David Gladstone
Source: Gladstone Companies

David Gladstone Grew His Net Worth Through Investing in Agriculture

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Aug. 5 2021, Published 3:35 p.m. ET

David Gladstone, the founder, chairman, and CEO of investment firm Gladstone Companies, has built his fortune in the agriculture industry. Although his actual net worth isn’t public, his holdings are reportedly worth billions.

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“I like the idea of being worth billions of dollars, but we’re not trying to do it overnight,” Gladstone said in a 2015 interview with The Snack.

gladstone spac
Source: Gladstone Companies
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Based in McLean, Va., Gladstone Companies is a family of investment funds that acquires and provides financing for lower-middle-market companies, commercial real estate, and farmland across the country. The funds include:

  • Gladstone Land (LAND)

  • Gladstone Capital (GLAD)

  • Gladstone Investment (GAIN)

  • Gladstone Commercial (GOOD)

Gladstone Acquisition SPAC went public this week.

Gladstone also has a blank-check company, Gladstone Acquisition, that started trading this week on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “GLEEU.” The SPAC aims to eventually merge with one or more companies in the farming and agricultural industry.

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The SPAC plans to raise $100 million through selling 10 million units priced at $10. Each unit is worth one share of Class A common stock and one-half of one redeemable warrant, which gives the share a value of $11.50. Gladstone Acquisition will have a market value of $129 million at the proposed deal size, according to Renaissance Capital.

David Gladstone used to own a strawberry farm.

The growth of Gladstone Companies is quite an accomplishment for a former strawberry farmer. In the late 1990s, Gladstone owned and operated the Coastal Berry Company in Watsonville, Calif. It wasn’t until after he sold the company to Dole in 2004 that he set his sights on investing.

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When Dole bought the strawberry farm, it only bought the operation. Gladstone kept the land and leased it back to Dole. That first arrangement led to the creation of the Gladstone Land Corporation and the rest of the companies soon followed.

gladstone land
Source: Getty Images
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Here’s a rundown of Gladstone’s four investment companies:

Gladstone Land Corporation (LAND)

Gladstone Land is a real estate investment trust that owns and leases farmland to third-party farmers across the country. The trust owns 141 farms with approximately 104,000 total acres in 13 states valued at over $1.2 billion. It's the first-ever publicly traded farmland REIT.

Gladstone Capital Corporation (GLAD)

Gladstone Capital Corporation is a BDC (business development company) that provides financing for lower middle-market companies through partnerships with management teams, entrepreneurs, and private equity firms. Its $493 million portfolio includes 47 companies in 17 different industries.

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Gladstone Commercial Corporation (GOOD)

Gladstone Commercial Corporation is an equity REIT that invests in single-tenant and anchored multi-tenant leased industrial and office properties. The company owns about 15.5 million square feet of office and industrial space. Its portfolio includes 120 properties in 27 states that are leased to 107 different tenants in 19 industries.

Gladstone Investment Corporation (GAIN)

Gladstone Investment Corporation is a private equity fund focused on acquiring mature, lower-middle-market companies. The company targets businesses that are cash-flow positive with strong management teams. Its $634 million portfolio includes 28 companies across 13 industries in 17 states. Many of the businesses in its portfolio are in manufacturing, business services and distributions, and consumer products.

“Our focus at Gladstone is to try to provide those investors and our shareholders with diversification and income by giving them access to the farmland, industrial/office, corporate credit and private equity sectors,” Gladstone said in a 2020 interview with The DI Wire.

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