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Homeless Billionaire Nicolas Berggruen: Travels Around the World but Refuses to Own or Rent a Home

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: Oct 03, 2012 02:35 PM EDT

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Nicolas Berggruen
Nicolas Berggruen is known as the homeless billionaire. (Photo : Reuters)

Nicolas Berggruen is billionaire who doesn't own a home or rent an apartment. Essentially he is homeless. Bloomberg Business Week reported that twelve years ago Berggruen sold his apartment on the 31st fllor of Pierre Hotel in Manhattan as well as his house on a private island near Miami saying he did not want the material possessions.

Now, instead of renting a luxury pad Berggruen, 51, jet-sets around the world staying in the world's finest hotels. The Daily Mail reported he doesn't even own a car or even a watch and his possessions are at a bare minimum, except for his private jet, the Gulfstream IV.

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He said to The Daily Mail: "I have always spent a lot of time in hotels, so it started to seem easier to do this. I feel happier. I am not that attached to material things. And the good thing is I can make choices. I have very few possessions. Luckily, as a man you don't need much... a few papers, a couple of books, and a few shirts, jackets, sweaters. It fits in a little thing, in a paper bag, so it's very easy."

Bloomberg Business News reported that when he travels he stays in the choicest hotels. In New York he's at the Carlyle, in London it's Claridges. While in LA he stays at the Peninsula Beverly Hills.

His lifestyle is obviously atypical of an actual homeless person, having the luxury to stay in the nicest hotels in the world and fly around the globe on his extravagant jet. Berggruen can afford to live this jet setting lifestyle because of his company Berggruen Holdings which is a New York based private equity firm. Bloomberg Business News reported that the firm "buys troubled companies and fixes them up. Currently it owns more than 30, including an Australian farming operation, a British life insurer, a Portuguese book publisher, a German department store chain, and real estate development projects in Turkey, Israel, India, and Newark, N.J. According to its website, the privately held holding company's annual revenue is $5 billion. It throws off $250 million in earnings each year."

Bloomberg Markets also estimated that the billionaire has a net worth $2.5 billion.

Berggruen is single and doesn't have any children thus allowing him to relish in a lifestyle as such. According to The Daily Mail, Berggruen purchases world-class artwork from the likes of Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol for the sole purpose of giving them away to museums.

Berggruen grew up in Paris with an art collector father. He then moved to London and New York to study later in life and in 1988 co-founded the hedge fund Alpha Investment Management which was then sold.

He said to The Daily Mail that having material possessions made him feel weighed down. "I felt I was owned by ­possessions. Possessing things is not that interesting. Living in a grand environment to show myself and others that I have wealth has zero appeal. Whatever I own is temporary, since we're only here for a short period of time. It's what we do and produce, it's our actions that will last forever. That's real value."

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