Forbes World's Billionaires 2012

THE PUNCH Newspaper

Forbes began the authoritative pursuit of the world’s billionaires 25 years ago. Our first cut yielded 140 names with 10-figure fortunes (24 of whom are still in the ranks). Since then, the club house has added a few wings. This year, we’ve counted 1,226 billionaires, an all-time high. At a record $4.6 trillion, the group’s combined net worth is up two per cent. The average worth of a Forbes Billionaire is $3.7 billion.

The big story this year is churn. There were almost as many list members who lost wealth (441) as there were who gained it (460). Only 180 held steady. Innovation, a rebounding Dow and vibrant IPO markets helped mint 128 new names, such as Glencore’s Ivan Glasenberg (No. 125) and Tesla’s Elon Musk (No. 634). Slumping commodities and Asian markets knocked 117 out of the ranks. Another 12 members from the 2011 list passed away, including buyout titan Teddy Forstmann and Apple’s Steve Jobs, whose wife Laurene Powell Jobs takes his spot. In total, there was a net increase of 16 billionaires, up from 1210 in 2011.

There are now billionaires from 58 countries including ones from Peru, Morocco and Georgia. The U.S. is still home to more billionaires than any other nation, with 425, a dozen more than a year ago. Russia and mainland China follow behind. They have 96 and 95, respectively, down from 101 and 115. The BRIC nations, which were such a force of wealth creation a year ago, have 26 fewer 10-figure fortunes, with only Brazil adding to its bounty.

Carlos Slim Helú of Mexico tops the ranks for the third year in a row, but the gap between him and Bill Gates is closing again. His fortune, at $69 billion, is down $5 billion. He was one of seven in the top 20 whose fortunes slipped, including Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison.

Meanwhile Gates, whose foundation helped wipe out polio in India, added $5 billion to his pile and is now up to $61 billion as Microsoft shares hit a 10-year high.

Amancio Ortega, the man behind fast fashion chain Zara, moved into the top five, despite having stepped down as chairman last year. India’s Lakshmi Mittal, who runs the world’s largest steel company, Arcelor Mittal, was the biggest loser. His fortune plummeted by $10.4 billion, knocking him out of the top 10 for the first time since 2004. He is ranked No. 21. That left an opening for Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, now ranked no. 9, who reclaims title of richest Asian for the first time since 2004, despite a $500 million drop in his own net worth.

There are lots of ingenious ways to make fortunes, not the least of which is using a popular brand to cater to a world full of consumers. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is worth $17.5 billion, up $4 billion from a year ago; he may be worth far more once Facebook goes public this spring. Notable newcomers with stellar brands include Kevin Plank, founder of sportswear maker Under Armour, and Sara Blakely, with her Spanx line of newfangled girdles. Blakely, 41, is the world’s youngest self-made woman billionaire.

Another notable woman in the ranks is Miuccia Prada, who returns to the list after a six-year absence. Two American immigrants to make their debut are the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Shahid Khan, who came from Pakistan when he was 16 and is the first minority immigrant owner of an NFL team, and 5-hour Energy’s Manoj Bhargava, who emigrated as a boy from India.

We hope you get some inspiration from a planet’s worth of entrepreneurs, tycoons and working heirs. We also offer some perspective in our 25th anniversary retrospective, highlighting the ups and downs, but mostly ups, of the world’s wealthiest through the years.

Billionaire new comers 2012

Alejandro Santo Domingo

$9.5 billion

Colombia, Inheritance

The richest new billionaire in the world is Alejandro Santo Domingo Davila, 35, who became the face of his father’s Santo Domingo Group after 87-year-old Julio Mario Santo Domingo Pumarejo died in October 2011. It is a role for which Alejandro, a managing director at Quadrant Capital Advisors, a New York-based investment advisory firm, has been groomed for many years.

Laurene Powell Jobs

$9 billion

USA, Inheritance

Steve Jobs’ widow inherits a fortune that was largely placed into living trusts near the end of his life. She met her famous husband, who died in October, in 1989 after he gave a talk at Stanford University where Powell was a business school student. They married less than two years later in Yosemite; the ceremony was overseen by Jobs’ Zen Buddhist mentor, Kobun Chino Otogawa.

Ivan Glasenberg

$7.3 billion

Australia, Commodities

Chief executive of commodities giant Glencore is one of its five executives to make their debut thanks to a successful public offering in May 2011. He has vowed not to sell shares in the company while he works there.

Patrizio Bertelli

$3.7 billion

Italy, Prada

Bertelli met his future wife, Miuccia Prada, at a trade fair in 1977. She supplied the design. He brought the business acumen. He orchestrated the brand’s June 2011 IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which elevated Miuccia back into the ranks after a six year absence and put Bertelli – – onto the list for the first time.

Pansy Ho

$3.5 billion

Hong Kong, Gambling

Macau mogul Stanley Ho, 90, has 16 living children but only Pansy is now a billionaire, thanks to the successful listing of MGM China, a joint venture with the U.S. gaming firm that she helped start in 2004 and now runs. She also has stakes in her father’s SJM and Shun Tak Holdings after a family feud over those assets was settled in March 2011.

Bertil Hult

$3 billion

Sweden, Education

Dyslexic Hult dropped out of college after a year to start EF in his dormitory’s basement, focusing on host families and on-site programs as central tenants of the company’s cultural education training. EF programs are now available in over 50 countries. It was the official supplier of language training for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Shahid Khan

$2.5 billion

U.S., Automotive

The NFL’s first minority immigrant owner, he bought the Jacksonville Jaguars for $770 million in January. Khan tried to buy the St. Louis Rams in 2010 but was beaten out by billionaire Stan Kroenke. He founded his own company, making a one piece car bumper design that later became the industry standard, with a few thousand dollars of savings and a small loan. Today his Flex-N-Gate sells $3 billion a year worth of parts to 41 car brands.

