1 1. BILL GATES, 58 years old, $76 Billion, USA, Microsoft
Helped by a bounce in Microsoft shares, Bill Gates returns to the top of Billionaires list this year amid a leadership shakeup at the software giant he founded. He's been the richest man in the world for 15 out of the last 20 years. After years focused on his philanthropy, Gates plans to spend more of his time working with product managers at Microsoft as rivals like Google and Apple continue to outshine the company in the market. Gates stepped down as Microsoft chairman in February, when new CEO Satya Nadella took over. Meanwhile, Gates remains focused on his foundation's efforts to eradicate polio (he secured $335 million in pledges to the cause from six billionaire comrades, including $100 million each from Mexico's Carlos Slim and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg) and getting fellow billionaires more involved with philanthropy. He and Warren Buffett have thus far convinced over 100 of the super rich to sign on to the Giving Pledge, a promise to donate at least half one's net worth to charity.
2 2. CARLOS SLIM HELU, 74 years old, $72 Billion, Mexico, Telecom
His four-year run as world's richest person has come to an end, primarily because shares of Minera Frisco, his mining company, have fallen more than 50% in the past year as the price of gold and copper plummeted. That plus a dip in the value of his largest asset, pan-Latin American telecom firm America Movil, combined to knock $1 billion off his net worth, making him the only billionaire among the world's 10 richest to get poorer in the past year. America Movil has come under pressure in Mexico after the passage of a new anti-monopoly telecom and media law. America Movil has 70% or more market share of both the landline and mobile markets in Mexico. Slim also holds a controlling interest in industrial conglomerate Grupo Carso, financial venture Grupo Financiero Inbursa, real estate enterprise Inmuebles Carso and infrastructure development and operating company Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo en América Latina, or Ideal. He continues to hold minority stakes in U.S. companies Saks Fifth Avenue and The New York Times Co. He has also invested in two Spanish companies: Grupo Prisa, a media conglomerate, and CaixaBank, an investment banking firm.
3 3. AMANCIO ORTEGA, 77 years old, $64 Billion, Spain, Retail
World's richest retailer Ortega added $7 billion to his fortune this past year, expanding the gap between him and number four, Warren Buffett. He is up a total of $26.5 billion in the past two years. Though he stepped down as chairman of Inditex (best known for its Zara brand) in 2011, he still owns nearly 60% of its shares. He also has a growing real estate portfolio, estimated to be worth nearly $5 billion, much of it acquired at bargain prices during the financial downturn. He is reportedly planning to list his property holdings in a real estate investment trust. Among his properties: the iconic Torre Picasso, a 43-story skyscraper in Madrid (Google is a tenant). In the past year, he's bought four new buildings in Madrid, New York and London for around $830 million, taking the number of buildings he owns to 26. A railway worker's son, he started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, now deceased, he started making dressing gowns and lingerie in their living room. They had a daughter Sandra, and a son, Marcos. Ortega is now married to Flora Perez Marcote, with whom he had another daughter, Marta.
4 4. WARREN BUFFETT, 83 years old, $58.2 Billion, USA, Berkshire Hathaway
Buffett is still doing huge deals. Last year he teamed up with 3G Capital to pick up iconic ketchup maker H.J. Heinz for $23.2 billion, invested nearly $4 billion in ExxonMobil and a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary bought Nevada's NV Energy for $5.6 billion. All of this helped boost his fortune by $4.7 billion despite his gift of $2 billion in Berkshire stock to the Gates Foundation in July, bringing his lifetime giving to $20 billion. Secret to his success? In his investment letter in 2014, he told Berkshire Hathaway shareholders his best investment wasn't a stock or business, it was buying Benjamin Graham's book "The Intelligent Investor" in 1949. The book's simple, logically sound approach changed his financial life, he said.
5 5. LARRY ELLISON, 69 years old, $48 Billion, USA, Oracle
In an Aug. 2013 television interview, the Oracle founder said that Apple's best days are behind it after the passing of close friend Steve Jobs and that Google's alleged infringement on Oracle's patents in its Android software was "absolutely evil." Ellison collects houses on Malibu's Carbon Beach and also owns of 98% of Hawaii's Lanai Island. A recently-launched website for the island reveals its owner's larger plans, including a 2015 film festival on the island. His daughter Megan is a growing Hollywood powerhouse and has financed a string of critical successes including American Hustle and Zero Dark Thirty.
