Fri 20 Apr 2007


It has been a busy year in the fortune-hunting business. Strong equity markets combined with rising real estate values and commodity prices pushed up fortunes from Mumbai to Madrid. Forbes pinned down 946 billionaires, including 178 newcomers and 17 people who climbed back into the ranks after being absent for a year or more. Two-thirds of last year's billionaires are richer. Only 17% are poorer, including 32 who fell below the billion-dollar mark. The billionaires' combined net worth climbed by $900 billion to $3.5 trillion.
The World's Billionaires

#1 William Gates III
Age: 51
Fortune: self made Age: 51
Fortune: self made
Source: Microsoft
Net Worth: $56.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Medina, Washington , United States, North America
Industry: Software
Marital Status: married, 3 children
Education: Harvard University, Drop Out

After numerous delays, Microsoft visionary released latest operating system, Vista, in January. Last June announced his retirement from company he cofounded 31 years ago. The Harvard dropout who promised "a computer on every desk and in every home" now focusing time and talents on tackling diseases (hepatitis B, AIDS, malaria) in Africa, boosting America's lackluster high school graduation rate and helping women abroad start small businesses. This summer bridge buddy Warren Buffett pledged majority of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation over the next 20 years, potentially doubling foundation's endowment. Sells 20 million Microsoft shares a quarter, plows proceeds into personal investment vehicle Cascade. Today more than half of net worth invested outside Microsoft.

#2 Warren Buffett
Age: 76
Fortune: self made
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Net Worth: $52.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Omaha, Nebraska , United States, North America
Industry: Investments
Marital Status: married, 3 children
Education: University of Nebraska Lincoln, Bachelor of Arts / Science
Columbia University, Master of Science

Nation's most beloved investor married longtime girlfriend Astrid Menks on his 76th birthday last August. Had long promised to give away his fortune posthumously. Then last June announced he had irrevocably earmarked the majority of his Berkshire Hathaway shares to charity. At the time the gift was worth $31 billion; believed to be the largest gift in history, it will go mostly to the Gates Foundation. Son of Nebraska politician delivered newspapers as a boy. Filed first tax return at age 13; claimed $35 deduction for bicycle. Studied under value-investing guru Benjamin Graham at Columbia, learned to hunt for undervalued stocks. Bought control of textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965; added insurance underwriting for the investable float. Today holding company has insurance (Geico, General Re), apparel (Fruit of the Loom), utilities (MidAmerican Energy), home furnishings (R.C. Willey). Also has noncontrolling stakes in Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo. Despite gifts,
the Oracle of Omaha is $10 billion richer than last year: Berkshire stock up 22% in past 12 months.

#3 Carlos Slim Helu
Age: 67
Fortune: self made
Source: telecom
Net Worth: $49.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: Mexico
Residence: Mexico City , Mexico, Latin America
Industry: Communications
Marital Status: widowed, 6 children

The world's third-richest man is $19 billion richer this year and catching up with Americans Bill Gates and Warren Buffett thanks to a strong Mexican equities market and the performance of his wireless telephone company, America Movil. The son of a Lebanese immigrant, Slim made his first fortune in 1990 when he bought fixed line operator Teléfonos de México (Telmex) in a privatization. Last year he spent $3.7 billion to buy the Latin American operations of Verizon Communications, expanding his empire into Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. A widower and father of 6, Slim is a baseball fan and art collector. He keeps his art collection in Mexico City's Museo Soumaya, which he named after his late wife. In recent years he has donated close to $4 billion to education and health projects, and to the revitalization of downtown Mexico City's historical district.

#4 Ingvar Kamprad & family
Age: 80
Fortune: self made
Source: Ikea
Net Worth: $33.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: Sweden
Residence: Lausanne , Switzerland, Europe & Russia
Industry: Retailing
Marital Status: married, 4 children

Peddled matches, fish, pens, Christmas cards and other items by bicycle as a teenager. Started selling furniture in 1947. Now his company Ikea, which sells hip designs for the cost conscious, is one of the most beloved retailers in the world, with an almost cultlike following. Ikea, which has stores in 34 countries, continues to expand into new markets such as Chengdu, China and opened its first store in Japan last April. As egalitarian as his brand, Kamprad avoids wearing suits, flies economy class and frequents cheap restaurants. Has been quoted as saying that his luxuries are the occasional nice cravat and Swedish fish roe. Says his home is furnished mostly with his own Ikea products.

#5 Lakshmi Mittal
Age: 56
Fortune: inherited and growing
Source: steel
Net Worth: $32.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: India
Residence: London , United Kingdom, Europe & Russia
Industry: Manufacturing
Marital Status: married, 2 children
Education: St Xavier's College Calcutta, Bachelor of Arts / Science

Steel titan known for his dealmaking won six-month battle for rival Arcelor. The $34 billion merger created an industry behemoth that now accounts for 10% of world's production, putting it well ahead of Japan's Nippon Steel. Mittal owns 44% of combined $80 billion (sales) Arcelor-Mittal and is its chief executive. Mittal began his career working in the family's steelmaking business in India. Today Arcelor-Mittal operations span more than 60 countries and employ 330,000. Not content to dominate the steel industry, Mittal is branching out. Among his latest deals: spent $980 million for a 50% stake in Kazakh oil firm Caspian Investment Resources, a subsidiary of Russia's Lukoil. This Londoner is the UK's richest resident.

