Back in 2019, Riaz Valani paid exactly $40 million for a lavish and decidedly idiosyncratic estate on Malibu’s Point Dume. Owned for decades by TV legend Johnny Carson, Valani shares that blufftop compound with his longtime partner Augusta Tigrett, a daughter of Hard Rock Café co-founder Isaac Tigrett and Ringo Starr’s ex-wife Maureen Starkey.
Though he’s not exactly a household name, Valani is a billionaire — worth $1.8 billion, according to Forbes. He was also the very first person to invest in Juul, the electronic cigarette manufacturer that was, at its height, valued at $38 billion. When Marlboro parent company Altria paid an astronomical $12.8 billion for 35% of Juul in 2018, Valani reportedly received a cool $2 billion payout all for himself.
So it’s probably no surprise that Valani can and has paid another $31 million for a similarly lavish Malibu property, this one located in the further-flung Encinal Bluffs neighborhood. The sellers were Michael and Jodi Price, he a wealthy hedge fund mogul who is founder and chairman of Empyrean Capital. The Prices bought the house for $19.8 million back in 2016, and appear to have made few changes before offloading it to Valani.
The deal was actually inked last summer, but went unreported until now because the transfer was totally off-market, with none of the publicity or fanfare typically associated with these ultra-high-end transactions.
Records also indicate this property might be for Valani’s parents, longtime Silicon Valley residents Badru and Semin Valani, both of whom are veteran investors in their 70s. With his parents, Valani co-owns a relatively modest residence in leafy Atherton, a Bay Area town known for being home to many of the technology industry’s richest entrepreneurs.
As for Valani’s latest Malibu acquisition, it’s tucked away within a little-known gated community, and the oceanfront house features endless whitewater views and easy access to one of the city’s least-crowded beaches. Built in 1955 but since completely rebuilt and expanded, the 0.73-acre property consists of two separate structures: a two-story main house with three bedrooms and a separate two-story guesthouse with an additional three bedrooms. Altogether, there are six beds and four baths in about 5,000 square feet of living space.
Fully automated with the latest in smart-home tech, the main house offers an ocean-view living room, a fireplace-equipped dining room, and a kitchen with its own eat-in, Caesarstone island. Upstairs, the master suite has more ocean views, a soaking tub and a vast cedar closet, and there’s a second large bedrooms with its own private deck and outdoor shower. Walls of glass and hardwood floors flow throughout the structure.
The guesthouse packs in a media room, kitchenette and attached two-car garage, while all three of its bedrooms sport ocean views and wood decks. And out back, a flat grassy lawn sits directly above the sandy beach, as does a pool/spa combo. There are also multiple sitting and al fresco dining areas, ideal for entertaining large groups.
In recent years, Juul has faced increased regulatory pressure from the FDA, specifically over accusations it marketed its tobacco products to children and young adults. The company recently settled several large cases brought by state authorities related to its allegedly deceptive marketing practices, and had been facing bankruptcy this year. But this month, Juul announced it had secured fresh financing from Valani and Hyatt Hotels heir Nicholas Pritzker, though terms of that cash infusion were not disclosed.