The world richest billionaires
The world richest billionaires |NET WORTH: $76 billion Helped by a bounce in shares of Microsoft, Bill Gates returns to the top of our annual Billionaires list this year after a four year hiatus. He is worth $9 billion more than a year ago, and has now been the world’s richest person for 15 out of the past 20 years. The Microsoft cofounder, who stepped down as chairman this year, has agreed to spend more time helping the software company’s product managers work on innovations. Meanwhile, Gates, who has given away more than $28 billion in his lifetime, remains focused on his foundation’s efforts to eradicate polio and getting fellow billionaires more involved with philanthropy.
NET WORTH: $48 billion
CEO of Oracle, Larry Ellison, is worth $5 billion more in 2014, thanks to rising value of his software company’s shares. In September, his Oracle Team USA pulled off a stunning comeback from a seven-race deficit to win its second consecutive America’s Cup sailing race. Ever the competitor, Oracle’s cofounder said in an August interview that Apple’s best days are behind it after the passing of close friend Steve Jobs and that Google’s alleged infringement on Oracle’s patents in its Android software was “absolutely evil.” His daughter Megan is a growing Hollywood powerhouse and has financed a string of critical successes including American Hustle and Zero Dark Thirty.
NET WORTH: $32.3 billion
CEO Larry Page is rearranging the furniture at Google. Over two weeks in January, he announced his company’s $3.2 billion, all-cash acquisition of thermostat-maker Nest as well as the $2.9 billion sale of its Motorola phone business to Lenovo. Shareholders aren’t blinking an eye. The search giant’s stock continues to trade at record highs and is up about 50% year-over-year as of mid-February. That’s caused the net worths of cofounders Page and Sergey Brin to surge past the $30 billion mark on the list for the first time. In April, Google will undergo a stock split to introduce new Class C shares that will carry no voting power. That move will consolidate the voting power of executives including Page, who owns nearly 24 million Class B shares, which carry 10-to-one voting power.
NET WORTH: $32 billion
In October, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million.In December, he announced in an interview with 60 Minutes that Amazon could be delivering its packages by drones within five years. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton, Bezos headed off to Wall Street, where he saw that the internet was the fastest-growing industry on the planet. He quit his job, headed to Seattle and founded online bookstore Amazon in 1995.
NET WORTH: $31.8 billion
Sergey Brin’s fortune passed the $30 billion mark for the first time recently as shares in the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant’s stock reached new heights. Shares are up nearly 50% year-over-year as of mid-February, leading to a more than $7 billion gain since last year’s Billionaires list. Confining himself to a more background role, Brin lets Page run the show as CEO while he oversees the secretive Google X division, dedicated to breakthrough “moonshots” like driverless cars and Glass, the augmented-reality spectacles he wears everywhere. News broke in August that he and his wife of six years, Anne Wojcicki, separated and that Brin was involved with another Google employee.
NET WORTH: $28.5 billion
Facebook turned 10 this year and no one was celebrating harder than CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After seeing his company past the growing pains of a disastrous May 2012 IPO, Zuckerberg has the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company flying high. Facebook’s shares are up more than 130% over the past year as of Feb. 2014. That’s caused Zuck’s net worth to more than double over the same period, even after he gifted away 18 million shares in late December. He sold more than 41 million shares and exercised 60 million options around that time as well. He is the biggest dollar gainer on this year’s Billionaires list.
NET WORTH: $19.3 billion
You won’t have Steve Ballmer to kick around any more. He announced last August he would be gone from the company within a year, and in February Microsoft insider Satya Nadella took over the CEO gig. Ballmer oversaw many years of growth at Microsoft–and generated $120 billion in profit–but will leave behind a legacy of having fallen behind Google, Apple and others in the post-PC mobile era. The post-Ballmer Microsoft will look quite different in the coming years. Just days after announcing his retirement, Microsoft spent $7.2 billion to buy handset maker Nokia.
