John Malone, Media Mogul, Now Largest Landowner in America

John Malone
John Malone

Well, at least one buyer was able to take advantage of low interest rates.

John Malone, the press-shy chairman of media conglomerate Liberty Media, has just been named the largest individual landowner in the nation with a whopping 2,200,000 acres in his portfolio.

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.