6. CHARLES KOCH, 78 years old, $40 Billion, USA, Diversified
Charles Koch is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, the country's second largest private company with sales of $115 billion, a post he's held since 1967. He is worth $6 billion more than a year ago as Koch Industries steadily expands, buying electronics-components maker Molex for $7.2 billion and cellulose fibers producer Buckeye Technologies for $1.5 billion. He and his brother David, with whom he owns 84% of Koch, are funneling a chunk of their money to try and win the Senate for Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections, prompting Sen. Harry Reid to accuse them in January of "actually trying to buy the country."
7 7. DAVID KOCH, 73 years old, $40 Billion, USA, Diversified
New York City's richest resident David Koch is $6 billion richer than a year ago. He and his brother Charles, with whom he shares the fortune, own 84% of $115 billion (sales) Koch Industries, America's second largest private company with interests in oil pipelines, refineries, building materials, paper towels and even Dixie cups. David was a top donor to the Republican Governors Association in 2013, giving $1.25 million to the cause. Together the brothers, the richest siblings in the world, are funneling a chunk of their money to try and win the Senate for Republicans in the 2014 midterm elections
8 8. SHELDON ADELSON, 80 years old, $38 Billion, USA, Casinos
Sheldon Adelson returns to the top 10 richest in the world for the first time since 2007 after making an average of $32 million a day over the last year, third-most of anyone on the planet. Shares of his Las Vegas Sands, worth more than all other U.S. casino companies combined, continued climbing thanks to booming business in Asia, where he plans to continue expanding. After more than a year of talks and negotiations, Adelson dropped plans to develop a $30 billion megaproject in Madrid's suburbs. Investors didn't blink -- the stock rose more than 3% the next month. Adelson, who spent $100 million trying to get a republican in the White House in 2012, is now using his vast fortune to fight internet gambling in America, pitting himself against some of the biggest names in finance, private equity and gambling. He told Forbes he is willing to "spend whatever it takes" to win.
9 9. CHRISTY WALTON, 59 years old, $36.7 Billion, USA, Wal-Mart
Walton is the richest woman in the world once again, taking back the title from L'Oreal Heiress Liliane Bettencourt. She has now held that title for 4 out of the last 5 years. She inherited her wealth when husband John Walton, a former Green Beret and Vietnam war medic, died in an airplane crash in 2005. John's side investment in First Solar had boosted Christy's net worth well above the rest of her family, but the stock sank in 2011, narrowing her lead. But First Solar stock has revived, up 47% in past year and boosting her net worth by $466 million. The bulk of her holdings are in Wal-Mart, the massive retailer founded by her father-in-law Sam Walton and his brother James in 1962. Christy received $460 million in Wal-Mart dividends after taxes in 2013. She leads a very private life in Jackson, Wyoming, but in August had a rare bit of publicity when she was given an award by the Imagen Foundation for producing the film "Bless Me, Ultima," based on the book by Rudolfo Anaya, who is considered the father of Chicano literature. Her son battled cancer when he was just three years old and she fought a case of pneumonia that nearly killed her.
1 10. JIM WALTON, 66 years old, $34.7 Billion, USA, Wal-Mart
The youngest son of retail visionary Sam Walton saw a nice bump in his wealth last year thanks to a 6% gain in Wal-Mart shares. Mr. Sam's store remains a powerhouse worldwide, with 2013 sales of nearly $470 billion and 2.2 million employees in 11,000 stores. Jim received more than $475 million in dividends after taxes in 2013. He is also the CEO of the Walton family's Arvest Bank, which has branches in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. The bank is worth about $1.8 billion, with net profits of nearly $100 million in 2012.
1 11. LILIANE BETTENCOURT, 91 years old, $34.5, France, L’Oreal
L'Oreal's grand dame Liliane Bettencourt is no longer the world's richest woman, though she grew wealthier this year thanks to the French cosmetics giant's stock price, up 9% since 2013. Bettencourt is no longer involved in running the company her father founded after a 2011 legal battle with daughter Françoise Bettencourt Meyers proved Liliane was unfit to manage her affairs. The elderly widow, who suffers from dementia, was replaced on the company's board by her 25-year-old grandson Jean-Victor Meyers in February 2012. The Bettencourt family is set to strengthen its hold on the L'Oreal empire in 2014 thanks to Swiss consumer goods giant Nestle's planned sale of its 8% stake. That will raise the family's holdings to 33%.
