Who Is Philip Anschutz: Early Life, Education, Career, Personal Life and Net Worth
Who Is Philip Anschutz: Early Life, Education, Career, Personal Life and Net Worth

Who is Philip Frederick Anschutz - Biography

Philip Frederick Anschutz ( born December 28, 1939) is an American billionaire businessman who owns or controls companies in a variety of industries, including energy, railroads, real estate, sports, newspapers, movies, theaters, arenas, and music.

In 2004, he purchased the parent company of the Journal Newspapers, which under Anschutz's direction became the American conservative editorial newspaper Washington Examiner. In 2021, Forbes ranked him the 66th richest person in the United States, with an estimated net worth of $10.1 billion.

Philip Anschutz: Early Life & Education

Photo:  Billboard
Photo: Billboard

Anschutz - Colorado’s benevolent billionaire - was born in Russell, Kansas, the son of Marian (née Pfister) and Frederick Benjamin Anschutz. He has one older sister, Sue Anschutz-Rodgers, who became a Colorado rancher and philanthropist. His father was an oil tycoon and land investor who invested in ranches in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and eventually went into the oil-drilling business. His grandfather, Carl Anschutz, was an ethnic German who emigrated from Russia and started the Farmers State Bank in Russell. Anschutz grew up in Russell, Wichita, and Hays, Kansas, where he lived near Bob Dole.

In later years, Anschutz contributed to Dole's political campaigns. He graduated from Wichita High School East in 1957, and in 1961 graduated with a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Kansas, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. His first cousin was fellow Russell native and longtime news anchor Wendall Anschutz.

Philip Anschutz: Career

Photo:  consequence.net
Photo: consequence.net

In 1970, Anschutz bought the 250,000-acre (1,000 km²) Baughman Farms, one of the country's largest farming corporations, in Liberal, Kansas for $10 million. The following year, he acquired 9 million acres (36,000 km²) along the Utah-Wyoming border. This produced his first fortune in the oil business. In the early 1980s, the Anschutz Ranch, with its 1 billion barrel (160,000,000 m³) oil pocket, became the largest oil field discovery in the United States since Prudhoe Bay in Alaska in 1968. He sold a half-interest in it to Mobil Oil for $500 million in 1982.

For several years, Anschutz was Colorado's sole billionaire. With his acquisition of land in other Western states, he is thought to own more farm and cattle land than any other single private citizen in the United States.

Anschutz then moved into railroads and telecommunications before venturing into the entertainment industry. In 1999, Fortune magazine compared him to the nineteenth-century tycoon J.P. Morgan, as both men "struck it rich in a fundamentally different way: they operated across an astounding array of industries, mastering and reshaping entire economic landscapes."

Photo:  Los Angeles Daily News
Photo: Los Angeles Daily News

In 1984 he entered the railroad business by purchasing the Rio Grande Railroad's holding company, Rio Grande Industries. Four years later, in 1988, the Rio Grande railroad purchased the Southern Pacific Railroad under his direction. With the merger of the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Corporation in September 1996, Anschutz became Vice-Chairman of Union Pacific. Prior to the merger, he was a Director of Southern Pacific from June 1988 to September 1996 and Non-Executive Chairman of Southern Pacific from 1993 to September 1996. He was also a Director of Forest Oil Corporation, beginning in 1995. In November 1993 he became Director and Chairman of the Board of Qwest, stepping down as a nonexecutive co-chairman in 2002, but remaining on the board. He has also been a Director for Pacific Energy Partners and served on the boards of the American Petroleum Institute, in Washington, D.C., and the National Petroleum Council in Washington, D.C.

In February 2006, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reported that Anschutz would not stand for re-election to the boards of Qwest and Union Pacific, and would resign from the board of Regal Entertainment Group so that he could focus on his other investments.

On June 24, 2008, it was announced that Anschutz would buy Xanterra Parks and Resorts, which had purchased the Grand Canyon Railway in 2007. In 2011, it was announced that Anschutz had purchased the Oklahoma Publishing Company, and as part of their assets The Broadmoor and the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs respectively.

Effective August 1, 2010, Xanterra Parks and Resorts purchased and assumed management of Kingsmill Resort. Xanterra purchased the resort from Busch Properties, Inc. (BPI).

Political and religious activism

 Philip and Nancy Anschutz. Photo:  Chronicle of Philanthropy
Philip and Nancy Anschutz. Photo: Chronicle of Philanthropy

Anschutz supported the Parents Television Council, a group that protests against television content that they consider indecent. He also financed and distributed films with Christian themes for mass audiences (through his two film production companies and ownership of much of the Regal, Edwards, and United Artists theater chains) such as Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. He financed The Foundation for a Better Life. In 2009, Anschutz purchased the conservative American opinion magazine The Weekly Standard from Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. In 2010, he financed the pro-charter school film Waiting for Superman. In 2012, he financed the pro-parent trigger film Won't Back Down.

Anschutz has donated to conservative causes and groups that are anti-LGBTQ and pro-life. Anschutz contributed $1 million to conservatives during the 2016 U.S. elections, and $200,000 to Republican politicians and political action committees during the 2017 elections. Despite donating $1 million to support the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Anschutz has also had a history of supporting extremely conservative organizations who often campaign against LGBTQ rights, including contributions to the National Christian Charitable Foundation that have been directed towards the Alliance Defending Freedom's campaign against the Equality Act.

Anschutz and his wife have contributed over $100 million to the new medical, dental, nursing, and pharmacy campus of the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado, now named the Anschutz Medical Campus in their honor. The land came from the recently closed Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, but millions were needed for the construction of new medical laboratory buildings and a new University Hospital on the land. They have also donated to the University of Kansas, their alma mater. There is an Anschutz Library and an Anschutz Sports Pavilion. In recognition of their philanthropic efforts, the Anschutzes received the 2009 William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.

Philip Anschutz: Personal life

Anschutz is somewhat reclusive, preferring to stay out of the limelight. A member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, he is a conservative Christian. He and his wife Nancy, whom he met when he was 16, have three children. Anschutz was inducted into the Kansas Business Hall of Fame in 2000 and the U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 2002.

Anschutz has granted only three formal interviews since 1979, and none from the 1980s until 2015. On December 6, 2015, he broke his media silence when he appeared with several of the founders of Major League Soccer to reflect on the league's 20th anniversary. Anschutz has run 15 marathons.

His first cousin was fellow Russell native and longtime news anchor Wendall Anschutz.

Philip Anschutz: Net Worth

Philip Anschutz is an American entrepreneur who has a net worth of $11 billion dollars. He is also the owner of the soccer team D.C. United. Dubbed 'The Man Who Owns L.A., he has made his fortune in oil and gas, real estate, railroads, telecommunications, and sports and entertainment. He is one of the largest landowners in the U.S. and his empire of more than 150 companies, nearly all privately held, is worldwide. He is also a philanthropist who donated more than a hundred million dollars to create the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado in Aurora. But Anschutz, who lives in Denver, is intensely private and does little to publicize his ownership of A.E.G. or any of his other business activities for that matter. Philip Anschutz's net worth makes him one of the richest sports team owners on the planet.

Philip Anschutz: Awards & Achievements

1985 - Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement

2000 - Kansas Business Hall of Fame

2017 - Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas "Kansan of the Year"

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