How much is Paul Allen worth?

The fashion makeover not withstanding, it is hard to figure out the secretive Paul Allen and his unraveling empire. His wired world strategy was supposed to be a slam dunk, but it has not turned out that way. Forbes thinks he is worth about $21 billion. The question is how? He has lost money in Charter Communications and several other companies including the official geek channel, Tech TV. Earlier this year, Princeton, N.J.-based RCN Corp., announced its intention to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Allen owns about a quarter of RCN’s stock, and has seen nearly $1.6 billion evaporate even before the bankruptcy. Charter has sucked nearly $7.8 billion of his dollars, and it is an investment which is higher than his stake in Microsoft, said to be worth a mere $5 billion. Charter has $18 billion in debt, more than $700 million of which comes due in 2005 and 2006.

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