World’s Richest Man

Mexican Billionaire Widens Lead as World’s Richest Man

BY DEALBOOK
Carlos Slim Helú, the world’s richest man.Jin Lee/Bloomberg NewsCarlos Slim Helú, picked up $20.5 billion in wealth in the last year.

When it comes to the race for money, Carlos Slim Helú, the world’s richest man, has surged even further into the lead. The Mexican billionaire accumulated an additional $20.5 billion over the last year, bringing his total fortune to $74 billion, according to the Forbes annual ranking of the world’s billionaires.

Mr. Slim has held the top spot since last year, when he pushed aside the two past leaders, Bill Gates and Warren E. Buffett. Still, both men added $3 billion to their wealth since the last Forbes survey. Mr. Gates, the richest man in the United States, is worth $56 billion, while Mr. Buffett is worth $50 billion, according to the magazine.

Forbes attributes the stunning gains in Mr. Slim’s estimated wealth to a 19 percent rise in the Mexican stock market, a stronger peso and successful mining and real estate spin-offs from his conglomerate, Grupo Carso.

The magazine said that his family’s stake in América Móvil, the giant Latin American wireless operator, accounted for 62 percent of his fortune. Mr. Slim also owns large stakes in other companies, including the retailer Saks and The New York Times Company.

Forbes notes that Mr. Gates, a founder of Microsoft, is no longer the world’s richest man because he has already given away $30 billion to his charitable foundation. He and Mr. Buffett, who runs Berkshire Hathaway, have pledged to give away a majority of their wealth by the time they die, as have 57 other wealthy people who have signed the Giving Pledge

Bernard Arnault, chairman of the French luxury goods company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, easily remains the richest European at No. 4 on the list. Forbes reports his wealth rose $13.5 billion in the last year, to $41 billion. Earlier this week, LVMH agreed to buy Bulgari, the Italian jeweler, for $6 billion, including debt.

Rounding out the top five is Lawrence J. Ellison, the chief executive of Oracle, whose fortune surged $11.5 billion, to $39.5 billion.

The richest New Yorker on the list remains David Koch, who supplanted Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last year. Mr. Koch and his brother Charles Koch of Wichita, Kan., each have fortunes of $22 billion, as gains of $4.5 billion apiece pushed them up to No. 18 on the Forbes list.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bloomberg dropped to 30th place from 23rd, as his fortune showed little gain at $18.1 billion. Like Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffett, Mr. Bloomberg is a major philanthropist.

Among the Wall Street notables, the hedge fund manager John Paulson came in 39th place with $16 billion, a gain of $5 billion over 2010. The financier George Soros dropped to 46th from 39th, although his wealth rose moderately, to $14.5 billion. And the financier Carl C. Icahn fell to 61st from 59th, even though his wealth rose $2 billion, to $12.5 billion.

In percentage terms, the biggest gainer in the United States was Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, whose estimated wealth rose 238 percent, to $13.5 billion.

All told, there are 1,210 billionaires on the Forbes list, the most ever. Their combined wealth totals $4.5 trillion.



An earlier version of the caption accompanying this article incorrectly stated that Carlos Slim Helú had added 420.5 billion in wealth in the last year. His wealth increased $20.5 billion.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/carlos-slim-widens-lead-as-worlds-richest-man-2/

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