BRUCE HALLE, 84 years old, $4.9 billion, Tires
Bruce Halle's Discount Tire is the world's largest independent tire and wheel retailer. Halle opened the first store more than half a century ago in Ann Arbor, MI. Today Discount Tire has more than 850 locations in 25 states. The company's "Thank You" commercial holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running TV commercial. The ten-second spot has been on the air since 1975. Halle maintains what is most likely the world's largest collection of vintage tire advertisements. His collection contains 400 unique lithographs from the earliest days of the industry.
JIM WALTON, 66 years old, $35.5 billion, 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.
LARRY ELLISON, 69 years old, $52.1 billion, 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.
CHARLES ERGEN, 61 years old, $15.6 billion, Dish Network
So far 2014 has been pretty rocky for Charles Ergen, chairman of satellite TV company Dish Network. Harbinger Capital Partners, owned by fellow billionaire Phillip Falcone, is the majority shareholder of bankrupt satellite communications company LightSquared. Harbinger has accused Ergen of fraudulently buying LightSquared debt through shell companies in an effort to get LightSquared's wireless spectrum on the cheap. Ergen denies the allegations, and the dispute remains before a judge. Although Dish Network and Echostar, the two companies Ergen controls, still enjoy solid profitability, he foresees a day when consumers will get all their video content over the Internet or through high-speed mobile, and is struggling to remake his empire to prepare. Ergen entered the satellite-TV business in the 1980s.
RAY DALIO, 64 years old, $14.4 billion, Hedge Funds
The king of the rich hedge fund industry, Ray Dalio lords over the world's biggest hedge fund firm, Bridgewater Associates, with about $150 billion in assets. But the last two years have been a challenging time for Dalio. His All Weather fund was down by about 4% in 2013, even though its risk-parity strategy is supposed to make money in the market most of the time. Bridgewater's big Pure Alpha hedge fund was up in 2013 by about 5%. It was up by less than 1% in 2012, underperforming both the average hedge fund and the U.S. stock market for two straight years. But the recent underperformance has not diminished Bridgewater's popularity or esteem with the investment community. Dalio founded Bridgewater in his Manhattan apartment in 1975. Now at age 64, he is doing all he can to ensure its survival, ceding more responsibility and selling ownership stakes in his firm to his employees and clients. But Dalio's effort to build a new $750 million headquarters in Stamford, Ct., has stalled over zoning issues.
CHARLES JOHNSON, 81 years old, $7.9 billion, Money Management
Charles Johnson retired in 2013 as chairman of Franklin Resources, the San Mateo, CA parent of mutual fund purveyor Franklin Templeton, with $820 billion in assets under management. Johnson's father, Rupert Sr., founded mutual fund shop Franklin Distributors in 1947. Charles took over as chief executive in 1957. His son Gregory is now chairman and CEO while his half-brother, billionaire Rupert Johnson Jr., serves as vice chairman. Charles Johnson is also the principal owner of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. In 2012, he and his wife donated their Carolands Chateau in Hillsborough to the Carolands Foundation for preservation. After their renovations, the property was worth $40 million.
|Anne Cox Chambers
ANNE COX CHAMBERS, 94 years old, $15.8 billion, Media
Anne Cox Chambers is the majority owner of privately-held media conglomerate Cox Enterprises and, at age 94, continues to sit on the board of directors. Nephew James Kennedy is chairman. Founded by her father, James M. Cox (d. 1957) in 1898 when he purchased the Dayton Evening News, today the company includes Cox Communications (cable, broadband), Cox Media Group (newspapers, TV, radio stations), Manheim (car auctions) and AutoTrader Group (online car sales, Kelley Blue Book). In January 2014 the company announced that it had bought back 25% of AutoTrader.com from Providence Equity Partners. This increases Cox's stake to 98% of AutoTrader.com. The remaining 2% is owned by current and former AutoTrader.com employees. Her net worth has increased $3.5 billion in the past year because AutoTrader.com has increased in value. Chambers was ambassador to Belgium under President Jimmy Carter and holds the French Legion of Honor title.
PIERRE OMIDYAR, 46 years old, $7.6 billion, Ebay
EBay founder Pierre Omidyar is expanding into other ventures nearly 20 years after founding his online auction company. Outspoken on Twitter, he created First Look Media, a group that aims to present new forms of independent journalism. It's first publication, digital magazine The Intercept, launched in Feb. 2014, featuring work from Edward Snowden-revealing journalist Glenn Greenwald. The site will initially focus on disclosing new information from NSA whistleblower Snowden. Still serving as eBay's chairman, Omidyar also spends time on the Omidyar Network, his philanthropic investment firm. A member of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett's Giving Pledge, Omidyar and his wife, Pam, have been perhaps the biggest private donors to the fight against human trafficking over the last half decade. In the past four years, they've invested $115 million in their Humanity United foundation, which funds 85 antislavery nonprofits as well as on-the-ground projects in five countries, including their first in Nepal. They've pledged to spend another $50 million by 2016. Born in France of Iranian parents, Omidyar moved to the U.S. with his family at age 6. He wrote code for his website, Auction Web, at age 28 and renamed it eBay after his first choice, Echo Bay, was already taken. Omidyar ceded executive control to new hire Meg Whitman in 1998; she was replaced by John Donahoe 10 years later.
