Forbes Billionaires 2013: The Top 20

Carlos Slim is once again the world’s richest person, followed by Bill Gates

By Luisa Kroll, Kerry A. Dolan
Published: Apr 1, 2013

 1.  Carlos Slim Helu & Family $73 Bln
Telecom, Mexico Age: 73

Slim is the world’s richest person for the fourth year in a row, up $4 billion from our 2012 list.
Pan-Latin American mobile telecom outfit América Móvil remains his most valuable holding, at $36 billion; the company spread its wings to Europe in the past year, buying pieces of Dutch telecom firm KPN and Telekom Austria. Slim also bought a stake in a struggling Spanish soccer team in November.


2.  Bill Gates $67 Bln  
Microsoft, United States Age: 57

Bill Gates, the world’s most generous philanthropist, has already given more than $28 billion and has been spreading his gospel to other billionaires near and far: He and Warren Buffett added 12 non-Americans to their Giving Pledge in February, bumping the total to 105 high net worth individuals. As chairman, Gates still owns about 5 percent of Microsoft but admitted that the company’s early mobile phone strategy was “a mistake”.


3.  Amancio Ortega $57 Bln
Zara, Spain Age: 76

Ortega is the year’s biggest gainer, up $19.5 billion. He stepped down as chairman of Inditex, best known for Zara, in 2011, but still owns nearly 60 percent of its shares, which soared 50 percent year-over-year on record profits. Ortega also has a real estate portfolio estimated to be worth more than $4 billion. The son of a railway worker, he started out as a golfer in a shirt store.


4.  Warren Buffett  $53.5 Bln
Berkshire Hathaway, United States Age: 82

Buffett slips out of the top three for the first time since 2000, despite gaining $9.5 billion. In February, Berkshire announced a deal with Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann’s 3G Capital to snap up iconic ketchup producer HJ Heinz Company  for $23 billion. Completed radiation treatment for prostate cancer in 2012.


5.  Larry Ellison $43 Bln  
Oracle, United States Age: 68

Software titan’s fortune rose $7 bill-ion along with Oracle’s shares. Ellison is investing tech earnings in property, spending a reported $500 million for the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 2012. His daughter Megan’s film Zero Dark Thirty was nominated for an Academy Award. Ellison has donated at least $445 million to his foundation to support research on ageing and age-related diseases.

6.  Charles Koch $34 Bln  
Diversified United States Age: 77

6.    David Koch $34 Bln  
Diversified United States Age: 72

The world’s richest brothers failed to unseat Barack Obama as President in 2012, as the conservative firebrands had planned, but Koch Industries forges ahead with $115 billion in estimated sales and rising earnings from refining, building materials and consumer products.
Fun fact: Their Georgia Pacific group apparently sells approximately $1 billion in toilet paper a year. Charles is CEO in Wichita, while David—the richest New Yorker—runs the chemical technology side.

8.  Li Ka-Shing $31 Bln  
Diversified Hong Kong Age: 84

Asia’s richest person added $5.5 billion to his net worth as his biggest holdings, Cheung Kong, Hutchison Whampoa and Husky Energy, all rose 10 percent or more. At age 84, Li still oversees one of the world’s most far-reaching empires, with interests in 52 countries. Last summer, he officially announced his succession plans, positioning his elder son Victor to take over management and control of the publicly traded assets.


9.  Liliane Bettencourt $30 Bln  
L’oreal France Age: 90

The world’s richest woman, Bettencourt enters the top 10 for the first time since 1999, thanks to a more than 30 percent increase in shares of cosmetics powerhouse L’oréal, which her father founded. Suffering from dementia, she had her fortune placed under the guardianship of her daughter Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers in 2011.


10.  Bernard Arnault $29 Bln
Lvmh France Age: 64

Shares in LVMH—parent company of Louis Vuitton and Bulgari—rose 6 percent, but Arnault fell from No. 4 to No. 10 this year based on new information on his ownership stake and a revised valuation method. He denied reports that his request for Belgian citizenship in 2012 was related to France’s increasingly stringent tax policies.


11.  Christy Walton & Family $28.2 Bln  
Walmart United States Age: 58

Her net worth reached new highs as Walmart stock jumped, but it was not enough to retain the title of world’s richest woman. She inherited her wealth when her husband, John Walton, died in an airplane crash in 2005. John’s investment in First Solar continues to keep Christy’s net worth well above her relatives’.

