Bloomberg — The late Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen’s 414-foot superyacht “Octopus,” last offered for 235 million euros ($278 million), has been sold to an undisclosed buyer.
The sale comes amid a record-hot market for the world’s largest luxury boats. A surge in personal wealth due to buoyant markets and a newfound interest in private, socially distanced leisure among the ultra-rich are driving unprecedented numbers of sales of both new and used superyachts.
Two hundred and nineteen superyachts were sold in the first quarter of this year, more than double the number during the same period in 2020, according to ship valuation service Vessels Value. Would-be buyers who once preferred to dabble in renting, or chartering, before springing for a purchase are now diving right in and buying. Smaller starter yachts are being bypassed for 100-footers. The sometimes sleepy secondhand market is suddenly pulsing as clients unwilling to wait a few years for a custom build prowl for deals.
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Explorer yachts such as “Octopus” are a particularly hot category. Capable of cruising 9,000 miles without needing to stop for a refuel, they minimize the number of port stops and thus, opportunities for viruses to infiltrate the guests and crew.
Put on the market about a year after Allen’s 2018 death, “Octopus” was originally offered at 295 million euros, according to its initial listing. A third longer than a football field, it’s one of the world’s largest explorer yachts, capable of traveling beyond the traditional Caribbean and Mediterranean hotspots.
A spokesperson for Burgess, one of the superyacht brokers retained to market the eight-deck vessel, along with Fraser Yachts, confirmed the sale but declined to comment further. The new owner intends to make “Octopus” available for hire for the first time from next year through yacht firm Camper & Nicholsons, according to the SuperYacht Times, which first reported the sale.
Representatives for Camper & Nicholsons didn’t respond to a request for comment. Vulcan Capital — Allen’s family office — declined to comment.
The boat’s 13 cabins can accommodate 26 guests and it also has space for 63 crew members. Other features include two elevators, two helipads, garage parking for both cars and helicopters and an eight-person submarine. The yacht is worth $208 million, excluding the submarine and other specialist equipment, according to Vessels Value estimates.
Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 and left in 1983. He turned his stake into a $26 billion fortune over the next three decades, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Through Vulcan, Allen acquired sports teams, real estate, art and invested in startups. Allen had no spouse or children to inherit his empire, though his sister, Jody Allen, is Vulcan’s chair.
Allen had a deep affinity for the German-built superyacht. When it was first delivered in 2003, Allen was overwhelmed by its size, according to his 2011 memoir “Idea Man.” At the time, it was the fourth-largest in the world, with the top three built for heads of state, he said.
“When I first stood on the bridge, I felt as though I was on a spaceship,” he wrote, adding that with features including a pool, basketball court, movie theater, a recording studio with ocean views, “all my passions come together in one movable feast.”