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Hunts' Fortune Reported 50% Less Than in '80

August 27, 1985|Associated Press

NEW YORK — The net worth of the Hunt brothers of Texas has shrunk at least in half since bankers bailed out the family from a silver trading debacle in 1980, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The report said the Hunt brothers put the combined value of their trusts and personal holdings at about $2.6 billion, compared to $5 billion to $6 billion claimed in 1980. It said banking sources put the brothers' current net worth at less than $2 billion.

The difference in valuation between the family and the banks reflects assumptions about the future course of oil prices and provisions for disputed tax claims and lawsuits involving the family.

The slide in fortunes for Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brothers W. Herbert and Lamar are tied to the collapse in world oil prices and the costs of holding on to 59 million ounces of silver amassed in a speculative binge.

The family trust's main holding, Placid Oil Co., was lent $1 billion by banks to rescue the Hunts from huge silver trading losses.

Silver, which peaked at $52.50 an ounce in early 1980, currently trades at around $6 an ounce. The Hunts' silver holdings, valued at $1.3 billion in 1980, now are worth about $350 million, the report said.

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