Gates shoves Buffett off of Forbes’ top billionaire spot

Tonight Forbes Magazine released its latest list of billionaires.  Last year, there were 1,126 billionaires.  That was before the crisis struck.  The list was cut by almost a quarter to 793; wealth amounting to $1.4 trillion was lost.  In the latest report, Warren Buffett gives way to Bill Gates to be the world’s biggest billionaire with net worth of $40 billion against Buffett’s $37bn. This drop to the second spot was certainly due to the “bad” investments the Oracle made in the previous year, including the one in ConocoPhillips during the time when the oil was at its peak.  Gates lost $18bn while Buffett lost $7bn more, totalling $25bn.

Carlos Slim, the Mexican tycoon took the 3rd spot with net worth amounting to $35.  He bought the fixed line operator Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) in 1990 and he now controls 90% of the country’s telephone landlines. His biggest holding is the $16 billion stake in America Movil, Latin America’s largest mobile phone company with a customer base of 173 million.  Fourth on the list is Lawrence Ellison, a Californian worth $22.5bn and who’s made his wealth through Oracle, which has completed 49 acquisitions in the past four years including BEA Systems for $8.5 billion.  Next is the family of Ingvar Kamprad, a self-made billionaire from Sweden (now living in Switzerland) who earned his $22bn wealth through the business of cheap furnitures, which everyone knows as IKEA.

The second set of 5 from the list:

6. Karl Albrecht, a German businessman who owns discount supermarket giant Aldi Sud.

7. Mukesh Ambani from India has merged his Reliance Petroleum with flagship Reliance Industries, earning him $19.5bn.

8. Lakshmi Mittal of ArcelorMittal is another Indian living in London who made his fortune of $19.3bn through the mega-steel business.

9. The younger brother of the Albrecht siblings, Theo is another German who helps run Aldi along with Trader Joe’s. He is worth $18.8bn.

10. Amancio Ortega from Spain closes the top 10 list with net worth of $18.3 billion.  Earning his fortuner mainly through Inditex, he and his wife are more popularly known through the clothing line Zara. The brand was exported to 4 additional countries in 2008: Ukraine, South Korea, Montenegro and Honduras.

With the big number of people who got the boot, it’s inevitable that some notable ones also left.  That includes:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg, the 24-year-old owner/founder of Facebook who lost $600 million in 2008
  2. Hank Greenberg who built his AIG empire lost 1.8 of his $1.9bn fortune as the company sank to its lowest from its huge exposure to credit default swaps
  3. Allen Stanford of Stanford Financial Group became the mini-Madoff of this year
  4. Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson was the major shareholder and chairman of Landsbanki, the Icelandic bank that was seized by the government.  He’s also the owner of football club West Ham United, which he might sell following the troubles of the this year
  5. Sanford Weill, creator of Travelers Group which was bought by Citibank
  6. John and Richard Marriott of Marriott Hotels
  7. Aubrey McCledon is the co-founder of Chesapeake Energy who had to sell 31.5 million shares of the company due to margin calls
  8. Tom Ward, who is also a co-founder of Chesapeake Energy

Anyway, following is the list of the top 25:


See the rest of the list from Forbes online.


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