John Malone
John Carl Malone

(1941-03-07) March 7, 1941 (age 83)
EducationYale University (BA)
New York University (MS)
Johns Hopkins University (MS, PhD)
TitleChairman of Liberty Media, Liberty Global, and Qurate Retail Group
SpouseLeslie Malone

John Carl Malone (born March 7, 1941) is an American billionaire businessman, landowner, and philanthropist. He was chief executive officer (CEO) of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), a cable and media giant, for twenty-four years from 1973 to 1996. Malone is now chairman and largest voting shareholder of Liberty Media, Liberty Global, and Qurate Retail Group (formerly known as Liberty Interactive), and also owns 7% of Lionsgate and Starz Inc.[1][2][3][4] He was interim CEO of Liberty Media, until succeeded by former Microsoft and Oracle CFO Greg Maffei.

Malone is ranked as the second largest private landowner in the United States, possessing 2.2 million acres (3,437 square miles), which is more than twice the size of Rhode Island. According to The Land Report's annual rankings, Malone ranked as the largest landowner in America from 2011 to 2021.[5]

Early life and education

John C. Malone was born on March 7, 1941, in Milford, Connecticut.[6][7] His father was Daniel L. Malone, an engineer.[8] Malone is of Irish heritage, his family originating in County Cork.[9][10][11] Malone is a Catholic.[12]

In 1959, Malone graduated from Hopkins School in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1963, he graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and economics,[13] where he was a Phi Beta Kappa and National Merit scholar. In 1964, Malone graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a master's degree in industrial management.[13] He received a master's in electrical engineering at an NYU program at Bell Labs in 1965 before receiving his PhD in operations research at Johns Hopkins in 1967.[14]

Business career

In 1963, Malone began his business career at Bell Telephone Laboratories of AT&T, working in economic planning and research and development. In 1968, he joined McKinsey & Company, and in 1970, became group vice president at General Instrument Corporation (GI). He was later president of Jerrold Electronics, a GI subsidiary. For twenty-four years, from 1973 to 1996, Malone served as president and CEO of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI).[13]

Malone is on the boards of directors for Bank of New York Mellon,, Charter Communications, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.[15][16] Malone is chairman emeritus of Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. and chairman of Liberty Global, Inc., and formerly the DirecTV Group.[14] His rise to chairman at Liberty Global was contentious at times.

In 2005, Malone held 32 percent of the shares in the media company News Corporation, and although only about half were voting shares, Rupert Murdoch reportedly had concerns that he might lose control of his company to Malone, and tried to oust him from the firm with a "poison pill" strategy.[17] He was director of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) from 1974 to 1977, and again from 1980 to 1993. During the 1977–1978 term, Malone was the NCTA's treasurer.[14]

In 1992, Malone coined the term 500-channel universe to describe a future media environment where a vast number of TV channels would be available, by eliminating the need for broadcast radio channels as a scarce resource.[18]

In business dealings Malone has been dubbed "Darth Vader", a nickname allegedly given to him by Al Gore when Malone was the head of TCI.[19]

In 1994, Wired portrayed Malone on their cover as "Mad Max" from The Road Warrior (also known as Mad Max 2), with an interview describing his battles with the FCC.[20] He is also known as the "Cable Cowboy".[21]

Bloomberg estimated him to be worth over US$9 billion in May 2021.[22]

Land ownership

Malone owns Silver Spur Ranches, a ranching and beef company which includes the Silver Spur Ranch in Encampment, Wyoming, Bell Ranch and the TO Ranch in New Mexico, Bridlewood Farm, a thoroughbred breeding, training and racing operation in Ocala, Florida; as well as ranches in Walden, Colorado, and Kiowa, Colorado.[7][23] His international real estate holdings include Humewood Castle[24] and Castlemartin House and Estate, both in Ireland.

As of 1 February 2011, he surpassed Ted Turner as the largest individual private landowner in the US, owning 2,200,000 acres (8,900 km2) of land, much of which is in Maine, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming.[25] Malone held the top spot as America's largest landowner for 10 years, according to the 2022 The Land Report's ranking of the top 100 U.S. landowners. In 2021, the ranking listed Malone as the second largest landowner behind the Emmerson Family.[26]


In 2000, Malone gave $24 million to the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science in New Haven for the construction of Yale's Daniel L. Malone Engineering Center, named in honor of his father.[8]

In 2011, Malone gave the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering in Baltimore its largest gift ever of $30 million for a new building on Homewood Campus.[13] The building will be named Malone Hall.[27]

In the same year, he gave the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science's largest gift ever of $50 million.[8]

Malone has also given $60 million to Hopkins School in New Haven to fund the construction of two new buildings, Malone Science Center, named for his father, as well as Heath Commons, named after his favorite Hopkins teacher.

