[FoRK] World's Billionaires
Gregory Alan Bolcer
gbolcer at endeavors.com
Fri Feb 27 08:16:18 PST 2004
Twenty three billionaires in Moscow. Orange County has some catching up to
do. AdamB's hero increases his wealth by the most dollars. Ro, AdamR, and
DanK still know more than anyone on the list.....
Billionaire ranks are thriving
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Forbes' annual survey finds more of them than ever, richer than ever. And the richest man on the planet even has some competition.
After two years of falling fortunes, the collective net worth of the world's billionaires jumped half a trillion dollars in the past year, to $1.9 trillion. The biggest gainer in sheer dollars was Warren Buffett, who added $12.4 billion to his net worth and now is only a few billion dollars shy of ending Bill Gates' 10-year reign as the richest person on the planet.
This year, Forbes reports a record 587 billionaires, including 64 newcomers hailing from 19 countries. Among them:
* In a fairy tale as fantastic as her popular "Harry Potter" series, former welfare mother J.K. Rowling makes her debut on the Forbes list at 552.
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* So do two geeks who have barely turned 30: Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who created the ultrapopular Google search engine and are expected to take their company public this year.
* Canadian impresario Guy Laliberté, creator of Cirque du Soleil, whose acrobatic extravaganzas are top draws at Disney World and on the Las Vegas strip.
* Hong Kong's Michael Ying, whose Esprit line of apparel is spreading, Gap-like, around the world.
Thanks to rising oil prices, Russia minted eight new billionaires and now has a total of 25, the third-highest concentration in the world. Twenty-three of them live in Moscow, ranking it second behind New York as the city with the most billionaire residents. Hong Kong and Paris follow.
587 richest people in the world on Forbes.com
Related resources image • View the full, sortable list of billionaires
• See the new faces on the list
• Who are the most eligible billionaires?
• Who fell off the list?
• Middle Eastern and African billionaires
• Can a billion dollars keep you out of jail?
The youngest billionaire is Prince Albert Thurn und Taxis, just 20 and ranked No. 262 with a fortune of $2.1 billion. Compare that with the average age of all billionaires, which is 64, and an average net worth of $3.3 billion. Not a bad start.
Rising, falling and doing time
Two years ago, 83 former billionaires failed to make the cut. Last year it was 67. And this year? A measly six members of last year's list fell off -- a testament to the comeback of global markets. Most of the dropoffs owe their delisted status to divestments of holdings. But Canada's Eugene Melnyk was axed in the old-fashioned way -- stock in his pharmaceutical company, Biovail, took a dive after revelations of accounting irregularities. Computer Associates shareholder Sam Wyly just missed the cutoff.
Among the comeback club members were techies like Yahoo! founders David Filo and Jerry Yang and Ameritrade's J. Joseph Ricketts. Also returning were brothers Victor and William Fung, whose global outsourcing company, Li & Fung, supplies clothes and fashion accessories to retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Two members of the Forbes World's Richest People list and one former billionaire are behind bars: Russian billionaires Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, who made their money from oil giant Yukos, and Italy's Calisto Tanzi, the former billionaire and Parmalat chief accused of masterminding one of the largest corporate frauds in history. All three await trial. Japanese billionaire Yasuo Takei recently pleaded guilty to wiretapping and agreed to pay a fine to be released from police custody. In the meantime, billionaire ex-convicts like Leona Helmsley and former Sotheby's Chairman A. Alfred Taubman enjoy their freedom.
See the Forbes billionaire list and how it's figured
-- Edited by Luisa Kroll and Lea Goldman
© Copyright 2004 Forbes.com. All rights reserved.
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