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B. Wayne Hughes, Billionaire Founder Of Public Storage, Dies At 87

By News Creatives Authors , in Billionaires , at January 1, 1970

B. Wayne Hughes, the billionaire cofounder of self storage giant Public Storage, died Wednesday at age 87, his Thoroughbred horse farm Spendthrift announced on Twitter. The statement said that Hughes died “peacefully today in his home at his beloved Spendthrift Farm with loving family by his side.”   

Forbes estimates he was worth $4.1 billion at the time of death, as a result of stakes in Public Storage, publicly-traded REIT American Homes 4 Rent and Thoroughbred breeding operation Spendthrift Farm.    

In 1972 B. Wayne Hughes made a $50,000 investment to start what became Public Storage in California and made a fortune giving Americans a place to stash their excess junk.

When Hughes and his business partner Kenneth Volk Jr. were just getting started, they put up a sign on their warehouse that said “Private Storage Spaces.” Seeing that, a customer asked if the storage was available to the public, too. They changed the name of the business to “Public Storage,” and it became a success. The publicly traded company had $3.6 billion in 2020 revenues and has more than 2,500 storage locations around the U.S. 

A longtime racehorse owner, Hughes purchased Spendthrift, a storied Thoroughbred farm located outside Lexington, Kentucky, in 2004 for an undisclosed price. Today it sits on more than 1,000 acres and houses top stallions including 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, 2017 Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing and top North American sire Into Mischief. 

In 2019, the L.A. Times disclosed that Hughes was the anonymous donor who’d given about $400 million to the University of Southern California, his alma mater, which he attended on scholarship, the newspaper reported. Hughes became a trustee at USC in 1999.

Hughes joined The Forbes 400 list of richest American in 1996 and had appeared on the ranking ever since. Hughes owned less than 1% of Public Storage shares when he died, having transferred the bulk of his stake to his children, Tamara Gustavson and B. Wayne Hughes Jr. Both are also on the Forbes World’s Billionaires rankings. 


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