Sam Wyly, a Dallas entrepreneur and philanthropist whose net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion by Forbes magazine, recently agreed to purchase Explore Booksellers, an independent bookstore in Aspen, Colorado, for $5.2 million. The sale is expected to be finalized in March. The store, including a vegetarian bistro on the second floor, was put on the market last September after the January 2006 death of owner and founder Katharine Thalberg. Thalberg, who was the daughter of the movie producer Irving Thalberg and the actress Norma Shearer, opened the store in 1975.
Wyly, who has a vacation home in the Aspen area, is a frequent visitor to the store. Originally making his fortune in the computer software business, he later formed a number of investment groups to acquire companies such as the Michaels chain of arts and craft stores, the Bonanza restaurant chain, and the electricity supplier Green Mountain Energy. In addition to donating millions of dollars to universities and charities around the country, Wyly has been a significant supporter of Republican causes and candidates since the 1970s.