Gates Tops $50 Billion in Forbes Ranking

From Times Wire Services

Microsoft mogul Bill Gates has cracked the $50-billion barrier, making him once again the richest person in the world and, for the first time, richer than any royalty or head of state, according to Forbes magazine’s ranking of the world’s billionaires.

If royalty were included among the top billionaires, the sultan of Brunei would have ranked third at $36 billion. The oil-rich sultan was richer than Gates until this year.

As of last summer, Gates had doubled his net worth, in 12 months, to $36.4 billion, based on the appreciation of Microsoft stock. He added $15 billion in the latest 12 months for a total worth of $51 billion.

No. 2 on the list is the Walton family, heirs of Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The family’s net worth is about $48 billion.


Forbes tightened the criteria for its rankings this year by including only the “working rich.” Listed are individuals or small family groups who are billionaires and have either built their own fortune or are working with their inheritance. The magazine made an effort to drop the silver-spoon set that is primarily living off its wealth, Forbes said in its July 6 issue, which was released Sunday.

The new criteria left several billionaires off the list, including the $15.3-billion Quandt family of Germany, the majority shareholder of BMW who ranked No. 10 last year; L’Oreal’s founding Bettencourt family of France, worth $11.4 billion; and sisters Barbara Cox Anthony and Anne Cox Chambers, the $7.1-billion heirs of the U.S. media company Cox Enterprises. Royalty and heads of state had already been excluded in recent lists.

One notable new member of this year’s list was the family of former Indonesian President Suharto, whose 32 years in power enabled him to amass stakes in about 3,200 Indonesian companies and a family fortune of about $4 billion, Forbes said.

Suharto became eligible after quitting under pressure last month amid the economic crisis in Indonesia. Asia’s financial retreat reduced its representation among the top 200 billionaires to 44 from 56 last year. American billionaires on the list rose to 70 from 60, while Europeans accounted for 52, up from 44.

The Asian economic crisis and recession in Japan reduced the holdings of transportation mogul Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, once the world’s richest businessman, to $5.7 billion.

The average net worth of the top 200 billionaires was $4.7 billion, up from $3.9 billion in 1997.

In a separate ranking, Forbes estimated the net worth of the world’s “kings, queens and dictators.”

Topping the list is the sultan of Brunei ($36 billion; oil, gas), followed by Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd ($25 billion; oil, investments, property), Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein ($5 billion; oil and “son Uday controls smuggling”), Syria’s President Hafez al-Assad ($2 billion; oil, agriculture), Queen Elizabeth II ($420 million; investments, property, or $16 billion, if including the value of the royal collection, with the crown jewels held by the queen in trust for the nation), and Cuban President Fidel Castro ($100 million; tourism, nickel mining, sugar).


Ranking of the world’s richest people as estimated by Forbes magazine, excluding dictators and royalty. Listed is name, country, net worth in millions and primary source of wealth.

1. Gates, William H. III, U.S., 51,000, Microsoft Corp.

2. Walton family, U.S., 48,000, Wal-Mart Stores

3. Buffett, Warren Edward, U.S., 33,000, Berkshire Hathaway

4. Allen, Paul Gardner, U.S., 21,000, Microsoft Corp.

5. Thomson, Kenneth, Canada, 14,400, Thomson Corp.

6 (tie). Mars, Forrest Edward Sr. and family, U.S., 13,500, inheritance (candy)

6 (tie). Pritzker, Jay A. and Robert A., U.S., 13,500, financier.

8. Alsaud, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Saudi Arabia, 13,300, investments, construction, banking

9. Lee Shau Kee, Hong Kong, 12,700, real estate

10. Albrecht, Theo, Karl and family, Germany, 11,700, retailing

11. Ballmer, Steven Anthony, U.S., 10,700, Microsoft Corp.

12. Mulliez, Gerard and family, France, 10,300, retail

13 (tie). Dell, Michael, U.S., 10,000, Dell Computer Corp.

13 (tie). Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong, 10,000, real estate, telecom, diversified

15. Botin, Emilio and family, Spain, 9,200, banking

16. Newhouse, Samuel I. Jr. and Donald E., U.S., 9,000, Media

17 (tie). Anschutz, Philip F., U.S., 8,800, oil, railroads

17 (tie). Cargill family, U.S., 8,800, Cargill Corp.

19. Tsai Wan-lin and family, Taiwan, 8,500, insurance, financial services

20. Haas family, U.S., 8,200, Levi Strauss & Co.

21. Fisher family, U.S., 8,000, Gap Inc.

22. Hopp, Dietmar and sons, Germany, 7,900, software

23. Kluge, John Werner, U.S., 7,800, Metromedia Co.

24. Moore, Gordon Earl, U.S., 7,500, Intel Corp.

25. Kwok, Walter, Thomas and Raymond, Hong Kong, 7,400, real estate

26. Slim Helu, Carlos, Mexico, 7,200, diversified

27 (tie). Berlusconi, Silvio, Italy, 7,000, media

27 (tie). Olayan, Suliman, Saudi Arabia, 7,000, Olayan Investment Co.

29. Plattner, Hasso, Germany, 6,900, SAP

30 (tie). Bass, Lee, Sid and Perry, U.S., 6,600, oil, investments

30 (tie). Perelman, Ronald Owen, U.S., 6,600, investments

30 (tie). Pinault, Francois, France, 6,600, retail

33. Landolt, Pierre and family, Switzerland, 6,500, Novartis

34 (tie). Lauder, Leonard A. and Ronald S., U.S., 6,400, Cosmetics

34 (tie). McCaw family, U.S., 6,400, telecommunications

36. Marinho, Roberto, Brazil, 6,300, media

37 (tie). Cheng Yu-tung, Hong Kong, 6,000, real estate

37 (tie). Wang, Nina, Hong Kong, 6,000, real estate

39 (tie). Ellison, Lawrence Joseph, U.S., 5,800, Oracle Corp.

