Extended Stay America co-founder Huizenga dies

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 26 March 2018

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US: Wayne Huizenga, one of America’s most successful entrepreneurs, has died at the age of 80.

Huizenga co-founded Extended Stay America with George Johnson Jr in 1995, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was acquired by Blackstone in May 2004 for a total cost of US$3.1 billion in cash and debt.

Huizenga was also known for building three Fortune 500 companies and owning the South Florida region's major sports teams.

He founded AutoNation Inc, currently the largest automotive retailer in the US, and Waste Management Inc, which grew into one of the largest waste-disposal companies in the country. He also led Blockbuster during a rapid growth phase.

Huizenga brought hockey and baseball to South Florida as the inaugural owner of the Florida Panthers and the then-Florida Marlins, which won a World Series under his ownership in 1997. Huizenga started the hockey team in Miami in 1993, made the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996 and moved the team to a new arena in 1998. He later sold both franchises. He also owned the Miami Dolphins football team.

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