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New York - This year’s top 100 billionaires own discount supermarkets and luxury brands, oil refineries and cement factories and span the decades from millennial Mark Zuckerberg to 93-year-old Karl Albrecht.
This diverse bunch enjoys a unifying characteristic: most grew their fortunes this year. Their collective wealth has soared $200 billion (R2 trillion) to $2.1 trillion since Bloomberg Markets published its inaugural list in December last year.
Zuckerberg, the 29-year-old co-founder of Facebook, is not only the youngest on the list, he is the biggest gainer.
He doubled his fortune to $24.5bn from January 1 to September 30.
Veteran technology icon Bill Gates, 58, claimed the top spot. Microsoft’s chairman and co-founder bumped Carlos Slim, last year’s leader, to second place. Gates’s net worth surged $10.2bn to $72.9bn. Slim, who controls America Movil, Latin America’s biggest telecoms company, saw his fortune crumble by 12.9 percent to $65.5bn.
Denis O’Brien, the founder of Digicel, fell shy of the top 100 list. Ireland’s richest native-born citizen built his $5.4bn telecoms fortune chiefly by entering markets in the Caribbean.
Gambling proved a good bet for Asian billionaires. Philippine ports magnate Enrique Razon is taking on Galaxy Entertainment founder Lui Che Woo, Hong Kong’s third-richest person. Razon opened Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila Bay in March. Siblings JB and Tony Pritzker, who got at least $2.7bn in their family empire’s acrimonious break-up, are investing in private equity and venture deals.
South African-born Kerr Neilson, who became rich managing other people’s money, set up a foundation to fund his wife, Judith, in her passion: giving wider exposure to contemporary Chinese art at her gallery.
Some of the more than 80 hidden billionaires unearthed by Bloomberg in 2013 also have family ties. Brothers Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, who head Italian cashmere clothier Loro Piana, joined the ranks after agreeing in July to sell 80 percent of their company to 14th richest Bernard Arnault’s LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Not all of the superwealthy added to their billions. EBX founder Eike Batista was once Brazil’s wealthiest man and 28th on the list last year. He not only fell from the top 100 – he lost his fortune after his commodities companies imploded.
In calculating a billionaire’s net worth, Bloomberg valued his or her stakes in publicly traded companies using closing prices on September 30. Valuations of foreign assets were converted to dollars.
For closely held companies, Bloomberg compared the average enterprise value to sales; enterprise value to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda); price to book value; or price to earnings multiples of similar publicly traded firms. Comparable firms were chosen based on the closely held company’s industry, size and location.
Estimates of company debt were based on the average net debt to Ebitda multiple of peers. A liquidity discount of 5 percent was applied to most closely held companies where assets might be hard to sell. Higher liquidity discounts were given to companies for which the structures were more complex. No liquidity discounts were used in calculating public stakes. In some instances a country risk discount based on a person’s concentration of assets was applied.
Bloomberg deducted taxes based on personal income, dividend and capital gains rates in a billionaire’s country of residence.
No assumptions were made on personal debt. Family members often hold a portion of a billionaire’s assets. Such transfers do not change who controls the fortune. – Bloomberg