39 (tie). Redstone, Sumner M., U.S., 5,800, Viacom Inc.

41 (tie). Hearst family, U.S., 5,700, Hearst Corp.

41 (tie). Kerkorian, Kirk, U.S., 5,700, Investments

41 (tie). Tsutsumi, Yoshiaki, Japan, 5,700, real estate

44 (tie). Saji, Keizo, Japan, 5,600, Suntory

44 (tie). Woeste, Albrecht and Henkel family, Germany, 5,600, chemicals

46 (tie). Ermirio de Moraes, Antonio and family, Brazil, 5,500, mining

46 (tie). Haub, Erivan and family, Germany, 5,500, retailing

48 (tie). Koch, Charles de Ganahl and David H., U.S., 5,400, inheritance, oil services

48 (tie). Piech, Ferdinand and family, Germany, 5,400, Porsche

50 (tie). Beisheim, Otto, Germany, 5,300, retailing

50 (tie). Murdoch, Keith Rupert, U.S., 5,300, Publishing

52 (tie). Langmann, Hans Joachim, Germany, 5,200, chemicals

52 (tie). Takei, Yasuo, Japan, 5,200, consumer finance

54 (tie). Johnson, Edward C. and Abigail, U.S., 5,100, Fidelity Investments

54 (tie). Otto, Michael, Germany, 5,100, retailing

56 (tie). Koc, Rahmi and family, Turkey, 5,000, Koc Holding

56 (tie). Ng, Teng Fong and Robert, Singapore, 5,000, real estate

56 (tie). Rausing, Gad and family, Sweden, 5,000, packaging

56 (tie). Sabanci, Sakip and family, Turkey, 5,000, Haci Omer Sabanci Holding Co.

60 (tie). Tisch, Laurence A. and Preston R., U.S., 4,800, Loews Corp.

60 (tie). Turner, Robert E., U.S., 4,800, Turner Broadcasting

62 (tie). Benetton, Luciano and family, Italy, 4,700, apparel

62 (tie). Knight, Philip H., U.S., 4,700, Nike Inc.

62 (tie). Kuok, Robert, Malaysia, 4,700, diversified

62 (tie). Perez Companc, Gregorio, Argentina, 4,700, conglomerate

66. Johnson, Charles And Rupert, U.S., 4,600, Franklin Resources

67 (tie). Ingram, Martha Robinson Rivers, U.S., 4,500, inheritance

67 (tie). Von Finck, August and Wilhelm, Germany, 4,500, insurance

69 (tie). Al-Kharafi, Nasser, Kuwait, 4,400, M.A. Al Kharafi & Sons

69 (tie). Persson, Stefan, Sweden, 4,400, retailing

71 (tie). Arison, Micky, U.S., 4,300, Carnival Cruise Lines

71 (tie). Waitt, Theodore W., U.S., 4,300, Gateway

73. Schmidheiny, Stephan, Switzerland, 4,100, ABB

74 (tie). Arison, Theodore, Israel, 4,000, Norweigan Caribbean Cruise Line

74 (tie). Bertarelli, Ernesto, Switzerland, 4,000, Ares-Serono

74 (tie). Del Vecchio, Leonardo, Italy, 4,000, eyewear

74 (tie). Irving, James, Arthur and John, Canada, 4,000, diversified, including Irving Oil

74 (tie). Schoerghuber, Stefan, Germany, 4,000, services, breweries, construction, real estate

74 (tie). Suharto family, Indonesia, 4,000, investments

74 (tie). Widjaja, Eka Tjipta, Indonesia, 4,000, pulp and paper, food

81. Wang, Y.C., Taiwan, 3,900, Formosa Plastics

82. Brenninkmeyer family, Netherlands, 3,800, retailing

83 (tie). Herz, Gnnter and family, Germany, 3,700, consumer products

83 (tie). Ito, Masatoshi, Japan, 3,700, retail

85 (tie). Arnault, Bernard, France, 3,600, luxury goods

85 (tie). Kinoshita, Kyosuke, Japan, 3,600, Acom

85 (tie). Soros, George, U.S., 3,600, money management

85 (tie). Ziff, Dirk, Robert and Daniel, U.S., 3,600, Ziff-Davis Publishing

89 (tie). Al Rajhi, Abdullah Sulaiman, Saudi Arabia, 3,500, banking

89 (tie). Azcarraga Jean, Emilio and family, Mexico, 3,500, media

89 (tie). Mittal, Lakshmi, India, 3,500, steel

92 (tie). Bronfman, Edgar M. Sr., U.S., 3,400, Seagram Co.

92 (tie). Khoo Teck Puat, Singapore, 3,400, investments

94 (tie). Bronfman, Charles R., Canada, 3,300, Seagram Co.

94 (tie). Mori, Minoru and Akira, Japan, 3,300, real estate

94 (tie). Perot, Henry Ross, U.S., 3,300, electronic data management

94 (tie). Safra, Edmond, Lebanon, 3,300, Republic Bank

98 (tie). Packer, Kerry, Australia, 3,200, Publishing & Broadcasting

98 (tie). Rocca, Roberto and family, Argentina, 3,200, diversified

98 (tie). Salinas Pliego, Ricardo and family, Mexico, 3,200, media, retailing