Life and times of Big Bull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

When I became a billionaire in 2008, my father wasn’t interested in my net worth but in how much I was going to give away,” Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, India’s best known stock investor, had said nearly a decade ago. This is probably one of the reasons why Jhunjhunwala constantly endeavoured to strike the right balance between earning and giving back to the society.

Jhunjhunwala was born on July 5, 1960, and grew up in a Rajasthani family in Bombay. He entered the stock market with just ₹5,000 in 1985. He amassed a fortune worth an estimated $5.8 billion (roughly ₹46,042 crore) in his life span.

His portfolio included 47 companies like Star Health, Titan, Canara Bank, Indian Hotels Company, Nazara Technologies and Tata Motors at the end of June. He also had holdings in Tata Communications, Bilcare, Federal Bank and Aptech.

  • Investor with a Midas touch, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who passed away in August 2022, was often referred to as India’s Warren Buffett.
  • Son of an income tax officer, Jhunjhunwala started dabbling in stocks while still in college.
  • He began investing with $100 in 1985 when the Bombay Stock Exchange Index was at 150; it now trades over 50,000.
  • The most valuable listed holding in his portfolio at the time of his death was watch and jewellery maker Titan, part of the Tata conglomerate.
  • Jhunjhunwala’s early bets on Star Health and Allied Insurance and Metro Brands paid off when both companies listed in 2021.

As a young investor, he found a mentor in stock market veteran Radhakishan Damani at a time when the stock market index was at 150; it now trades over 59,000.

Jhunjhunwala preceded his guru in the billionaire ranks, which he joined for the first time in 2008. Damani debuted on the Forbes World Billionaires’ list in 2017,

“Rakesh Jhunjhunwala was indomitable. Full of life, witty and insightful, he leaves behind an indelible contribution to the financial world.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Jhunjhunwala’s portfolio consists of blue chips such as watch-and-jewelry maker Titan Company, part of the Tata conglomerate, which is his biggest asset worth over $1.5 billion. His other long-time holdings include automaker Tata Motors and ratings firm Crisil.

While Jhunjhunwala was always wary of backing new-age startups, in recent years, he had begun reaping a windfall from a clutch of private equity investments as those companies started getting listed. For example, his 14% stake in footwear retailer Metro Brands, which went public last December making its owner Rafique Malik a billionaire, is worth over $400 million today. He was also an early backer of gaming firm Nazara Technologies and general insurer Star Health and Allied Insurance Company-both listed last year.


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