Blockbuster Founder Wayne Huizenga Dies at 80

Blockbuster founder Wayne Huizenga has died, CNN reports. He was 80.

He was the only entrepreneur to create three different Fortune 500 companies during his career: Blockbuster video, Waste Management and AutoNation.

"He had a magic ability to create a business that was unmatched," AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told the outlet and confirmed the death. "Ideas were exploding in his head. He was bound and determined to out entrepreneur every other entrepreneur."

At one time, Huizenga, had owned three sports teams where he lived in South Florida — the Florida Marlins, the Florida Panthers and the Miami Dolphins. He was reportedly awarded expansion franchises to bring both the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball to Miami in 1993, then he purchased the Miami Dolphins the following year.

While he owned three sports teams at the same time, the serial entrepreneur did not run all three major companies simultaneously. Instead, Jackson said he would sell one company and move on to another.

"Huizenga started out on the back of a garbage truck in Fort Lauderdale. Then he bought a truck, and eventually he created Waste Management," Jackson shared. "Then he rented a video and decided he could do better and next thing you know he was opening up Blockbuster store a day. Then he sold that to Viacom and decided there had to be a better way to buy a car and he created AutoNation."

Forbes reports that Huizenga began a waste pickup service at age 25, and within 5 years he had consolidated 100 other pickup companies into giant Waste Management. After taking Waste Management public in 1971, he bought and expanded Blockbuster into a major media player before selling it to Viacom for $8.4 billion in 1994.

Aside from AutoNation, he also created waste disposal firm Republic Services, lodging firm Extended Stay America and Swisher, a service to clean bathrooms at restaurants and shops.


Following his ownership of the company, Blockbuster closed all of its stores in late 2013 as media consumers shifted to streaming services and on-demand viewing. But Huizenga's other two companies remain major players in their respective fields. Waste Management is the leading provider of reuse and recycling services in North America, while AutoNation is the largest United States auto dealership chain.

Huizenga boasted a net worth of $2.8 billion, according to Forbes.