Did a Red Bull heir buy Chicago's priciest home?

Red Bull family in Thailand

Red Bull family in Thailand

The buyer in the highest-priced home sale of the year so far may be an heir to the fortune made off the energy drink Red Bull. 

Jiravat and Supatra Yoovidhya paid $7.5 million for a home on Bellevue Place in the Gold Coast on Oct. 11, according to the Cook County recorder of deeds. It was the highest price anyone has paid for a home in the Chicago area so far in 2017, Crain's reported at the time, before the buyers' names appeared in public records. 

Jiravat Yoovidhya, who is worth more than $4 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is a son of the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, the Thai entrepreneur who in 1975 developed a drink called Krating Daeng ("red bull" in Thai). After the drink became popular in Asia, Chaleo Yoovidhya partnered with Dietrich Mateschitz of Austria to take it global. When he died in 2012, notoriously press-shy Chaleo Yoovidhya left a fortune worth about $21 billion. 

Jiravat Yoovidhya and his wife, Supatra, who do not appear to have owned Chicago-area real estate before, could not be reached for comment. Their real estate agent, Kin Chow of @properties, declined to comment. Seller Anita Lisek and the agent who represented her, Beata Gaska of Sergio & Banks, did not respond to requests for comment. The lawyer who prepared the property deed, Aaron Tenenbaum, did not reply either. 

The house first came on the market in February at almost $9 million, but the sellers cut the price by $1 million in July. At the time of the sale, Lisek told Crain's that "a buyer came in and looked at the house, and the same day we had an offer that I don't think anyone would resist." 

The Gold Coast house has six bedrooms and about 10,000 square feet of living space. Homebuilding firm Noah Properties, where Lisek is a principal with her husband, Bart Przyjemski, paid $3.1 million for the house in 2014. Lisek previously told Crain's that it was badly run-down and that her firm replaced everything but the 1890s facade, doubling the size of the house in the process. 

Jiravat Yoovidhya, according to Forbes magazine, is involved with his family's hospital and real estate interests. They include two Bangkok properties, Piyavate Hospital and the Tria Re-Life Villa, a wellness-oriented facility. Crain's could not determine whether the Yoovidhya family has holdings in the Chicago area. 

Research has turned up no other Jiravat Yoovidhyas in Chicago or elsewhere. The Red Bull-related Yoovidhyas have kept a low profile for years, according to reports, one of which says that Chaleo declined all interviews for 30 years. 

The key to the family's fortune, Red Bull, had revenues of $6.6 billion in 2016, according to Bloomberg. Jiravat is one of 11 heirs who inherited Chaleo's 49 percent stake in Red Bull. 

Chaleo Yoovidhya, born in the 1920s, grew up poor in a Thai village, where his parents raised ducks and traded fruit, according to biographical sketches found online. In the 1960s, he became an antibiotics salesman and started his own firm, TC Pharmaceuticals, in Bangkok. He developed the drink now known as Red Bull, and years later, when Mateschitz discovered that Asian energy drinks beat his jet lag, he made a deal with Yoovidhya to take the product global. 

Source Crain's Chicago Business