In a world driven by technology, it is no surprise the richest person on earth thanks his wealth to software. Bill Gates, founder and holder of roughly 223 million shares of Microsoft, tops Bloomberg’s Billionaires list with a net worth of USD 85 billion. The top 10 contains three other Tech-billionaires: Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos at number 4 with an estimated net worth of USD 58.2 billion, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (8th with USD 47.1 billion), Oracle’s Larry Ellison (9th with USD 42.6 billion) and Larry Page of Google at number 10 with an estimated net worth of USD 39 billion. His fellow Alphabet (former Google)-companion Sergey Brin just missed the top 10 and stands at number 12 with USD 38.1 billion.
1. Bill Gates Computer/Software Microsoft USD 85 billion
2. Amancio Ortega Clothing retail Inditex USD 73.7 billion
3. Warren Buffett Insurance/investments Berkshire Hathaway USD 63.2 billion
4. Jeff Bezos Internet Amazon USD 58.2 billion
5. Carlos Slim Conglomerate/telecomTelmex/América Móvil USD 57.2 billion
6. Charles Koch Oil / commodities Koch Industries USD 52 billion
7. David Koch Oil / commodities Koch Industries USD 52 billion
8. Mark Zuckerberg Internet Facebook USD 47.1 billion
9. Larry Ellison Software Oracle USD 42.6 billion
10. Larry Page Internet Alphabet USD 39 billion
Since the start of the year, the top 10 is USD 33.6 billion richer (as of November 10). Jeff Bezos saw his net worth increase the most with a total plus of USD 29.6 billion. As a result, he surpassed Carlos Slim and the Koch brothers. With the latter two we don’t have to feel sorry, since the Kochs, who own 42% of Koch Industries, saw their net worth rise with USD 1.6 billion. However, ‘poor’ Carlos Slim lost USD 15.4 billion in net worth. Jeff Bezos stellar increase in net worth is driven by investors’ confidence in Amazon. Although the company is marginally profitable, shares of the internet retailer more than doubled since early 2015. Since the 51-year old Bezos holds a little less than 84 million shares, it’s no wonder he’s the top performer in the Billionaires list. But Bezos is not the only one benefitting from a sharp increase in share price. Also Mark Zuckerberg and the Google founders Page and Brin owe their increased net worth to a strong performance of their companies on the stock market. Facebook is now +35% since start of 2015, Google did a little better with almost 40% YTD-rise.
But this also shows the ‘risk’ of calculating the net worth of majority shareholders. With tech and internet shares star performers on the US stock market, former founders and majority shareholders make a strong appearance. Larry Ellison’s Oracle has a lackluster 2015 thus far, dropping roughly 10% which significantly hurts Ellison who holds 1.1 billion Oracle shares. The ‘pain’ is also felt by Lakshmi Mittal (of ArcelorMittal), former number 19 with a net worth of USD 22.6 billion but now only at 110th place (USD 10.4 billion). His fellow India-billionaires did a lot better, since total wealth reached USD 95.6 billion as of November 2015, up from USD 48.1 billion. But that is a result of 5 new names. Combined, the 200 billionaires on Bloomberg’s list share a wealth of USD 3 trillion, up from USD 671 billion as of March 2012. I guess we had a bull run on the stock markets…