Last year, Coatue Management co-founder Thomas Laffont bought himself a little Southern California beach getaway: Two houses, each with a two-car garage, on an acre-and-a-quarter in one of Malibu’s most exclusive neighborhoods. That certainly seems like quite a lot of space, at least to this apartment-dweller, but these are difficult times. California has some of the strictest, most long-standing and apparently successful shelter-in-place orders in the country, and the Laffonts must have felt increasingly cramped in our coronavirus-stricken world. Luckily, they are billionaires, and their neighbor from across the street, Julia Roberts, was more than happy to listen to the Laffonts’ offer for the house next door to theirs, which the actress just happened to own. Now, she has $8 million she doesn’t really need, and the Laffonts have an extra acre-plus in which to keep their distance from each other, as well as another four bedrooms and three bathrooms in which to hide from the germs.

Records indicate the off-market buyer is Silicon Valley-based hedge fund tycoon Thomas Laffont, who also happens to own the house immediately next door. Laffont picked that charming place up last year, paying $13 million for the low-slung ranch, which was once owned by Equinox gyms founder Danny Errico. His Point Dume holdings now encompass a hefty 2.4 acres of lush land, all sited on one of the neighborhood’s most prestigious streets…. The sprawling, pancake-flat lot is fully landscaped, with wideset lawns and tall hedges for privacy. Gorgeous sprays of bougainvillea abound, and there are secluded lounging areas for private, outdoorsy pastimes like reading, contemplating life or enjoying romance with a summertime lover.

Or, you know, staying as far away from her as physically possible.

Julia Roberts Sells Malibu House to the Billionaire Next Door [Variety]
Why Are California and New York Different in the Virus Crisis? [NYT]
As coronavirus spreads, Los Angeles County scores an A in social distancing; other counties lag [L.A. Times]

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