Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gates up, Saudi’s Prince Alwaleed down in Forbes rich list

Bill Gates has regained his crown as the world’s richest person – but Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed has fallen in Forbes magazine’s annual billionaire ranking.
The list found that Microsoft co-founder Gates has a net worth of $76 billion, overtaking Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who holds an altogether more modest $72bn.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal – who last year attacked the Forbes rich list – declined by four places in the ranking. Forbes said that Alwaleed ranks as the world’s 30th richest person, with a net worth of $20.4bn, compared with 26th place in 2013.
That number is likely to jar with Alwaleed, who hit out at Forbes after its 2013 rich list estimated his wealth at a mere $20bn. Alwaleed, claiming he is worth $29.6bn, reportedly sued Forbes for defamation in a British court over the alleged undervaluation.
Other estimates put Alwaleed’s fortune at a lot higher. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Alwaleed has a fortune of $30.5bn, closer to the prince’s own estimate.
Prince Alwaleed is head of Kingdom Holding, and has investments in companies including News Corp, Citigroup and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. He bought $300 million worth of Twitter shares in 2012, which Forbes estimates are now worth upwards of $1 billion.
Forbes acknowledged the tension with Alwaleed in the rich list published this week. “In 2013, Prince Alwaleed sued Forbes for libel in response to an article about him. Forbes stands by our position that the Prince does not have a valid claim and Forbes is preparing a formal response to the complaint,” the magazine said on its website.
Other notable names on the Forbes list include Spanish clothing magnate Amancio Ortega, known for the Zara retail chain, who maintained his third-ranked spot and came out ahead of famed U.S. investor Warren Buffett, who ranked fourth.
Forbes says a record 1,645 billionaires made the list this year, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion. That's up from 1,426 billionaires last year with a net worth of $4.2 billion. The total net worth of this year's list was $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion last year.
Newcomers to the list include Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton, who recently sold their business to Facebook for $19 billion.