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World’s 8 richest people: All men, mostly Americans

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, waved at the CEO summit during the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Lima, Peru on Nov. 19. The company went on to become popular globally and listed its shares publicly in 2012, making Zuckerberg, now 32, a multi-billionaire.

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    Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim Helu held a press conference, Sept. 2010, at the Forbes Global CEO conference in Sydney. The Mexican tycoon owes his fortune to a major ownership in America Movil, a telecommunications multinational worth $42 billion.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett applauded at an Aug. 1 rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Omaha, Neb. Buffet began investing as a teenager in the ‘40s and gradually grew his firm, Berkshire Hathaway.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Bill Gates arrived at Trump Tower in New York on Dec. 13. The eight individuals who own as much as half of the rest of the planet are all men, and have largely made their fortunes in technology. Gates co-founded Microsoft in the mid-70s, growing it into the world’s biggest software company and helping to make computers a household item.

LONDON >> The eight individuals who own as much as half of the rest of the planet are all men, and have largely made their fortunes in technology. Most are American, with one European and one Mexican in the mix. Several have pledged to give it all to charity.

The eight tycoons’ net worth, as calculated by Forbes magazine, was cited today by anti-poverty activists Oxfam in a report highlighting income inequality. Although most of them will not be joining the annual gathering of business and political elites in the Swiss town of Davos this week, the extraordinary individual wealth they typify will be part of the discussions in Davos on inequality.

Here’s a look at who they are.

Bill Gates: $75 billion

The man whose name is a byword for billionaire. Gates co-founded Microsoft in the mid-70s, growing it into the world’s biggest software company and helping to make computers a household item. He quit as CEO in 2000 and pledged to devote his fortune to his philanthropic activities in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has gradually reduced his ownership in Microsoft to less than 3 percent, with the bulk of his wealth in a private firm. He’s the only one on the list who’s a regular at Davos.

Amancio Ortega: $67 billion

The richest person in Europe, Ortega opened the first Zara fashion shop in 1975. Now, the chain, part of Ortega’s Inditex group, has 7,000 shops globally. Its boom in popularity is largely due to a low cost model that competes with the likes of H&M. As Zara and Inditex grew in size, Ortega, a Spaniard, held on to a majority stake of 59 percent in the company, which has a market value of over 97 billion euros ($102 billion).

Warren Buffett: $60.8 billion

The Oracle of Omaha, as he’s known for the way his every investment decision is followed by thousands. Buffett began investing as a teenager in the 1940s and gradually grew his firm, Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett, 86, is notoriously frugal and favors investing in companies with proven business models over new industries, such as in technology. He’s said he will give away the bulk of his wealth to philanthropy. Since 2006, he’s been donating blocks of Berkshire stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Carlos Slim Helu: $50 billion

The Mexican tycoon owes his fortune to a major ownership in America Movil, a telecommunications multinational worth $42 billion. He personally owns about 7 percent in the company while his broader family retains a 37 percent stake. He was ranked as the richest person three years ago, but saw his net worth hit by a downturn in Latin American economies. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s threats to scrap free trade deals and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border have also hurt shares in his business interests. Forbes estimates his net worth dropped $5 billion in the four days after Trump’s election.

Jeff Bezos: $45.2 billion

The founder and CEO of Amazon.com helped revolutionize the retail industry by popularizing online shopping. What was initially an online book shop now sells pretty much anything. Bezos has reached beyond Amazon, in which he holds a 17 percent stake, to try his hand in other industries. He’s bought the Washington Post and set up an aerospace company, Blue Origin, that aims to make space accessible to tourists and paying customers.

Mark Zuckerberg: $44.6 billion

He founded Facebook in 2004 while a college student to connect other Harvard students. The company went on to become popular globally and listed its shares publicly in 2012, making Zuckerberg, now 32, a multibillionaire. He’s managed to make Facebook profitable where rivals like Twitter have lagged, and expanded it with targeted acquisitions. He and his wife have pledged to sell 99 percent of their holdings in Facebook — over 400 million shares, worth about $50 billion — to support philanthropic causes.

Larry Ellison: $43.6 billion

As a young programmer in the ’70s, Ellison’s first big client was the CIA. The name of the project was “Oracle.” In 1977, Ellison and associates used that name for their company, which creates software that helps manage databases and has since become an industry standard. Ellison has recently focused more on cloud computing, in which data is stored and managed across a network of computers. His fortune comes from the 27 percent stake he still owns in Oracle, a company worth $160 billion.