12. STEFAN PERSSON, 66 years old, $34.4 Billion, Sweden, H&M
The chairman of fast fashion favorite Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) Stefan Persson saw his fortune get a boost this year thanks to a 25% surge in the company's stock price. Persson also snapped up more English countryside to add to his portfolio: Sweden's richest person now owns 8,700-acre Savernake Estate in Wiltshire, not too far from Linkenholt, the Hampshire village he bought in 2009. Real estate investments aside, almost all his fortune still comes from the family's 38% equity stake (70% voting rights) in H&M, founded by his father, Erling, in 1947. The cheap chic chain was the first major retailer to sign a safety agreement for workers after the Bangladesh factory disaster in 2013, as well as pledging a living wage. H&M didn't have any of its clothes made at the site of the building collapse. Overseeing the day-to-day business since 2009 is Persson's 38-year-old son Karl-Johan, CEO and owner of a chunk of shares himself. The elder Persson enjoys downhill skiing, tennis and golf.
1 13. ALICE WALTON, 64 years old, $34.3 Billion, USA, Wal-Mart
If Hillary Clinton decides to run for president in 2016, she'll have a formidable ally in Alice Walton, the billionaire philanthropist who has known the Clintons since their days in the Arkansas state house. Walton, daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton, is reportedly among a number of billionaires who recently formed a political action committee to help raise funds for a potential Clinton run. Walton's passion remains art, not politics, though. Her Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. includes works from icons like Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell and Georgia O'Keeffe. Some pieces she donated from her personal collection (valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars). As the biggest philanthropist of the Walton family, Alice gave more than $2 million in 2012 to support charter school initiatives. She and her siblings have also donated about $2 billion to the Walton Family Foundation over the last five years.
1 14. S. ROBSON WALTON, 70 years old, $34.2 Billion, USA, Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart heir S. Robson Walton, chairman of the company and eldest son of visionary retailer Sam, has had a rocky year -- in the press, anyway. In late summer, employees organized protests against low wages in 15 cities across the U.S. And, responding to Wal-Mart's involvement in a bribery scandal in Mexico and a calamitous factory collapse in Bangladesh, a group of stock owners opposed Walton, who has been company chairman since 1992, and several other board members at the 2013 annual shareholders meeting. But financially, the world's largest retailer remains steady. Founded by Sam and his brother James in 1962 in Rodgers, Ark., Wal-Mart boasts sales of nearly $470 billion and employs nearly 2.2 million people in 11,000 stores worldwide. Rob received about $465 million in dividends in 2013. He also owns a $500 million stake in Hyatt Hotels through an investment vehicle. Before joining Wal-Mart, he was a partner with the law firm of Conner & Winters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2012 he reportedly wrecked his Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe -- one of only five made and worth at least $15 million -- when he drove it off a racing track.
1 15. BERNARD ARNAULT, 65 years old, $33.5 Billion, France, LVMH
The lord of luxe, Bernard Arnault, oversees a far reaching luxury empire with 60 brands including Dom Perignon, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Sephora. His fortune was up $4.5 billion in the past year but he slips five spots in the Forbes Billionaire ranks as others gained even more. As CEO of LVMH since 1989, he is considered one of the world's ultimate taste-makers, a job he takes seriously. "I see myself as an ambassador of French heritage and French culture," he once told Forbes. "What we create is emblematic. It's linked to Versailles, to Marie Antoinette." Though publicly traded, $40 billion (sales) LVMH has long been a family affair. Arnault got his start in luxury back in 1984 when he paid $15 million to buy a business that included Christian Dior. Today his two older children, Delphine and Antoine, are intimately involved in expanding his vision. In December 2013 he appointed Antoine chairman of luxury Italian knits company, Loro Piana, in which LVMH purchased an 80% stake for $2.6 billion in July 2013. Antoine also runs shoemaker Berluti, which he is expanding into ready-to-wear and other men's luxury categories. Delphine meanwhile was tapped last year to become executive vice president at Louis Vuitton, LVMH's biggest and most profitable brand. The vast bulk of the fortune is tied up in Christian Dior stock, through which he holds the controlling interest in LVMH. He also has billions in LVMH directly and in supermarket chain Carrefour. Arnault is married to Helene Mercier, a concert pianist, with whom he has three younger children.
