Thursday, April 25, 2013

The World's Billionaires

The ranks of the world's billionaires have yet again reached all-time highs, both in terms of the number of billionaires and record net worth. The United States still has more billionaires than any other country, but once again the world's richest person comes from outside its borders. Here are the top 3 billionaires of the world.

#1 Carlos Slim Helu & family

Carlos Slim Helu & familyNet Worth$73 B As of March 2013
  • Honorary Chairman, América Móvil
  • Age: 73
  • Source of Wealth: telecom, self-made
  • Country of Citizenship: Mexico
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts / Science, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
  • Marital Status: Widowed
  • Children: 6

Carlos Slim Helu is the world's richest man for the fourth year in a row. He clocks in at $4 billion more than a year ago, thanks to surging stock prices at his financial arm, Grupo Financiero Inbursa, and at his Grupo Carso industrial and retail giant. Pan-Latin American mobile telecom outfit America Movil remains his most valuable holding at $36.3 billion; the company spread its wings to Europe in the past year, buying pieces of Dutch telecom company KPN and Telekom Austria. Other listed companies focus on mining, real estate and infrastructure. Slim does not hold an executive position at any of the companies he controls, but remains engaged and advises on strategy. He put his sons, Carlos, Marco Antonio and Patrick, in charge of the industrial, finance and telecom companies he controls.In September America Movil bought stakes in two Mexican professional soccer teams; in November Slim bought a majority of struggling Spanish soccer team Real Oviedo. Early 2013 saw a surge in Slim's philanthropic activity. The Carlos Slim Foundation pledged to translate into Spanish 1,000 videos from the Khan Academy education nonprofit website. Slim also hosted Bill Gates in late February; the two men announced they are funding research to improve farmers' yields and reduce hunger. 

#2 Bill Gates

Bill Gates
Net Worth
$67 B As of March 2013
  • Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Age: 57
  • Source of Wealth: Microsoft, self-made
  • Residence: Medina, WA
  • Country of Citizenship: United States
  • Education: Drop Out, Harvard University
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Children: 3
Gates' net worth increased $6 billion to $67 billion in the past year - with no help from the company he cofounded, Microsoft, in which he still has a 5% stock. Most of his fortune these days is spread across private equity, bonds, and stocks like hygiene tech firm Ecolab, Mexican TV broadcaster Televisa, and Latin America's largest beverage company FEMSA. In February, Gates said the only thing left on his bucket list was, "Don't die." 

#3 Amancio Ortega

Amancio Ortega
Net Worth
$57 B As of March 2013
  • Age: 77
  • Source of Wealth: Zara, self-made
  • Country of Citizenship: Spain
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Children: 3
Spain's Amancio Ortega is the year's biggest gainer, up $19.5 billion. He moves into the top three among the world's richest for the first time. He stepped down as chairman of Inditex, best known for its Zara brand, in 2011, but still owns nearly 60% of its shares, which soared 50% year-over-year on record profits. Ortega also has a real estate portfolio, much of it acquired at bargain prices during the financial downturn, estimated to be worth more than $4 billion. Among his properties: the iconic Torre Picasso, a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid (Google is a tenant), which he purchased from billionaire Esther Koplowitz in 2011. He also owns buildings in Madrid, London, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. A railway worker's son, he started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also a billionaire, he started making dressing gowns and lingerie in their living room. In December 2012, Spanish media reported that Ortega paid half a million dollars to prevent paparazzi from publishing photos of his daughter Marta and her equestrian husband Sergio Alvarez on their honeymoon in Cambodia and Australia. Marta, who works for Inditex, is reportedly expecting a baby boy.


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