Malone overtook his Stetson-wearing pal and business partner, Ted Turner, for the top spot in Land Report Magazine's annual list of the 100 biggest property barons. Turner, a media powerhouse in his own right, who has had in hand in everything from the success of a 24-hour news channel (CNN) to the resurgence of professional wrestling (WCW), dropped to number two on the list, with slightly more than 2 million acres.
The key to Malone's major purchases this year, he told The Land Report, was twofold: a drop in land prices and cheap borrowing. It's a refrain that should sound familiar to less well-heeled buyers, too -- except that for the vast majority of the buying public, qualifying for a mortgage is easier said than done in today's tight credit market.
Malone, whose businesses include Time Warner Cable, SiriusXM radio, Barnes & Noble and the Atlanta Braves, began amassing his impressive land holdings back in the '90s, when he purchased properties in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. And in a decision that sparked controversy among some environmentalists earlier this year, Malone bought up 1 million acres of timberland in Maine and New Hampshire, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But Malone maintains that he is an avid conservationist, according to The Land Report, and plans to eventually put all of his land into conservation easements. He currently raises horses and cattle on much of his western property.
An aerial shot of Frontier Forest in Maine, which Malone purchased in 2002.
Pictured below, a satellite view of Hardscrabble Mountain in Maine. Between New Hampshire and Maine, Malone purchased more than a million acres in 2011. It gives new meaning to the expression "all that the eye can see."
This Italian villa, built in 1924, is available for the first time in 30 years -- and for $9.5 million less than its original ask. The 7.39 acre estate offers coastal and valley panoramas. Features include a pool, guesthouse, tennis court, Japanese garden and three gated entrances.
Exposed beams and glass doors, leading to a porch with coastal views, add luster to this ornate interior.
Location: Corona Del Mar, Calif.
Price: $17.995 million
Sq. Ft.: 7,251
This soft contemporary presides majestically over coastal cliffs. Walls of glass give the panoramas full advantage while three stories of outdoor living go even further to celebrate the residence's stunning location. But as exceptional as this property is, the owner may have asked a little too much at first -- or more than just a little: The home is $10 million cheaper than originally listed.
Location: Kihei, Hawaii
Price: $17 million
Sq. Ft.: 2,337
The fact that $17 million brings you just two bedrooms in the case of this stunner speaks to how expensive Hawaii beachfront really is. And just think: Before the home's $5 million price cut, two bedrooms here cost significantly more.
Location: Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Price: $15.995 million
Sq. Ft.: 17,015
Counting the residence's guesthouses, this property offers 35,000 square feet of covered space. Throw in the 21-car garages, and you've got to wonder: Was the original owner playing sultan? If so, the act's up -- this home has been foreclosed on. Recently, its handler cut the price by $2 million.
The home boasts high-tech security and sound equipment along with a 13-seat mahogany theater, solar-heated pool and solar-electric generator. There are also two swimming pools, including the one pictured at left.