The high-roller who gave HNA Group $90 million to ease its debt pain in exchange for an opulent Upper East Side mansion has been fingered as Ukrainian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik.
Blavatnik bought the townhouse at 19 East 64th Street from the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which had purchased it for $79.5 million last April, according to the New York Post. It was previously the art gallery for the Wildenstein family for 85 years.
Forbes has estimated Blavatnik’s net worth at $20.5 billion, and is believed to be the wealthiest man in Great Britain. He placed #40 on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people. He tried unsuccessfully to buy 19 East 64th Street years earlier and sued its former owner David Wildenstein, claiming he had used Blavatnik’s offer on the townhouse to get a better offer from HNA, but a judge threw out the case.
Blavatnik owns several other properties in New York, including the townhouse at 15 East 64th Street, which he bought for $51 million, the townhouse at 2 East 63rd Street, which he bought for $31.25 million, and the home at 834 Fifth Avenue, which he bought for $80 million.
He also owns Warner Music and has been an investor in hit shows such as “Hamilton,” and he made $7 billion in 2013 after selling his stake in a Russian oil company.
HNA is facing financial difficulties and planning to sell $4 billion worth of its properties in the U.S. to help pay off its debt, including the office tower at 245 Park Avenue that it purchased less than a year ago for $2.21 billion. [NYP] – Eddie Small