Published On: Tue, Dec 10th, 2013

Billionaire Len Blavatnik Buys a Second Hand Suit

Blavatnik recently paid out $250, 000 at auction to acquire a spacesuit once worn by Russia’s first man in space, Yuri Gagarin.

Billionaire Len Blavatnik buys a second hand suit

According to media reports, Len Blavatnik,   owner of Warner Music and avid collector of all things unusual had to work hard to put in the final and winning bid in a hard fought bidding war against Elon Musk, owner of  SpaceX and Tesla cars to claim ownership of the suit, worn by Yuri Gagarin, the late Soviet astronaut.

The suit was up for auction at  Sotheby’s in London, and had been  donated by a party who preferred to remain anonymous, to help to  raise money for Irish pop singer Bono’s RED charity. While the suit was not worn by Gagarin on his history making first recorded journey into outer space on 12 April 1961, it was apparently worn by the world’s first man in space during training missions prior to his momentous journey.

So anxious was Blavatnik to win  the Gagarin suit at auction, that he apparently turned up in person at the auction, held at  Sothebys in London in late November auction, rather than trust a telephone bid.

Blavatnik, now based in London, has an estimated fortune of around  $12 billion and is the owner of companies throughout Eastern and Western Europe, as well as  North and South America.

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Len Blavatnik was born and raised  in the Ukraine. After completing an engineering degree at the University in Moscow, Blavatnik emigrated the U.S. in 1978 at the age of 21 going on to earn his masters degree in computer science at Columbia University and as well as an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1989.

By 1986, Len  Blavatnik  had already begun his business career, founding Access Industries, an international industrial group, later establishing a partnership with Viktor Vekselberg, whom he had become a close friend with when the pair  studied  together at the University of Moscow. The pair formed  Renova as an investment vehicle, later joining forces Mikhail Fridman.

Access has diversified its portfolio to include investments in such diverse industries as aluminum production, coal mining, media, petrochemical and plastics production, telecommunications and real estate.

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Len  Blavatnik  / Getty

Through the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Len  Blavatnik, provides  support for a number of  cultural and philanthropic institutions in the UK as well as being  very active  in Israel.

The Blavatnik Family Foundation also sponsors  the annual Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in conjunction  with the New York Academy of Sciences. The award is designed to recognize accomplishments of outstanding young scientists in such as areas as  life and physical sciences and engineering.

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