Meet the Ambanis, the richest family in Asia, who live in a $1 billion skyscraper and mingle with royals, politicians, and Bollywood stars
Reuters, Getty, AP; Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
- The Ambanis are the richest family in Asia.
- The family patriarch, Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, is worth an estimated $42.7 billion.
- The Ambanis live in a 27-story skyscraper in Mumbai, rumored to have cost $1 billion to build, which would make it one of the most expensive homes in the world.
- The Ambanis mingle with people like the Clintons, Prince Charles, and Bollywood stars.
The richest family in Asia is an Indian family that just threw one of the most lavish wedding celebrations in recent memory, which included a private Beyoncé concert and celebrity guests including Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, Hillary Clinton, and Arianna Huffington.
The Ambani family is behind oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries. The company's chairman and largest shareholder is Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, who is worth an estimated $42.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Mukesh's daughter, 27-year-old Isha Ambani, married Anand Piramal, 33, heir to a real estate and pharmaceutical business, in December 2018 at the Ambani family home in Mumbai, a 27-story skyscraper that cost an estimated $1 billion to build.
Here's a look at the Ambani family's fortune, relationships, friends, and lavish lifestyles.
The Ambani family in India tops the Forbes list of Asia's Richest Families, with a net worth of at least $42.7 billion.
The Indian family's massive wealth began with Dhirubhai Ambani, who founded Reliance Industries to manufacture fabrics and textiles.
It's now a Fortune 500 company worth $100 billion.
Dhirubhai died in 2002 at age 69 without a will ...
... leaving his company to be run by both of his sons: Mukesh and his younger brother, Anil.
A bitter succession battle between the two brothers followed their father's death and resulted in a rivalrous relationship between Mukesh and Anil. Ultimately, Mukesh was left in charge of the majority of Reliance.
In 2005, the brothers split the company in a deal negotiated by their mother, and Mukesh was left with control of the oil, gas, petrochemicals, and refining operations of the business. Anil took over construction, telecommunications, asset management, entertainment and power generation businesses.
Today, 61-year-old Mukesh Ambani is worth an estimated $42.7 billion as the chairman and largest shareholder of Reliance Industries Limited.
After a thriving year for the company during which $4 billion was added to his fortune, Mukesh surpassed Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma in July 2018 to become the richest man in Asia.
Anil Ambani, 59, chairman of Reliance Group, is worth an estimated $1.5 billion — more than $40 billion less than his older brother. Bloomberg reported that 2018 saw his businesses suffer from "legal and liquidity challenges."
Indian media reported in September that Anil's "cash-strapped" Reliance Communications will quit the telecom business and turn to real estate.
Anil is married to Tina Ambani, a former Bollywood actress ...
... and they have two sons. Anmol Ambani, 27, works within his father's company and was named a director to the Board of Reliance Capital in 2016.
Anil's younger son, Anshul, will also join the family business as an executive director on the board of Reliance Infrastructure.
Mukesh Ambani is married to Nita Ambani, who Forbes called "The First Lady Of Indian Business" in 2016.
Nita is the chair of Reliance Foundation, the company's charity organization. She's also involved with the company's sports ventures as well as marketing and branding strategy for Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance's mobile network operator.
Nita and Mukesh have three children, the youngest being 23-year-old Anant Ambani, who has started taking part in some of his father's company's events and meetings.
Rumors have swirled about a possible engagement between Anant and Radhika Merchant, but a Reliance spokesperson said in May that "Anant Ambani is not engaged yet."
Then there are 27-year-old twins Isha and Akash Ambani.
Akash is a board member at Reliance Jio. Both he and his twin sister studied at Ivy League universities in the US, Akash at Brown University ...
... and Isha at Yale and Stanford.
Akash is engaged to his high school sweetheart, Shloka Mehta, the daughter of a well-known diamond merchant.
They're expected to be married in March 2019.
Akash's twin sister, Isha, is on the board of directors for India's largest retailer, Reliance Retail, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries, and serves as a co-director for the telecom arm, Jio.
She previously spent a stint working at management consulting firm McKinsey in New York.
Isha married Anand Piramal, 33, heir to a real estate and pharmaceutical business, in December 2018, following several lavish pre-wedding events.
The engagement party took place at the luxury Villa D'Este hotel on Italy's Lake Como, where singer John Legend gave a private performance.
Other pre-wedding festivities were held in the western Indian city of Udaipur.
These celebrations included a private concert by Beyoncé, who reportedly sang "Crazy in Love," "Naughty Girl," and "Perfect" at the Oberoi Udaivilas hotel in Udaipur.
The wedding ceremony itself was held at the Ambani family home in Mumbai.
An estimated 600 guests attended the extravagant wedding, which cost an estimated $100 million by some reports. A Reliance spokesman, however, said it cost no more than $15 million.
Vintage cars carried guests during the wedding procession.
Brothers Akash and Anant rode in on horseback.
The celebration included dance performances and sightings of many high-profile guests ...
... including former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with her longtime aide, Huma Abedin ...
... actor Priyanka Chopra and her husband, Nick Jonas ...
... and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan.
The wedding venue was the Ambani family home in Mumbai: a 27-story luxury skyscraper that cost an estimated $1 billion to build. It's called Antilia after a mythical Atlantic island.
Antilia includes swimming pools, ballrooms, a garden that spans three floors, six floors of parking, three helipads, and it can withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake. A staff of 600 people runs the home.
It's estimated to be one of the world's most expensive properties, second to Buckingham Palace. In this photo, trees surrounding the skyscraper are decorated for Isha's wedding.
Isha will reportedly be moving out of the family home following her wedding.
She and her new husband will move into a bungalow in Mumbai called Gulita.
The Ambani family has long mingled with high-profile global figures, including Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall ...
... former British Prime Minister David Cameron ...
... Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ...
... former US president Barack Obama ...
... and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The Clintons and the Ambanis have reportedly known each other for nearly 20 years.
The wealth of the Ambani family seems poised to continue growing.
Ambani's telecom company, Jio, has shaken up the industry in India, growing to 200 million subscribers in just two years.
"Jio is the biggest driver behind the surge in Reliance shares," Deven Choksey, managing director at K.R. Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt., told Bloomberg.
With all three of his children involved in the family business in some capacity, Mukesh Ambani's succession plan for the company is "unclear," according to Bloomberg. Only time will tell who will take over the $100 billion company.
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