Michael Bloomberg: $40 billion

Created the eponymous financial information provider in 1981 after getting laid off from an investment bank. Bloomberg made it a lucrative business in particular by selling data terminals to financial services firms. The multi-screen terminals became essential tools in the industry, incorporating real-time market information with a news service. Bloomberg, who reportedly retains an 88 percent stake in the privately held company, turned to politics in 2001, becoming mayor of New York City for three terms.

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        • Trump built the Taj Mahalo Casino, that was a disaster. Now, he is going to build a wall on the Mexican border. These richest people have revealed their worth and financial and business backgrounds. Trump has not revealed none of it. The White House will turn into an opaque black box during the Trump Presidency. Trump has no respect for the press, or shows no transparency in everything he does

        • Trump built the Taj Mahalo Casino, that was a disaster. Now, he is going to build a wall on the Mexican border. These richest people have revealed their worth and financial and business backgrounds. Trump has not revealed none of it. The White House will turn into an opaque black box during the Trump Presidency. Trump has no respect for the press, or shows no transparency in everything he does.

        • My comment is awaiting moderation…only for one time.

          @ vector
          Why so sensitive? I read your post the first time.

          4 more days to GREATNESS! #MAGA

  • But the richest family in the world, perhaps excluding the family of Saudi, is the Walton family. According to Fortune and Forbes, the 7 members of the Walton family sit on a $130 billion fortune, none of which was earned by the heirs of Sam Walton.

    • Probably a lot less distracted. Much of what is going on now, including message boards, is a waste of technology. Repetitive and unnecessary.

      Envy is a terrible thing. Gee when they give away all their money, half the world will be richer than any of them.

  • Ironically, all donated billions to the corrupt Democrats and especially Hillary. Democrat Party faithful like wiliki, boots, and all the others are being manipulated by these crony capitalists into thinking the corrupt Democrat Party is for the little guy… maybe klastri is a crony like his/her posts suggests.

      • The Clintons aren’t Republican, last time I checked. I recall the President saying that business owners need to “spread the wealth”. Notice that the “stars” of Hollywood, and the politicians need to take heed of their own advice. Put Gore on the list as well. Business owners take risks to become wealthy. They also hire employees. What risks have the politicians taken?

      • Nana, that’s exactly what these rich cronies want you to believe, actually they get all the breaks that you and I don’t get, then blame it on the Republicans. The truth is hard to find, but eventually you will come around, I’m pretty sure you will.

  • I’ve read that the Bill & Melissa Gates Foundation has also donated $$ billions to non-profit organizations in the US and internationally. And Warren Buffet has done the same.

    • The trouble with this is that individuals are deciding where money will be spend; on their pet projects. When we tax the rich and then spend it for them, we all decide what our national priorities will be.

      • They donate to their pet projects because they know that the government is wasteful and corrupt. When taxing the rich, I would expect less than 10 cents on the dollar (if that) actually goes toward the “project”, the rest is administration and corruption.

        • Agree, but you’re being way too generous with your estimates of 10 cents for every dollar going to the needy. The government traditionally spends $3 for every $1 they get in donations and throes 1 penny at the needy out of that and then they tax the rest of us for the difference. LOL

      • “When we tax the rich and then spend it for them, we all decide what our national priorities will be.”

        You’re joking, right? When we tax anybody the government (politicians) decides how to spend it and they don’t have a very good track record on that.

    • One of the Gates Foundation’s initiatives that may have long-term significance is their efforts to eradicate malaria. My favorite Warren Buffet quote when asked about giving the bulk of his fortune to charities: “Im leaving my kids enough so that they can afford to do anything they want, I’m not leaving them enough so that they can afford to do nothing.”

  • It just is not right. If we continue the path, or even maintain the status quo, I predict we will real revolutions in the not too distant future, not just political ones.

    • Buffet is also the owner of Nevada Energy which, last year, got the Nevada legislature to repeal Net Metering. He is old and doesn’t believe climate change is a big problem. That is the problem with having so few individuals with so much influence and money.

  • Congratulations to all these men! Their ingenuity, intelligence, timing and whatever they have done, got them where they are in the financial world! Their supporting pledges toward charities, whether for tax purposes or from the kindness of their hearts are noted. May they also find peace, happiness, true love and true friends, within their lifetimes! These aforementioned are priceless and have been achieved by those from every spectrum and rank of the human race! May they too be among them. Godspeed!

    • hahaha, 😉 but technically the IRS owns half of the $75 billion! The blood suckers will find a way to loot the coffers one way or another. Just look at Apple and their attempt to dodge taxes by funneling funds through the EU then the EU decided to back-peddle the laws and take it all from them. LOL

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