyalty Lies: Firm or Advisor?

    Affluent investors are evenly split when it comes to being loyal to their advisor vs. their financial services firm. How can advisors sway them.
  4. Economics

    Trump vs. Bloomberg: How They Compare

    If Bloomberg enters the presidential race how will he compare to billionaire brethren Trump?
  5. Investing Basics

    This is What Donald Trump's Portfolio Looks Like

    Find out what Donald Trump's portfolio looks like and gain some interesting insights into the way the billionaire's investment mind works.
  6. Savings

    How Bank Cost-Cutting Could Affect You

    Banks are looking to cut costs. If history is any guide, it could be at your expense. Here's how to protect yourself.
  7. Your Practice

    Retirement Planning for the Wealthy: Top Tips

    A recent study shows a few key areas of financial planning that advisors are overlooking for wealthy individuals. Here's how to better help them.
  8. Investing

    John D. Rockefeller: Biography

    Focusing on a historical figure’s “contradictions” is a tired cliché, but in the case of John Davidson Rockefeller (1839 – 1937), it’s hard to avoid.
  9. Investing

    Cornelius Vanderbilt Biography

    “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) was born into a poor family and quit school at age 11, but his shrewd – some would say ruthless – approach to business allowed him to consolidate ...
  10. Wealth Management

    Warren Buffett’s Frugal, So Why Aren’t You?

    Aside from his renowned investing prowess, Buffett is legendarily frugal.
  1. Who decides if a financial security should be escheated?

    There is no one entity who "decides" to escheat assets. Rather, financial institutions are required to report inactive accounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How long do I need to keep income tax records?

    Keep all tax-related records for at least three years. For example, keep your 2015 tax return, filed in early 2016, at the ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why is the Cayman Islands considered a tax haven?

    The Cayman Islands is one of the most well-known tax havens in the world. Unlike most countries, the Cayman Islands does ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why is Andorra considered a tax haven?

    Andorra is one of many locations around the globe considered a tax haven because of its relatively lenient tax laws. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Under what circumstances would I require private wealth management?

    An investor who is a high-net-worth individual (HNWI) may require private wealth management services. HNWIs have unique financial ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Which US cities have the highest number of high-income households?

    According to the most recent U.S. Census report on the geographic concentration of high-income households conducted in 2 ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  2. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  3. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  4. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  5. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
Trading Center