What You Need to Know: Robert Kraft

Who is Patriots owner Robert Kraft?

Patriots owner and self-made billionaire Robert Kraft was charged during a prostitution sting this week at a Florida day spa. 

Who is Kraft? 

Kraft, 77, is the owner and founder of the Kraft Group, a private equity company with more than 100 holdings in sports, manufacturing and entertainment, including in the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, Rand-Whitney Group and International Forest Products, according to the Patriots

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Kraft was a 23-year season ticket holder before he bought the New England Patriots in January 1994, heralding an unparalleled level of success for the previously middling franchise. The team recently won its sixth Super Bowl championship.

A minor international incident developed in 2005 after the team won the Super Bowl and Russian President Vladimir Putin accidentally took one of the Patriots championship rings. Kraft cleared up the misunderstanding, saying he gave Putin the ring out of respect and admiration. However, years later Kraft said the ring had been taken, CBS Sports reported.

Kraft has interest in myriad sports. In the 1970s he owned the Boston Lobsters part of the now-defunct World Team Tennis league. He became a founder in Major League Soccer when he created the New England Revolution. He started a professional video gaming team in 2017 that is part of the Overwatch gaming league. He also has a stake in mixed martial arts promoters Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Kraft met his wife, Myra Hiatt, in the early 1960s. They were married for 47 years before she died in 2011 from ovarian cancer. 

Kraft attended Columbia University and later earned a master’s degree from Harvard Business School.

After school, Kraft started working at Rand-Whitney Group, a packaging company, and by 1968 through a leveraged buyout purchased the company. He then founded International Paper Products in 1972, which grew to become one of the largest suppliers of paper and packaging containers.

A philanthropist, Kraft has donated more than $600 million to various causes, according to Forbes. His net worth is estimated at around $6.6 billion. 

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