1 16. MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, 72 years old, $33 Billion, USA, Bloomberg LP
Michael Bloomberg is no longer the richest mayor in the world, merely the 16th richest person in the world. He relinquished control of New York City in December, 2013, after 12 years of shaping everything in the Big Apple. With elected office behind him, Bloomberg has wasted little time announcing new philanthropic and political initiatives, including stepping up his anti-gun programs in the U.S., a plan to train business journalists across Africa and a $53 million effort to boost the declining fish supply in Brazil, Chile and the Philippines. Last year he also pledged $100 million to the Gates Foundation to help fellow billionaire Bill Gates eradicate polio. His lifetime philanthropic giving has reached $2.4 billion. Despite the giving, Bloomberg is richer than ever, with his fortune up $6 billion since last year, thanks to the performance of Bloomberg LP, the financial data firm he founded in 1982 after being fired from Salomon Brothers. He owns 88% of the company, which generated $8.3 billion in 2013 revenues. Bloomberg also owns at least 10 homes in Manhattan, Westchester County, Bermuda, Vail and the Hamptons.
1 17. LARRY PAGE, 40 years old, $32.3 Billion, USA, Google
CEO Larry Page is rearranging the future at Google. Over two weeks in January, he announced his company's $3.2 billion, all-cash acquisition of smart-thermostat-maker Nest as well as the $2.9 billion sale of its Motorola phone business to Lenovo. The search giant's stock continues to trade at record highs, up about 50% year-over-year as of mid-Feb. 2014. That's caused the net worth of co-founders Page and Sergey Brin to surge past $30 billion for the first time. In April, Google will undergo a stock split to introduce new Class C shares that will carry no voting power. That move will consolidate the voting power of executives including Page, who owns nearly 24 million Class B shares, which carry 10-to-one voting power. He's still suffering from a vocal-cord nerve issue that makes his voice raspy, though Googlers created a personal synthetic voice service that makes communication a bit easier. A clean energy advocate, Page's network of houses in Palo Alto use fuel cells, geothermal energy and rainwater capture.
1 18. JEFF BEZOS, 50 years old, $32 Billion, USA, Amazon
Jeff Bezos fortune rose $13 billion in 2013 as shares in his online retailer Amazon soared 55%. In October he bought the Washington Post for $250 million. The next month he sold 1 million shares of Amazon, less than 1% of the company, for about $260 million. In December he announced that Amazon could be delivering its packages by drones within five years. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton, Bezos headed off to Wall Street, where he saw that the internet was the fastest-growing industry on the planet. He quit his job, headed to Seattle and founded online bookstore Amazon in 1995. The company expanded beyond books and now sells anything to anyone.
1 19. SERGEY BRIN, 40 years old, $31.8 Billion, USA, Google
Sergey Brin's fortune passed the $30 billion mark for the first time recently as shares in the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant's stock reached new heights. Shares are up nearly 50% year-over-year as of mid-Feb. 2014, leading to a more than $7 billion since last year's Forbes Billionaires list. Confining himself to a more background role, Brin lets Page run the show as CEO while he oversees the secretive Google X division, dedicated to breakthrough "moonshots" like driverless cars and Glass, the augmented-reality spectacles he wears everywhere. In April 2014, Google will undergo a stock split to introduce new Class C shares that will carry no voting power. That move will consolidate the voting power of executives including Brin, who owns more than 23 million Class B shares, which carry 10-to-one voting power. News broke in August that he and his wife of six years, Anne Wojcicki, separated and that Brin was involved with another Google employee. He and Wojcicki donated $53 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in February as part of the Brin-Wojcicki challenge to fight Parkinson's disease.
2 20. LI KA-SHING, 85 years old, $31 Billion, Hong Kong, Diversified
One of the world's great empire builders Li Ka-shing oversees a far-reaching conglomerate with 270,000 employees in 52 countries. The richest person in Asia, he could be a lot wealthier if he so chose. The reason: Li is probably the only person on earth who invested in Facebook as a high-stakes hobby and made no money from it. Li bet on Facebook, a decision he says took him five minutes to make in December 2007, through his charitable La Ka Shing Foundation. In fact, all of his tech bets, whether in Spotify, Siri, or more recently Bitcoin payment service provider, BitPay, benefit the foundation, not him. Still his stakes in Hutchinson Whampoa, Cheung Kong and Husky Energy, plus rich dividends of $1.7 billion in just the past two years, allow him to hold onto the top spot in his region. Born in Chaozhou in China's Guangdong Province, Li and his family had to flee to Hong Kong during the Sino-Japanese war. Not long after their arrival Li's father, who had been a primary school principal in China, died from tuberculosis. At age 12 he quit school and started as an apprentice in a watch-strap factory. By 14 he was working full-time in a plastics trading company to help support his family. In 1950 Li quit to start his own business making plastic toys and everyday items. He retooled his factory to focus on plastic flowers after learning about their popularity in Italy from trade journals, figuring they offered him better business prospects. He named his first company Cheung Kong, after the Yangtze River, whose power comes from a confluence of countless smaller streams.
