Trust me. This article will eventually be about Howard Stern’s Palm Beach mansion, but first please follow me on a journey through time starting in the early 1990s…
In 1992 lifelong tinkerer John Sylvan set out to solve a common problem at offices around the world: Full coffee pots sit untouched for hours, growing cold, bitter and stale before being dumped down the sink. Sylvan’s idea to solve this problem was to invent a coffee machine that could brew single-serve disposable “pods” of coffee. In 1992 John and a college friend co-founded a company that would manufacture and sell his machines and pods. They called the company “Keurig.” Why? They looked up the word for “excellence” in a Dutch dictionary. Why Dutch? Because, as John would later explain, “everyone likes the Dutch.”
About a decade before Keurig was founded, Bob Stiller enjoyed a cup of coffee he was served at a coffee shop in Vermont so much that he bought the coffee shop. By 1992, the year Keurig was founded, Bob’s coffee shop, Green Mountain, had grown from a single cafe in Vermont to seven locations. Over two thousand wholesale retailers sold Green Mountain beans and the company generated $10 million in annual revenue. In 1993 Bob Stiller took Green Mountain public on the NASDAQ under the ticker GMCR.
In 1993, a year after Keurig was founded, Bob Stiller’s Green Mountain became the first outside investor in John Sylvan’s coffee pod company. In 1994 Keurig took on a second investment round, raising $1 million from a venture capital firm. With that investment, one of the principals from the VC firm was installed as Chairman of Keurig.
Unfortunately, John Sylvan did not get along with his new corporate bosses. Within a year he was booted from the company he founded.
In 1997 John sold his entire stake in Keurig, which owned his invention – a product that would eventually generate hundreds of billions in revenue – for a grand total of…
Over the course of several transactions between 1993 and 2006, Bob Stiller’s Green Mountain acquired 43% ownership of Keurig. In 2006 Green Mountain acquired the remaining 57%. The price Green Mountain paid for that 57%?
The company was renamed Keurig Green Mountain.
By 2014, 95% of Keurig Green Mountain’s revenue – $4.3 billion – came from selling Keurig pods and machines. On December 7, 2015, JAB Holding Company acquired Keurig Green Mountain for…
The acquisition made Bob Stiller a billionaire. Today his net worth is $1.2 billion.
A year before the $13.9 billion JAB acquisition, Bob paid $25 million for a 1.6-acre, oceanfront property in Palm Beach, Florida. The property features a 24,000 square foot mansion.
Today the Wall Street Journal revealed that Bob Stiller has sold his property in an off-market deal to luxury car dealer Michael Cantanucci for…
That sets a new record for the Palm Beach area. It’s just $3 million shy of the Florida sale record which was set when Larry Ellison paid $173 million for a home just a few minutes down the road.
Howard Stern’s Mansion
A year before Bob bought his Palm Beach mansion, Howard Stern and wife Beth Ostrosky Stern paid $52 million for the 3.25-acre property next door. Stern’s property features several structures that have a combined 40,000 square feet of living space.
Now consider what Bob’s sale today means for the value of Howard and Beth’s property.
In the photo below, Howard’s property is the larger one on the left. To reiterate, Howard’s buildings have 40,000 square feet of living space. Bob Stiller’s has 24,000. Howard’s property is on 3.25 acres. Bob Stiller’s is on 1.6 acres.
So Howard’s property is just under twice the size of Bob’s in terms of both living space and acreage.
Bob Stiller’s house just sold for $170 million. What does that make Howard’s estate worth? Conservatively, one must assume…
By our count before the Bob Stiller sale, Howard Stern’s net worth was $650 million. And that was based on an assumption that his Palm Beach house was worth $50 – 80 million. If it’s truly worth $300 million, one could make the argument that Howard Stern’s net worth is actually in the $800 million range.
What Happened to John Sylvan?
Today John Sylvan lives in perfectly nice home in Needham, Massachusetts which he bought in 2007 for $530,000 and today is worth around $1.2 million.
Perhaps to make up for the environmental destruction caused by his invention, Sylvan now runs a solar company.
Speaking to The Atlantic around the time of Keurig’s $14 billion sale, John Sylvan had the following to say about his invention’s destructive impact on the world:
“I feel bad sometimes that I ever invented the K-Cup…
I don’t have one. They’re kind of expensive to use. Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make…
It’s like a cigarette for coffee. A single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance…
No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable. The plastic is a specialized plastic made of four different layers.“
An estimated 10 BILLION pods are sold each year. The vast vast vast majority end up in landfills.
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