David & Simon Reuben – Billionaire Brothers
Net Worth $10.5 B As of March 2013
At a Glance
Source of Wealth: investments, real estate, self-made
Country of Citizenship: United Kingdom
Education: Sir John Cass College, London
Marital Status: Married
#2 in United Kingdom
#100 in 2012
David and Simon Reuben were born in India to Jewish-Iraqi parents who brought them to London in the 1950s. ‘They had absolutely nothing,’ says Jamie. ‘I’ve heard the stories from my mother – she was the one paying for the dinners when she met my dad.’ The Reuben boys were sent to a state school in Islington. David went on to Sir John Cass Sixth Form College in Stepney, but Simon never completed formal education. At 17, David joined a scrap metals business and began to trade, working nights while he finished college, while Simon started out in carpets, bought out England’s oldest carpet company from the receiver and made enough money from it to start investing in property. Cannily, he bought several shops on Walton Street and the old Pheasantry site on the King’s Road in Chelsea.
When the brothers joined forces, their company Trans-World traded in non-ferrous metals, specialising in aluminium and tin out of London and copper and tin out of New York. By 1984, the company was worth in excess of $20 million. They then made the move into Russia just after the break-up of the Soviet Union, bought up half of Russia’s aluminium production and, eventually, emerged victorious from the ‘Wild East’ aluminium war of the 1990s. They had done business with Oleg Deripaska, the oligarch friend of Nat Rothschild and Peter Mandelson, but that relationship collapsed in a court case in 1995 in which the Reubens claimed damages of $300 million for lost profits.
The brothers have since focused on re-shaping the landscape of London. Their company redeveloped Paddington Basin and they also own Connaught House on Berkeley Square, the John Lewis headquarters in Victoria and some Sloane Street shops among a vast property portfolio.
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