2 21. MARK ZUCKERBERG, 29 years old, $28.5 Billion, USA, Facebook
Facebook turned 10 this year and no one was celebrating harder than CEO Mark Zuckerberg. After seeing his company past the growing pains of a disastrous May 2012 IPO, Zuckerberg has the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company flying high. Facebook's shares are up more than 130% over the past year as of Feb. 2014, enabling blockbuster deals like the $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp and more than doubling Zuck's net worth over the same period, even after he gifted away 18 million shares in late December. He sold more than 41 million shares and exercised 60 million options around that time as well. Once a laughing stock because of its Nasdaq fiasco, Facebook has recovered with huge improvements in mobile revenue, with many congratulating Zuckerberg for refocusing the company on translating eyeballs into dollars. The Facebook cofounder continues to remain politically active, staying the course with his lobbying group FWD.us despite its rocky initial public reception. The group focuses on advocating for immigration reform and the improvement of science and technology education.
2 22. MICHELE FERRERO, 88 years old, $26.5 Billion, Italy, Chocolates
Michele Ferrero is the richest candyman on the planet. Now 88,, he is the patriarch of the family that owns the Ferrero Group, maker of Kinder and Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Nutella and Tic Tac. He inherited the company from his father Pietro, who started making a hazelnut spread called Nutella when cocoa was rationed during World War II. Michele expanded the company and it continues to grow under the leadership of his son, Giovanni. Giovanni's brother Pietro, had shared control of the company for more than a decade but died, reportedly of a heart attack, during a humanitarian mission to South Africa in 2011. The company earned $10.5 billion in revenue during 2012, up 8% from the previous year thanks to growth in Asia, Russia and the United States. That boost pushed up the value of the group, and the Ferrero family's net worth, $6 billion since last year.
2 23. KARL ALBRECHT, 94 years old, $25 Billion, Germany, Retail
Germany's 94-year-old grocery king may not mind the store anymore, but his Aldi Sud shows no signs of slowing down, with plans to increase the number of Aldi mini-markets in the U.S. by nearly 50% over the next five years, while also expanding aggressively in Australia. With 4,800 locations in nine countries, including 1,300 locations in the U.S., the private company had estimated revenue of $50.54 billion in 2013, according to analysts. Albrecht and his late brother Theo took over their mother's corner grocery store in Essen, Germany in 1946 and turned it into a retail behemoth known for low prices and no frills. In 1961, the brothers split ownership: Karl took the more profitable stores in southern Germany, plus the rights to the Aldi brand in the U.K., Australia and the U.S., while Theo, who died in 2010, got the stores in northern Germany and the rest of Europe. (Theo's son Theo Jr. is also a billionaire.) Karl resigned from the operational business in 1994 and stepped down from Aldi Sud's advisory board in 2002.
2 24. ALIKO DANGOTE, 56 years old, $25 Billion, Nigeria, (Cement, Sugar, Flour)
Africa's richest man is looking beyond cement, sugar and flour--the three commodities that built his fortune--to the oil business. In April, he announced $9 billion in financing from a consortium of local and international lenders to construct a private oil refinery, fertilizer and petrochemical complex in the country. His publicly traded Dangote Cement is also grabbing new markets in Africa, with $750 million in new plants planned for Kenya and Niger. He made his first fortune more than three decades ago when he started trading commodities with a loan from his powerful uncle.
2 25. CARL ICAHN, 78 years old, $24.5 Billion, USA, Investment
Carl Icahn has had his hand in almost every major story in corporate America over the last year. He battled with Michael Dell, helped push Aubrey McClendon out of Chesapeake Energy, made a killer trade on Netflix, fought with William Ackman over Herbalife, and loudly lobbied for Apple to repurchase more of its stock. Shares of his publicly-trade Icahn Enterprises have soared by more than 50% in the last year. Icahn's investment fund returned 31% in 2013. Icahn's brand of activist investing is as popular as ever. In August 2013, Icahn took to Twitter, setting both the Web and Wall Street on fire by announcing that he had acquired a large stake in Apple. His latest activist campaign is against eBay. For decades, Icahn has battled corporate boards, buying stakes in publicly-traded companies and agitating for change. He is now the richest man on Wall Street.
