Forbes wealthiest list: Movement at the top

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By Margaret Collins and Alexis Leondis
(c) 2010 Bloomberg News
Thursday, September 23, 2010; 10:46 AM

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., remains the richest American with estimated assets of $54 billion, according to Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

Warren Buffett, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., ranks second in the U.S. with $45 billion, according to the list published yesterday. Gates, 54, and Buffett, 80, were Nos. 1 and 2 last year.

The number of list members whose wealth declined this year is 85 compared with 314 in 2009, while wealth increased for 217 members. The total worth of the 400 rose by 8 percent to $1.37 trillion, still below the 2008 total of $1.57 trillion.

"They've recovered, but we're still so far off from 2008," Luisa Kroll, global wealth editor for Forbes, said in a telephone interview.

Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 26, who is tied for No. 35 on the list, saw his wealth jump 245 percent to $6.9 billion, the largest percentage increase of anyone on the list. "Very few are at an all-time high, with the exception of how phenomenally well Facebook is doing," said Kroll, who is based in New York.

California has the most people on the list, with 83, followed by New York, with 64. Texas has 45 members and Florida has 26.

Sixteen new people joined the list this year, including Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook who left the social networking site in 2008. He has a net worth of $1.4 billion, tying him for No. 290. Moskovitz, 26, is the youngest person on the list.

The oldest is philanthropist David Rockefeller Sr., 95, who is tied for No. 153 with $2.4 billion.

Raj Rajaratnam, 53, founder of Galleon Group LLC, who is under indictment for insider trading and is due to go to trial next year, dropped off the list along with 33 others. Rajaratnam has denied the charges.

There are 42 women on the list, led by Christy Walton, 55, and 60-year-old Alice Walton, of the family that controls Wal- Mart Stores Inc. They rank Nos. 4 and 8. Jim Walton ranks seventh with $20.1 billion and S. Robson Walton is No. 9 with $19.7 billion.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is ranked 10th with $18 billion. Bloomberg, 68, is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

The other members in the top 10 are Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison, 66, at No. 3 with $27 billion. Charles Koch, the 74- year-old chairman and CEO of Koch Industries Inc., tied for fifth with his brother David Koch, 70, with $21.5 billion.

Talk-show host and television executive Oprah Winfrey, 56, is tied at No. 130 with $2.7 billion. Mark Cuban, the 52-year- old Dallas Mavericks owner facing insider-trading allegations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, tied for No. 144 with $2.5 billion. Bill Gross, 66, who manages the world's biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., is tied at No. 170 with $2.1 billion. Meg Whitman, 54, the former EBay Inc. CEO who is running for California governor, has $1.2 billion, tying her for No. 332.

The cutoff for the Forbes 400 list is back up to $1 billion after falling to $950 million last year. Forbes also released a separate list of the world's richest people in March.


© 2010 bloomberg.com

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