In 2014, Malone and his wife donated $42.5 million to Colorado State University to help create their Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies, which aims to develop stem cell and other treatments for animals and people. Of the donation, $32.5 million will pay for half the construction costs and $10 million will go to operational expenses.[28]

In 2021, the Malones donated $25 million to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine, for the hospital’s $534 million capital improvement project. Maine Medical Center will name a new tower for cardiac and vascular services the Malone Family Tower; Leslie Malone recently received cardiac care at the hospital.[29]

Malone Scholars Program

In 1997, he established the Malone Family Foundation, which operates the Malone Scholars Program that provides scholarship endowments to certain private schools throughout the United States.[30]

Personal life

Malone is married to Leslie, they have two children and live in Elizabeth, Colorado.[31][32] His wife is active in dressage and horse breeding and she founded Harmony Sporthorses in Kiowa, Colorado.[33] In 2008, their son Evan D. Malone joined the board of Liberty Media.[34][35] Malone reportedly shuns the limelight and glamorous lifestyle, taking his family vacations alongside long-time friend Gary Biskup in a recreational vehicle.[36][37] His native Colorado named Malone a "Citizen of the West" in 2016.[38][39]

Malone's political beliefs have been described as libertarian.[40] He is on the board of directors for the Cato Institute. He donated US$250,000 to Donald Trump. He also expressed support for Michael Bloomberg in the 2020 United States presidential election.[41]


  1. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 14, 2016). "CBS Mulling Acquisition Of Pay Cable Network Starz".
  2. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 15, 2016). "John Malone: 'Cable Cowboy' Faces the Test in Rounding Up the Right Mix of Assets". Variety.
  3. ^ Busch, David Lieberman, Anita (November 10, 2015). "Lionsgate Strengthens Ties To John Malone: Liberty Global Buy Stakes".((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Williams, Christopher (November 22, 2015). "John Malone: the mystery method behind a media empire". Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ "The Land Report 2022.4 Page 118". Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  6. ^ "Gift from alumnus John Malone to fund engineering building". Yale Bulletin & Calendar. Archived from the original on April 18, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Jeff Hull, Meet the largest landowner in America, Fortune, September 27, 2012
  8. ^ a b c "SEAS nets $50 million donation". Yale Daily News. Archived from the original on May 30, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  9. ^ Patrick Counihan (December 27, 2012). "Irish American John Malone pays $10million for luxury Irish estate". IrishCentral.
  10. ^ Peter Flanagan (December 22, 2014). "US mogul John Malone buys up former Tony O'Reilly estate Castlemartin for €28m". Irish Independent.
  11. ^ Kim Bielenberg (April 5, 2014). "Homecoming of two million acre man John C Malone". Irish Independent.
  12. ^ Catholic Online (October 13, 2011). "Who is America's largest landowner?". Catholic Online.
  13. ^ a b c d GmbH, finanzen net. "Sirius XM's $3.5 billion Pandora deal is a bet on the future of streaming — here's how its largest shareholder, 'cable cowboy' John Malone, came to be worth $9 billion | Markets Insider". Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "Company Overview -–Management". Liberty Media. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  15. ^ "Leadership: Dr. John C. Malone". Discovery, Inc. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Kochan, Nick (2005). "Chapter 2 BoNYGate". The Washing Machine: How Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Soils Us. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781587991592.
  17. ^ Trefgarne, George (August 26, 2005). "Murdoch's son sees pay doubled ahead of exit". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  18. ^ "Editorial: Going a la carte is right for cable. | Goliath Business News". June 15, 2011. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  19. ^ Mark Lewis (July 11, 2001). "Cable's Darth Vader Is Back". Forbes. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  20. ^ Kline, David (July 1994). "Infobahn Warrior". Wired. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  21. ^ Graham Rapier (August 10, 2017). "The amazing life of billionaire 'Cable Cowboy' John Malone, the single largest landowner in the US". Business Insider. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  22. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: John Malone". Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  23. ^ "Silver Spur Ranches". Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  24. ^ Flynn, Finbarr (May 21, 2013). "John Malone Buys Irish 'Green Banana' as Castle Prices Fall". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  25. ^ Stebbins, Samuel (November 25, 2019). "Who owns the most land in America? Jeff Bezos and John Malone are among them". USA Today. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  26. ^ "The Land Report 2022.4 Page 118". Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  27. ^ "Liberty's Malone Makes Largest Gift Ever to Whiting School". Johns Hopkins University. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  28. ^ "Billionaire John Malone Donates Millions to Colorado State University". CBS Denver. December 29, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  29. ^ Writer, Joe LawlorStaff (June 15, 2021). "Maine Medical Center receives its largest gift ever, $25 million from Colorado couple". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved March 20, 2023.
  30. ^ "About the Foundation: Who We Are". Malone Family Foundation. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  31. ^ "Forbes profile: John Malone". Forbes. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  32. ^ "John Malone: The US billionaire buying up Ireland". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  33. ^ "Leslie Malone Is Growing U.S. Dressage One Horse And Rider At A Time". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  34. ^ "Evan Malone joins Liberty Media board". Denver Business Journal. August 14, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  35. ^ Bennett, Laurie. "Billionaire Offspring on Boards Can Spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E". Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  36. ^ "Darth Vader and the Sun King". The Independent. London. October 1, 2000. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  37. ^ "An RV Story... McMansions On Wheels". October 15, 2005. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  38. ^ "Colorado philanthropist, cable pioneer John Malone honored as Citizen of the West". The Denver Post. September 22, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  39. ^ "National Western Stock Show Citizen of the West John Malone known for loyalty, can-do Western spirit". The Denver Post. January 8, 2017. Retrieved June 3, 2021.
  40. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 18, 2016). "John Malone Talks TV Biz, Presidential Politics and His TCI Regret in Candid Q&A". Variety.
  41. ^ Franck, Thomas (November 21, 2019). "Media mogul John Malone says Trump causes 'chaos' and he would vote for Bloomberg in 2020". CNBC. Retrieved February 19, 2022.

Further reading