Hat tip to osidebuyer for sending this in, from the wsj.com: (here it is Susie!)
A Russian billionaire investor paid $100 million for a French chateau-style mansion in Silicon Valley, marking the highest known price paid for a single-family home in the U.S.
The purchase of the 25,500-square-foot home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., underscores the strength of some luxury properties in an otherwise depressed housing market.
The buyer, Yuri Milner, 49, who heads Digital Sky Technologies and whose investments include Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and Zynga Inc., had no immediate plans to move into the home, said a spokesman.
Mr. Milner is the stocky founder of DST, a Moscow-based fund that’s made a splash in Silicon Valley via its investments. Its first in the U.S. was a $200 million check for Facebook in 2009. His primary residence is in Moscow, where he lives with his wife and two children.
The sky seemed to be the limit for Mr. Milner’s new house, a symmetrical limestone mansion with San Francisco Bay views that was inspired by 18th-century French chateaux.
The home has indoor and outdoor pools, a ballroom and a wine cellar. The grounds include a tennis court and inside are chandeliers and a frieze around a skylight in the entryway, among other details.
“There wasn’t a real budget,” said one of the architects, William Hablinski.
The sale of the Los Altos Hills home was previously reported by the website TechCrunch. Design plans for the house began in 2001 and the home was completed around 2009, according to Mr. Hablinski, who worked on the project with his then-partner Richard Manion.
Mr. Milner bought the home through a limited-liability company; the home wasn’t on the market, according to people familiar with the deal.
Mr. Milner, who studied theoretical physics in Moscow and attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, began his career in Moscow in the 1990s. By 1999, he had focused on the Internet after dabbling in everything from private equity to a macaroni-and-cheese factory.
The sellers are Fred Chan and his wife, Annie, who declined to comment through a representative. According to published reports, Mr. Chan founded Fremont-based ESS Technology, which designs and markets audio and video products for consumer markets, according to the company website.
They have been involved with condominium developments in Hawaii and have an educational foundation, according to published reports.
The Chans are helping to finance the house, having accepted a $50 million note on the house, according to Loren Goldman of First American Title, who reviewed documents related to the deal. The Chans planned to use the estate as their primary home and traveled to Asia and Europe to acquire specific items for the house, Mr. Hablinski says.
In Hawaii, the Chans own a 5.4-acre oceanfront estate on Oahu for which they were recently asking $80 million; the property, first developed by industrialist Henry Kaiser, is not currently listed.