Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, currently worth $6.7 billion, today topped the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans despite losing almost $2 billion in last year’s stock market collapse.
Walton, Wal-Mart’s principal stockholder, headed the list last year with a net fortune of $8.5 billion. Since then, the value of his holdings in the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail chain has dropped by $1.8 billion.
If the money Walton lost during the stock market turmoil had been transferred to another individual, it would have made that person the 16th-richest American on the annual list compiled by the business magazine.
Japanese in Lead
Despite his losses in the stock market, Walton was ranked as the world’s fifth-richest man in July by Forbes. His fortune is bettered only by three Japanese and a Canadian.
Walton had twice as much money as the second-richest American on the list, German-born John Werner Kluge.
Kluge, former chairman of Charlottesville, Va.-based Metromedia Co., had a net worth of $3.2 billion as of Aug. 30.
Henry Ross Perot, founder of Electronic Data Systems, followed Kluge with a personal fortune of $3 billion. The Texan founded the Dallas-based data processing company in 1962 with $1,000 from his wife.
The No. 4 and No. 5 spots were held by publishing tycoons Samuel Irving Newhouse Jr. and Donald Edward Newhouse. Each of the brothers, who currently live in New York City, had an estimated worth of $2.6 billion.
The Newhouse brothers supervise some of the nation’s best-known newspapers and magazines, including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Gourmet.
Pittsburgh venture capitalist Henry Lea Hillman was sixth on the list with an estimated fortune of $2.5 billion. Hillman’s holdings include real estate and a fledgling biotechnology company.