Elon Musk

$2 billion

U.S., Electric Cars

Shares of his publicly traded electric car company, Tesla, are up 30% in the past year. Meanwhile, he is prepping two other companies for IPOs. Full service solar power provider SolarCity is expected to file to go public any day now, with a predicted valuation of $1.5 billion. Space rocket innovation and engineering company SpaceX could follow in 2013.

Silas Chou

$2 billion

Hong Kong, Fashion

Michael Kors financial backer Silas Chou joins the billionaire ranks after taking the fashion house public in November. The fashion group’s shares are up more than 75% since the IPO, boosting the partners’ holdings to a combined $2.9 billion. These are the same folks who helped build Tommy Hilfiger into a 1990s worldwide retail phenomenon. Chou comes from money; his father was on the billionaires list in early 1990s. He currently serves as President and CEO of the textile manufacturing group he inherited, Novel Enterprises.

Lawrence Stroll

$1.8 billion

Canada, Fashion

Stroll sewed up his spot in the ranks after taking the fashion house public with Chou in November. The fashion group’s shares are up more than 75% since the IPO, boosting the partners’ holdings to a combined $2.9 billion. A native of Canada, Stroll currently resides in Switzerland. A driving and racing enthusiast, he collects vintage McLarens and Ferraris and is the owner of Canada’s Circuit Mont-Tremblant.

Woods Staton

$1.7 billion

Colombia, McDonalds

Staton’s Arcos Dorados (which means “Golden Arches” in Spanish) paid $700 million in 2007 for the rights to operate McDonald’s throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. He became a billionaire in April 2011, when the group, which now owns 1,775 in 20 countries, debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.

Tilman Fertitta

$1.5 billion

U.S., Restaurants

Fertitta started at dining chain Landry’s as a real estate specialist in 1986. Within two years he had the top job and became controlling stock holder. He took the company private in October 2010 in a deal worth $1.4 billion. The company operates Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and Saltgrass Steak House as well as Landry’s Seafood.

Manoj Bhargava

$1.3 billion

U.S., 5-Hour Energy

Indian-born Bhargava has had a handful of careers: demolition man, Princeton undergrad, cab driver, plastics executive. He even spent 12 years living in a Delhi ashram as a monk. But he has struck it rich with 5-Hour Energy, a two-ounce elixir of caffeine, B vitamins and taurine that sells for $3 a bottle. Copycat brands beware, he’s known to be litigious.

Sam Goi

$1.2 billion

Singapore, Popiah Skins

Singapore’s ‘Popiah King,’ Goi dropped out of school to work in his father’s grocery store, started a repair shop, then took a stake in a struggling food unit that he eventually bought. Today, Tee Yih Jia Food Manufacturing, the flagship of his privately held frozen foods empire, with estimated revenues of $1.3 billion, sells Asian foods in 49 countries and is the world’s largest maker of popiah skins (used to make spring rolls).

Petter Stordalen

$1.2 billion

Norway, Hotels

Norwegian hotel magnate– his Nordic Choice Hotels operates 170 hotels – is a former Ironman racer and an outspoken environmentalist. He chained himself to the UK nuclear treatment plant Sellafield in protest for nine hours in 2002. More recently, he rebuilt his sports car to be the world’s first biofeuled Ferrari.

Elisabeth Badinter

$1.1 billion

France, Advertising

Author of European bestseller, The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women, makes her debut, thanks to a large stake in Publicis Groupe, the communications outfit founded in 1926 by her late father Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. Badinter has been chairman of the board since 1996.

Chase Coleman

$1.1 billion

U.S., Hedgefunds

Hedge fund wiz’s $7 billion hedge fund Tiger Global returned 45% last year, the highest returns in the industry, investing in hot tech names like LinkedIn and Zynga. He personally made $500 million. Coleman, 36, is one of the most successful of the “Tiger Cub” protégés trained in Julian Robertson’s famed Tiger Management. His former boss seeded him with $25 million to start his own fund at age 25. He is a direct descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New York.

Kevin Plank

$1.1 billion

U.S., Sportswear

Shares of Plank’s Under Armour have been on a tear since bottoming out at approximately $12 per share in March 2009. With shares changing hands in the mid-eighty dollar range as of February 2012, Under Armour’s performance has finally propelled the upstart Nike challenger to billionaire status. Under Armour generated revenue of nearly $1.5 billion in 2011.

Sara Blakely

$1 billion

U.S., Fashion

Sara Blakely was 29 when she invested her entire life savings – $5,000 – trying to come up with something flattering to wear under her white slacks. Six months later, she founded her new line of shaping underwear, Spanx, named one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things. Since then, Blakely has taken Spanx from a one-product wonder sold out of her Atlanta apartment to a billion-dollar powerhouse with just under $250 million in annual revenues and net profit margins estimated at 20%. She owns 100% of the private company.

Nathaniel Rothschild

$1 billion

UK, Commodities

Scion to the centuries-old European banking dynasty, Nat, just 40, is making his own name in commodities deals around the world. A longtime adviser to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, he bought into Bumi, Indonesia’s largest coal producer; in February he survived an attempted ouster by fellow board members. He joined with ex-BP boss Tony Hayward to invest in oil shell Vallares, which merged with Turkish giant Genel in 2011.

—Courtesy, Forbes magazine.


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