Daryl Katz is a self-made CEO and Chairman that spearheaded what is now known as the largest privately-owned enterprise in Canada, Katz Group. He is famed for the expansion of several drugstores he has since sold in a $3 billion business deal, and for his ownership of the well-known hockey team Edmonton Oilers. He has since pivoted from drugstore ownership and now focuses his company on real estate and entertainment. He is one of the 500 wealthiest people in Canada.
Daryl Katz was born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1961 to parents Barry and Ida (neé Shugarman) Katz. He was the first of three siblings, the second and third being his sisters Shelly and Alyssa. As a child, he idolized the popular hockey team Edmonton Oilers and would watch them as often as he could. His father was a pharmacist, first opening up a small drugstore in 1955 on Stony Plain Road and eventually founding Value Drug Mart in the 1960s, an 8000-square-foot space in the Capilano Mall.
Katz attended the elementary school Talmud Torah in the Glenora neighbourhood. There, Katz was considered “studious” by classmates, and “very determined” to succeed. His drive would showcase in both his studies and in his athleticism – Katz won many first-place ribbons in sports up to the fifth grade. Katz would move onto Jasper Place High School in secondary, continuing his love of sports by joining the junior boys’ basketball team as well as playing competitive tennis across Western Canada and as far as the United States.
Katz would eventually attend the University of Alberta for post-secondary, where he kept his focus on law and the arts. Katz graduated with an arts degree in 1982 from the University of Alberta, and a law degree in 1985 (LLB).
Katz articled at Barr, Wensel, Nesbitt and Reeson, and then moved on to the law firm Shoctor, Starkman and Mousseau, but would eventually leave to start practicing at his private practice, where he intended on specializing in franchise and corporate law. His interests in business sparked by his father were renewed by his studies in franchise policy – in the late 1980s, he gained the rights to the Alberta Franchise Yogen Fruz as an experiment in investment. Though he did not retain the rights to the Yogen Fruz business for long, he would still leave his career in law entirely in 1991 to invest $300 000 with his father for the Canadian rights to the Medicine Shoppe drugstore franchise. At the time, the Medicine Shoppe franchise had more than 1000 stores across the United
States. This would mark the beginning of many drugstore investments over the years.
Katz’s career in drugstore franchising truly began in 1992, when in partnership with his father, he opened the first Medicine Shoppe store and Katz founded the Katz Group of Companies, which would become the flagship of his enterprise in the years to come. In 1996 Katz also purchased the rights to the then-failing drugstore chain Rexall, which had only a few dozen locations across the country. Under Katz’s leadership and investment, the business grew. He made another investment in the Ontario-based Pharma Plus drug store chain that then had 143 locations for $100 million from supermarket operator Oshawa group and by 1998, Katz had 80 Rexall stores, 30 Medicine Shoppes, and a handful of other independent retailers under his roster. He also later owned the nation’s only mail order pharmacy service, Meditrust Pharmacy Inc.
As Katz ran Rexall from Ontario, other subsidiaries ran other facets of the company’s empire from separate headquarters. He would continue to run his expanding drugstore locations while trying to capture more of the market. As he continued to buy up drugstore properties, he could rename them Medicine Shoppe or Rexall to keep in line with the
brand. By 1999, he would purchase the Synders Drug Store chain based in Minnesota and 2001 the Drug Emporium big-box discount chain. Unfortunately, in 2003 the Synders chain filed for bankruptcy and its locations were purchased by Walgreens.
Katz once again began to change his career in February of 2008. The businessman bought the Edmonton hockey team he’d had a fascination with since childhood, the Edmonton Oilers, purchased from the Edmonton Investors Group for $200 million. This agreement was a success for Katz after a year of failed offers in 2007.
After selling off Drug Trading Co. and Medicine Shoppe Canada to the U.S drug distributor McKesson Corporation for $1.2 billion in January of 2012, he would retain his Rexall branded outlets until 2016, when he would further sell said outlets for a deal worth $3 billion. As Katz continued to sell off the pharmaceutical side of his portfolio, he would begin work on Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), an entertainment franchise that would both generate new assets while managing the already existing ones acquired under the Edmonton Oiler’s purchase.
Katz has since acquired a total of four different sports teams, and developed one of the most innovative sports arenas in the country, dubbed the Rogers Place and Edmonton Ice District. He has since begun work on multiple different real estate projects aimed at updating and expanding infrastructure in his hometown. His current development is a $2 billion and 25-acre complex in Edmonton’s downtown corridor.
Katz has engaged in many philanthropic pursuits throughout recent years from 2006 onward. He has donated $7 million to the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Faculty of Law. This donation was matched by the province and when combined, accounted for the largest donation ever gifted to a pharmacy school. Katz has also donated $20 million to Mount Sinai Hospital in
Toronto. In total, he has donated with his wife over $50 million to many organizations across Canada.
Katz is married to Renee Katz (neé Gouin) and has two children. He currently resides in a 25000 square foot mansion in the Valleyview area of Edmonton which was completed in 2005 and has further real estate in Palm Springs,
California. He is the majority owner of the conservative news website LifeZette, which was founded by Laura Ingraham.
According to Forbes, Daryl Katz’s net worth stands at $4.4 billion.