Who lost cash in Theranos? Documents show how much DeVos, Murdoch and the Walmart heirs invested in the firm

Elizabeth Holmes
Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett)

Court documents have revealed how much the prominent figures who bankrolled Theranos’ rise will lose unless the blood testing firm pulls off a Lazarus-like recovery.

Before its fall, Theranos raised hundreds of millions of dollars from people better known for their roles in politics, business and global finance than their interest in medtech startups. The identities of many of these people have leaked out in the past, but details of how much money each has on the line was hidden in sealed court documents. Now, the documents have been unsealed.

Having invested $150 million, the Walton family heirs of the Walmart founder have the dubious honor of being the biggest investor in Theranos, The Wall Street Journal reports. The family is one of four investors to put more than $100 million into the company.

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Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s education secretary, and her family invested $100 million, as did the Cox family that made its money building a media empire based out of Atlanta. Greg McNeilly, COO of DeVos’ family holding company, told the WSJ it would be an understatement “to say they’re highly disappointed in Theranos as a company and an investment.”

The other member of Theranos’ $100 million club—and the only individual in it—is Rupert Murdoch. The media mogul invested $125 million in Theranos in 2015 but has since gotten out of the company. Murdoch reportedly sold his shares back for $1 last year. Theranos’ settlement with Partner Fund Management later resulted in a $4 million payment to Murdoch. 

A number of other prominent figures put smaller but, to most people, still significant sums of money into Theranos. Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim will be down $30 million if Theranos fails to return any money to its investors. And an heir to a Greek shipping fortune and the former owners of the De Beers diamond company are in for $25 million and $20 million, respectively. 

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