NET WORTH: $17.5 billion
Michael Dell took his namesake company private in a $24.9 billion deal in October 2013. He once again has unquestioned control of the company he founded 30 years ago in a University of Texas dorm room. Since completing the massive deal, Dell Inc. has signed partnerships with Dropbox, Microsoft and Google to work on cloud computing. In December it announced it was creating a $300 million venture capital fund. Only $4.5 billion of his fortune is wrapped up in Dell Inc., and the rest is in his his two investment firms, MSD Capital and MSDC Management, which have interests in real estate, banks, automotive businesses, and energy companies.
NET WORTH: $15.9 billion
Paul Allen is winning on several fronts. The Microsoft cofounder’s Seattle Seahawks NFL team crushed the favored Denver Broncos to win their first Super Bowl. Meanwhile Allen’s fortune is up thanks to a diversified portfolio in tech, media and energy stocks, and rising real estate values in his hometown of Seattle. Allen, who also owns the red-hot Portland Trailblazers NBA team, had to be talked into buying the Seahawks in 1997 by local politicians who wanted to keep the team from moving. Allen paid $194 million and put $130 million toward a new stadium. The Seahawks are now worth $1 billion. Allen is up eightfold on his 1988 investment in the Blazers.
NET WORTH: $15.3 billion
India’s richest tech tycoon Azim Premji’s fortune got a boost after his Wipro spun off its consumer products business last year though it remains shy of its 2007 peak of $17.2 billion. While the country’s third-largest outsourcer has picked up speed lately, it still lags rivals. Premji foresees double-digit growth as the U.S. economy recovers. In December, Wipro bought Illinois-based Opus CMC, a mortgage services firm for $75 million.
NET WORTH: $15 billion
For Charles Ergen, the chairman of Dish Network, the start of 2014 has been rocky. Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, a majority shareholder of LightSquared and owned by Forbes 400 member Phillip Falcone, have accused Ergen of secretly avoiding a credit agreement prohibiting competitors from buying debt of LightSquared to obtain a powerful position in the company’s bankruptcy and give Dish an advantage when it bid for the firm. An entrepreneur, Ergen entered the satellite-TV business in the 1980s, just as the industry was set to explode.
Laurene Powell Jobs
NET WORTH: $14 billion
Laurene Powell Jobs is the largest individual shareholder in Disney. As head of the Laurene Powell Jobs trust she oversees more than 130 million shares in the entertainment company, a stake left to her by late husband Steve Jobs. Her Disney shares are collectively worth three times mores than her stake in Apple, the company cofounded and run by Steve. In April 2013, she made her first televised appearance since the death of her husband, pushing for immigration reform in a discussion with NBC’s Brian Williams. An angel investor, Powell Jobs is a backer and board member at media startup Ozy Media. She also sits on Stanford University’s Board of Trustees.
NET WORTH: $13.4 billion
Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, is the chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings, one of China’s “big three” Internet companies along with Baidu, led by Robin Li, and Alibaba, led by Jack Ma. Tencent’s chief technology officer Zhang Zhidong is also a member of this year’s billionaire’s list.
NET WORTH: $12.1 billion
Robin Li is one of China’s richest men and CEO of Baidu, the nation’s top Internet search engine. Before founding Baidu, Li worked in Silicon Valley for Infoseek, a search pioneer. He also sits on the board of NYSE-listed New Oriental Education & Technology, which provides educational services in China.
NET WORTH: $11.1 billion
The fortune of Indian tech billionaire Shiv Nadar, cofounder of $6.3 billion (revenues) HCL Group, got a $4.6 billion boost as as shares of his software flagship HCL Technologies doubled from a year ago, helped in part by a weak rupee, higher earnings and a raft of new clients. Among its notable customers are Boeing, Microsoft, Cisco and UBS. Nadar has not been involved in running the operations of the company for several years, preferring instead to focus on strategy for the group and philanthropy.