12.  Stefan Persson $28 Bln
H&M Sweden Age: 65

Chairman of cheap-chic global retailer H&M has been making headlines for his high-profile real estate investments. He picked up an entire block in Paris last year for a reported $224 million, becoming landlord to Tony Burberry, Moschino and Bally. Nearly all his fortune comes from his 38 percent stake in H&M, which was founded by his father.


13.  Michael Bloomberg $27 Bln  
Bloomberg LP United States Age: 71

New York City’s mayor, now well into his final term, has a new mission for his post-political life: Eradicating gun violence. He’s emerged as a leading donor to pro-gun-control causes and candidates, funnelling millions through his new Independence USA super PAC. The Bloomberg LP co-founder is $5 billion richer this year thanks to a rise in the value of his financial data firm, which posted $7.9 billion in revenues for 2012, up $300 million year-on-year.

14.  Jim Walton $26.7 Bln  
Walmart United States Age: 65

Youngest son of retail visionary Sam Walton, who died in 1992, is worth $3 billion more than he was a year ago thanks to strong results at the world’s biggest retailer, which now has sales of $469 billion and employs 2.2 million people worldwide. He is also the CEO of his family’s Arvest Bank, which has branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.


15. Sheldon Adelson $26.5 Bln  
Casinos United States Age: 79

Gaming tycoon lost his $53 million bet on Mitt Romney and a slew of defeated congressional candidates. But his Las Vegas Sands conti-nues to win: Shares are up more than 20 percent since the summer, despite an ongoing federal investigation alleging LVS violated anti-corruption laws in its Macau dealings. The company denies it.


16. Alice Walton $26.3 Bln  
Walmart United States Age: 63

Sam Walton’s daughter is the family’s most active and generous philanthropist, having donated art worth hundreds of millions of dollars from her own collection to her ambitious Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, which opened in 2011. With her siblings, she has also donated about $2 billion to the Walton Family Foundation over the last five years.


17. S Robson Walton
$26.1 Bln  
Walmart United States Age: 69

Eldest son of Sam Walton has been the chairman of the world’s largest retailer since 1992. Stock has rebounded since controversy over bribery allegations at Walmart Mexico. Before joining the family superstore empire, he was a partner with the law firm of Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


18. Karl Albrecht  $26 Bln  
Aldi Germany Age: 93

Albrecht co-founded giant German discount supermarket chain Aldi with his late brother Theo. Sales at his Aldi Sud, which now boasts 4,600 stores in nine countries, including 1,200 in the US, grew an estimated 9 percent in 2012 to $45.4 billion, according to analysts. His nephew Theo Jr runs US grocery chain Trader Joe’s.


19. Jeff Bezos $25.2 Bln  
Amazon.Com United States Age: 49

Bezos’ web emporium,, is the world’s largest internet retailer of any kind, reporting more than $61 billion in 2012 sales. A 40 percent stock surge added $6.8 billion to Bezos’ net worth this year, putting him among the world’s 20 richest for the first time since 1999. The Seattle company now commands 33 percent of the worldwide Android tablet market with its Kindle Fire e-reader, launched in 2011.


20. Larry Page $23 Bln  
Google United States Age: 40

Google’s co-founder and CEO is turning his attention to the search giant’s mobile offe-ring, an area he recently called “uncharted territory”. Page saw the company through the $50 billion revenue milestone in 2012. Google’s stock followed, climbing nearly 30 percent this year and adding more than $4 billion to Page’s net worth. He joins the world’s 20 richest for the first time.

Slim, Arnault, Bezos: Illustrations By Jeffrey Smith. Ortega, Bettencourt, Jim Walton, Albrecht: Illustrations By Kyle Hilton.
Gates, Ellison, Ka-Shing, Christy Walton, Bloomberg: Illustrations By Dale Stephanos. Kochs, Adelson, Alice Walton:
Illustrations By Lara Tomlin. Buffett, Persson, Robson Walton, Page: Illustrations By Jan Feindt


(This article is excerpted from the latest Forbes India 05 April, 2013 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores. You can buy our tablet version from

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