#6 Sheldon Adelson
Age: 73
Fortune: self made
Source: casinos, hotels
Net Worth: $26.5 bil
Country Of Citizenship: United States
Residence: Las Vegas, Nevada , United States, North America
Industry: Gambling/Leisure
Marital Status: married, 5 children
Education: City College of New York, Drop Out

Son of a Boston cabdriver borrowed $200 from his uncle to sell newspapers at age 12. Made first fortune in trade shows. Created computer industry's premier show, Comdex, mid-1980s; ran 70% profit margin renting space for 15 cents a square foot and leasing it to exhibitors for up to $40 a square foot. Sold show to Japan's Softbank for $862 million in 1995. Then Las Vegas: bought old Sands casino for $128 million, demolished it to build the $1.5 billion all-suites Venetian casino resort and the 1.2-million- square foot Sands Convention Center. Changed the way Vegas does business by enticing conventioneers to Sin City midweek, taking emphasis off gambling. Sold suites for $250 a night, added high-end retailers, celebrity-chef restaurants. Old guard mocked him: "I loved being the outsider. I didn't care what those guys said." Took Las Vegas Sands public December 2004. Building $1.8 billion Palazzo resort adjacent to arch-rival Steve Wynn's Wynn Las Vegas. Big bet on Asia: opened
$265 million Sands Macau casino May 2004, recouped entire investment in one year. Ramping up construction on Cotai Strip: $6 billion project will place 7 hotel-casinos on Macau's 2 islands, Taipa and Coloane. Cornerstone of project will be $1.8 billion Venetian Macau. Last May won coveted Singapore gaming license. Plans to build $3.5 billion Marina Bay Sands on 51-acre site with a view of the city's skyline.

#7 Bernard Arnault
Age: 58
Fortune: inherited and growing
Source: LVMH
Net Worth: $26.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: France
Residence: Paris , France, Europe & Russia
Industry: Diversified
Marital Status: married, 5 children
Education: Ecole Polytechnique de Paris, Bachelor of Arts / Science

Put up $15 million from his family's midsize construction firm to buy Christian Dior in 1985. Since then has built the world's largest luxury goods empire, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, whose brands also include Dom Pérignon, Fendi and Tag Heuer Still heads the company, which is expanding rapidly in China, Russia and India. LVMH recently hired Frank Gehry to design a $127 million private museum in Paris. Son Antoine, 27, joined sister Delphine, 31, on LVMH's board last year. Arnault also set up an investment fund with his good friend Albert Frere in 2006; pair own two wineries together. In December opened his four-star hotel Le Cheval Blanc in ski resort Courcheval, France, where he often spends New Year's Eve. Said to be a skilled pianist.

#8 Amancio Ortega
Age: 71
Fortune: self made
Source: Zara
Net Worth: $24.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: Spain
Residence: La Coruna , Spain, Europe & Russia
Industry: Apparel
Marital Status: married, 3 children
Education: High School, Drop Out

Son of a railway worker. Ranks among world's 20 richest for first time. With help from then-wife Rosalía Mera, got start making gowns and lingerie in his living room 44 years ago. Business became one of world's most successful apparel manufacturers, $8.7 billion (2005 sales) Inditex. Group also owns 3,000 Zara retail stores in 64 countries. Ortega is chairman. Through his investment vehicles has invested in gas, tourism, banks and real estate; has properties in Madrid, Paris, London, Lisbon, plus luxury hotel and apartment complex in Miami. Reportedly owns a horse-jumping circuit and part of a soccer league. Shuns neckties.

#9 Li Ka-shing
Age: 78
Fortune: self made
Source: diversified
Net Worth: $23.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: Hong Kong
Residence: Hong Kong , Hong Kong, Asia & Australia
Industry: Diversified
Marital Status: widowed, 2 children
Education: High School, Drop Out

Asia's richest resident. His fortune is centered on conglomerates Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa. Through them Li is the world's largest operator of container terminals, a major supplier of electricity to Hong Kong, a cell phone provider, retailer and real estate developer. Also has a nearly $10 billion stake in Canadian oil company Husky Energy. Recently announced plans to donate one-third of wealth over time, calling it "his third son." Eldest son, Victor, helps run massive empire; son Richard struck out on his own in early 1990s. Once a poor immigrant, Li got his start selling plastic flowers in Hong Kong in the 1950s.

#10 David Thomson & family
Age: 49
Fortune: inherited
Source: inheritance
Net Worth: $22.0 bil
Country Of Citizenship: Canada
Residence: Toronto , Canada, North America
Industry: Media/Entertainment
Marital Status: divorced, 3 children

Took control of family fortune after his father, Kenneth Thomson, died last June. Had already succeeded his father as chairman of Thomson Corp., media conglomerate in which the family has a 70% stake, in 2002. Grandfather Roy founded the business in 1934. Company traded away traditional printed titles in order to move into software and electronic media for professionals, like Westlaw, a legal research tool. With his brother Peter also serves as cochair of family's investment concern, Woodbridge. Well known art collectors, the family bought $5 million worth of native North American art at auction last year, including a $1.8 million face mask, the highest amount ever spent on a single piece of native North American art. David said the family bought the collection in honor of his late father.



Categories : Knowledge / Amazing
Comments (1)


10/5/2011 | lashpix  United States
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