Robert Maxwell Net Worth: How Did Robert Lose His Fortune?

Robert Maxwell Net Worth: Robert Maxwell was a British media proprietor and Member of Parliament. He joined the Czechoslovak Army during WWII after escaping Nazi occupation. He founded Pergamon Press and represented Buckingham from October 1964 to June 1970. He then bought Mirror Group Newspapers, British Printing Corporation, and Macmillan Publishers. He owned the New York Daily News, The Mirror, and MTV Europe.

Robert Maxwell Early Life

Family pleads for Ghislaine Maxwell's release from 'degrading' prison |  News | The Times

On June 10, 1923, in Slatinské Doly, Czechoslovakia, Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch became Robert Maxwell. Hannah and Mechel, poor Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jews, raised him. Maxwell had seven siblings. Maxwell fled to France before the Nazis killed most of the family.

Military Service

Maxwell joined the Czechoslovak Army while exiled in Marseille. He was transferred to Great Britain’s Royal Pioneer Corps and the North Staffordshire Regiment after hundreds of soldiers protested the Army’s leadership. Maxwell fought across Europe as a sergeant and captain. His Military Cross came in early 1945. He joined the Foreign Office press section in Berlin.

Pergamon Press

Maxwell used his military contacts to establish business after WWII. Springer Verlag appointed him their UK and US distributor. In 1951, Maxwell bought Butterworth-Springer, with Paul Rosbaud holding a share. The pair renamed the house Pergamon Press. Rosbaud was dismissed in 1956. Over the years, Maxwell expanded Pergamon into a leading science, technology, and medicine journal publisher. 1964 saw its IPO.

Saul Steinberg’s 1969 offer to buy Pergamon stalled. Pergamon cut its profit expectations and halted stock market trading during negotiations. Maxwell lost business control and was ousted from the board. Maxwell used his own family businesses to boost Pergamon’s share price, according to a Department of Trade and Industry investigation. In 1974, Maxwell borrowed money to repurchase Pergamon when Steinberg failed. He sold it to Elsevier in 1991.

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Other Companies and Ventures

Maxwell acquired many enterprises to build a media empire around Pergamon Press. He bought the British Printing Corporation, renaming it Maxwell Communications Corporation, in 1981. Maxwell also bought Mirror Group Newspapers in the 1980s, sparking a public feud with Rupert Murdoch. Maxwell founded Fleetway Publications under IPC Media. He owned Nimbus Records, Macmillan Publishers, Prentice Hall Information Services, and Berlitz at the end of the decade.

Maxwell also chaired Oxford United, which reached the top of English football in the mid-1980s. In 1987, he bought part of Derby County. Among his other activities, Maxwell was linked to the secret service organizations MI6, the KGB, and Mossad.

Beyond his media career, Maxwell served as a Member of Parliament for Buckingham, England from 1964 to 1970, representing the Labour Party. After losing his seat to Conservative challenger William Benyon, he unsuccessfully contested the seat in the 1974 general elections.

Personal Life And Death

Maxwell married Elisabeth Meynard in 1945 and had nine children: Michael, Philip, Ann, Isabel, Christine, Karine, Kevin, Ian, and Ghislaine. Karine passed away from leukemia when she was three, while Michael died in his early 20s after lying in a coma induced by a car crash. Ghislaine, who worked with Jeffrey Epstein in a child sex trafficking ring, received a 20-year sentence.

In November 1991, Maxwell boarded the Lady Ghislaine instead of speaking with the Bank of England about his large debts. He disappeared two days later while sailing in the Canary Islands. Maxwell’s nude body was soon found floating in the ocean, with his death ruled a combination of a heart attack and accidental drowning. In Israel, he was buried on the Mount of Olives after a lavish funeral. His wife Elisabeth went on to become a prominent Holocaust researcher; she passed away in 2013.

Collapse of Empire

After Maxwell died, his publishing empire collapsed due to his massive debt. It was also revealed that he had embezzled hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies’ pension funds in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy.

Maxwell’s death triggered the collapse of his publishing empire as banks called in loans. His sons briefly attempted to keep the business together but failed as the news emerged that the elder Maxwell had stolen hundreds of millions of pounds from his own companies’ pension funds.

What was Robert Maxwell Net Worth?

Net Worth: -$1 Billion
Date of Birth: Jun 10, 1923 – Nov 5, 1991 (68 years old)
Place of Birth: Slatinské Doly, Czechoslovakia (now Solotvyno, Ukraine)
Profession: Publisher

Robert Maxwell was a British media proprietor and Member of Parliament who had a net worth of -$1 billion at the time of his death. At the peak of his business empire, Robert Maxwell’s net worth was $1.9 billion.

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