What is Robert Mercer’s Net Worth?

Robert Mercer is an American computer scientist and hedge fund manager who has a net worth of $900 million. He is often referred to as a billionaire, but there is no official evidence that Robert Mercer’s net worth has ever quite topped the $1 billion mark.

Robert Mercer formerly served as a co-CEO of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. Additionally, he played a critical role in the United Kingdom’s campaign to leave the European Union by donating data analytics services to Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage. Mercer has made many other major donations to rightwing political causes, including to Breitbart News and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Mercer owns one of the nation’s largest collections of historical firearms and machine guns. He owns a weapon used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “The Terminator.”

Early Life and Education

Robert Mercer was born on July 11, 1946 in San Jose, California and was raised in New Mexico. Interested in computers from an early age, he attended a National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia in 1964. For his higher education, Mercer went to the University of New Mexico, where he studied physics and math. While working toward his degree, he had a job at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. Mercer went on to obtain his PhD in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1972.

Career Beginnings

Mercer began his career right out of college at IBM Research. He worked at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown, New York, where he helped develop the statistical machine translation technique known as Brown clustering. This was part of a speech recognition and translation research program being led by Frederick Jelinek and Lalit Bahl.

Renaissance Technologies

In 1993, Mercer was recruited by executive and mathematician Nick Patterson to join the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies. The founder of the fund, mathematician James Harris Simons, preferred to hire other mathematicians and scientists as opposed to business school students or financial analysts. Upon the retirement of Simons in 2009, Mercer and his former IBM colleague Peter Brown became co-CEOs of Renaissance.

In 2014, a bipartisan Senate panel found that investors of Renaissance’s main fund, Medallion, had underpaid their taxes by around $6.8 billion over more than a decade by passing off short-term gains as long-term returns. A few years later, Mercer and Renaissance were involved in one of the largest tax settlements in US history when he and others from the fund were ordered to pay around $7 billion in back taxes to the IRS. On top of that, Mercer faced backlash for his right-wing political activism. He consequently resigned from Renaissance in late 2017.

(Photo by Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Rightwing Political Donations

Considered one of the most influential billionaires in politics by the Washington Post, Mercer has donated tens of millions of dollars to right-wing political causes in the US. He has donated to such conservative organizations as Club for Growth, American Crossroads, Freedom Partners, the Heritage Foundation, the Media Research Center, and Citizens for Self-Governance. In 2010, Mercer donated to fringe biochemist Art Robinson’s failed campaign to unseat Peter DeFazio in Oregon’s 4th congressional district. He was later the primary financial backer of the Jackson Hole Summit, a 2015 shadow conference in Wyoming advocating for the gold standard.

In 2016, Mercer was among the biggest donors in the US presidential election, donating over $22 million to Republican candidates and PACs. He donated much of that to the campaigns of Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, and also helped Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway secure senior roles in the Trump campaign. Moreover, Mercer financed the right-wing super PAC Make America Number 1. Among his other financial contributions, he is a substantial source of funding for the far-right media outlet Breitbart News. With his daughter Rebekah, he donates to various other right-wing causes through his Mercer Family Foundation.

Brexit

Mercer has also been active in British politics. In 2016, he played a key role in the United Kingdom’s campaign to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, by donating data analytics services from the firm Cambridge Analytica to Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage. Cambridge Analytica was able to advise the political campaign group Leave.EU by harvesting data from people’s Facebook profiles in order to target them with pro-Brexit messages.

Personal Life

With his wife Diana, Mercer has three daughters named Jennifer, Rebekah, and Heather. He resides in Head of the Harbor, New York, where he has commissioned a series of super-yachts collectively named Sea Owl. Mercer also has a large stable and horse riding center in Florida. His hobbies include competitive poker and collecting machine guns and historical firearms.

In 2013, Mercer was sued by several of his household staff for docking their wages and failing to pay them overtime compensation. The lawsuit was reportedly settled.

Long Island Mansion

In 2000, Mercer paid $1 million for nearly-11-acre estate in Saint James, New York. He proceeded to build an enormous waterfront mansion. Today the property is likely worth at least $50 million.

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