2 26. GEORGE SOROS, 83 years old, $23 Billion, USA, Hedge Funds
In 2013, George Soros had a pretty good year, with Soros Fund Management delivering returns north of 22%. That was not good enough to beat the U.S. stock market, but it still made Soros a lot of money. Soros is not involved in the day-to-day operations of Soros Fund Management, the $29 billion family office that manages Soros' fortune and money contributed to his foundations. The firm is overseen by Scott Bessent, Soros Fund Management's chief investment officer, but Soros remains involved and the firm's big short bet of the yen at the start of 2013 was vintage Soros. He continues to be a market moving force. The famous philanthropist, who is a big Democratic supporter, was also involved in major hedge fund battleground stocks last year. Betting against fellow hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman's "pyramid scheme" hypothesis, Soros sided with Carl Icahn in going long the nutritional supplements company Herbalife, becoming one of the company's largest shareholders. Soros made constant appearances in the gossip pages, marrying Tamiko Bolton last September, while his legal battle with ex-girlfriend Adriana Ferryr, a Brazilian soap opera actress, carries on in the Manhattan courts. Born in Budapest, Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary and went on to study at the London School of Economics before launching his hedge fund in 1969.
2 27. DAVID THOMSON, 56 years old, $22.6 Billion, Canada, Media
David Thomson and his family own a media and publishing fortune founded by their grandfather Roy Thomson. Now in its third generation, the family business is run via private holding company Woodbridge, which holds a 55% in Thomson Reuters; David Thomson serves as chairman of Thomson Reuters. His brother Peter Thomson is co-chair of Woodbridge, which holds assets owned by Roy Thomson's seven grandchildren, among them cousin Sherry Brydson. Thomson Reuters stock makes up about 70% of the family's fortune; it rose about 20% in the past year as of mid-Feb. 2014. David Thomson is part owner of the National Hockey League's Winnipeg Jets; Woodbridge has a minority stake in the Montreal Canadiens NHL hockey team. David has a diverse art collection, reported to include pieces from Pablo Picasso and the world's top collection of English romantic painter John Constable.
2 28. LUI CHE WOO, 84 years old, $22 Billion, Hong Kong, Casinos
Lui Che Woo's wealth more than doubled this past year as shares of his Galaxy Entertainment soared in Hong Kong. Despite no experience in the casino business, his huge gamble in bidding $1.1 billion for a Macau gaming license hit the jackpot. Galaxy's market cap has already reached $40 billion, and the company still has further room to grow with the largest plot of land of the 6 operators on the Cotai Strip. Lui also has plans to invest in Hengqin Island just across the mainland border. The octogenarian bought construction equipment left behind by U.S. forces after World War II that he imported to Hong Kong and used to start K. Wah Group in 1955.
2 29. DIETER SCHWARZ, 74 years old, $21.1 Billion, Germany, Retail
Dieter Schwarz' fortune has surged past $21 billion by our count, thanks to a 7% rise in sales at his privately held discount retail group and increased valuations of comparable publicly traded companies. Founded by Dieter's father, Josef, Schwarz Group, with revenue of around $91 billion, is comprised of the Lidl and Kaufland store chains; the former is Germany's second biggest discounter behind Aldi. Schwarz regularly appeared on Forbes' annual billionaires ranking in the 1990s but was taken off the list in 1999 after making the case to Forbes that he had transferred his ownership of Lidl to a charitable foundation. He returned to the list in 2013, after research showed that the Dieter Schwarz Foundation is a limited liability company with a charitable purpose, not a charitable foundation. Dividends are used to fund charitable projects, but Schwarz maintains full control over his shares and can sell them at any time (in which case he would have to pay taxes on the dividend distributions). The Schwarz Foundation supports education and day care facilities for children. A deeply private person who shuns all publicity, Schwarz is married with two children.
3 30. AL WALEED BIN TALAL ALSAUD, 59 years old, $20.4 Billion, Saudi Arabia, Investments
One of the world's most high-profile investors, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a broad swath of stakes in private and public companies in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, mostly through Kingdom Holding Co., 5% of which is listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. Holdings include stakes in News Corp, Citigroup, hotel management companies Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and Fairmont Raffles Holding, as well as hotel real estate such as the swanky Hotel George V in Paris and a stake in the Savoy Hotel in London. In 2012, the Prince and his investment company bought $300 million worth of Twitter shares; they're now worth upwards of $1 billion. Kingdom Holding could also benefit from a $125 million investment it made in Chinese e-commerce company JD.com, which filed to raise $1.5 billion in an IPO in January. He also owns extensive Saudi real estate and other assets outside of Kingdom Holding.
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