KEN GRIFFIN, 45 years old, $5.2 billion, Hedge Funds
The 45-year-old Griffin is on a winning streak. The Kensington and Wellington funds at Griffin's Chicago-based hedge fund firm, Citadel, had a pretty good 2013, even though they trailed the U.S. stock market. The main funds at Citadel, which manages $16 billion in assets, returned 19.25% net for the year, following a 25% return in 2012 and 20% return in 2011. He recently announced he was giving $150 million to Harvard University, which will mostly be dedicated to financial aid for undergraduate students.
GAYLE COOK, 80 years old, $5.9 billion, Medical Devices
Gayle Cook is the owner of the Cook Group, a medical device company she co-founded with her late husband William ("Bill") Cook in a spare room in their Bloomington, Indiana apartment back in 1963. When Bill died in 2011, she inherited his stake and sits on the company's board. Their son Carl Cook is also involved in the business, which has offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia and revenues estimated at $2 billion. Cook's net worth has surged $1.8 billion over the past year due to a rise in the market capitalization of publicly traded competitors like Johnson & Johnson and Stryker Corp. Cook Group specializes in stents and catheters that contain pre-injected antibiotics. From 1996 to 2007, Bill and Gayle Cook spent $500 million to restore the luxury French Lick Resort and West Baden Springs Hotel in Indiana, adding a casino and a Pete Dye-designed PGA golf course. The Cooks donated a reported $10 million to Northwestern University, where the couple endowed the Bill and Gayle Cook Professorship in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology.
HARRY STINE, 72 years old, $3 billion, Agriculture
Harry Stine is new to the Forbes Billionaire list this year. He is the founder and owner of the largest private seed company in the U.S. The Stine Seed group of companies resides inauspiciously amid the crop fields of rural Iowa, but Stine is a formidable competitor that bats in the big leagues with the likes of Monsanto and DuPont. A savant with data and business strategy, he began breeding his industry-leading soybean genetics in the 1960s. He was one of the first to patent the genetics in the early 1990s and reaps millions annually in licensing royalties to the corporations and farming operations that use his high-yielding products. The company is also developing corn genetics and biotechnology. His latest innovation could revolutionize the corn industry: seeds bred to thrive when they are densely planted, dramatically increasing farmers' harvests. A farm-boy born with an entrepreneurial bug, he owns a small home a couple hundred yards from Stine Seed headquarters and drives a Ford F-150 to work.
CHARLES KOCH, 78 years old, $41.6 billion, 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."
B. WAYNE HUGHES, 80 years old, $2.2 billion, Self Storage
B. Wayne Hughes cofounded Public Storage with a single locker in 1972 and turned it into the nation's biggest chain of self-storage facilities with more than 2,200 locations in the U.S. and Europe. He retired as CEO of the Glendale, CA company in 2002 and is now chairman emeritus. His daughter, billionaire Tamara Hughes Gustavson, sits on the board, as does his son, B. Wayne Hughes, Jr. The Oklahoma-born entrepreneur is well known in the thoroughbred racing world, spending much of his time on his 700-acre Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.
TOM BENSON, 86 years old, $1.5 billion, New Orleans Saint
Tom Benson, the local sports patriarch of New Orleans, has done well by his franchises. His combined $410 million investments in the NFL Saints and NBA Pelicans, which translate to $496 million in today's dollars (Benson bought the Saints back in 1985) are worth more than $1.4 billion today. Rising prices in New Orleans commercial real estate in 2013 boosted the value of his local holdings, including Benson Tower, a 26-story office building. His other holdings include a local TV station, auto dealerships and Lone Star Capital Bank, a small bank in San Antonio, Texas.
TED LERNER, 88 years old, $4.5 billion, Real Estate
Real estate magnate Ted Lerner and his family own the Washington Nationals baseball team, which in 2012 became the first D.C. sports franchise to make the playoffs in 79 years. After serving in the Army during World War II, Lerner went 42 straight months through college and law school on the GI Bill. In one of his first cases as an attorney, Lerner got his client's sentence reduced--and the client promptly skipped town without paying the attorney fee. Lerner, who had sold real estate on the weekends during college to support his widowed mother and sister--decided it was a good time to go out on his own. In 1952 (he was just 26), Lerner borrowed $250 from his wife to start his company. He started out selling homes for developers, and after selling some 22,000 decided to become a builder himself. He built shopping malls throughout the D.C. suburbs. Now, Lerner owns 20 million square feet of commercial and retail space, plus hotels, and 7,000 apartments. The family and the team foundation have given millions to a pediatric diabetes wing at Children's National Hospital in D.C., a health and wellness center at George Washington University, and a sports center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
ABIGAIL JOHNSON, 52 years old, $17.9 billion, Money Management
The Harvard MBA joined the family mutual fund and investment business firm, Fidelity, 26 years ago. She is the granddaughter of Fidelity founder, Edward C. Johnson II, daughter of the current CEO, Edward C. "Ned" Johnson III, and was made president of the firm in 2012. Though press shy and described as "mysterious," the 52-year-old is widely expected to be the next CEO when her father retires. Fidelity is the second-largest mutual fund company in the U.S. with $1.9 trillion in assets under management and $13.6 billion in operating revenue for 2013. Johnson owns an estimated 24% stake in the company and is the fourth richest woman in the U.S., with an estimated net worth of $17.9 billion.
HANK & DOUG MEIJER, $8 billion, Supermarkets
Hank and Doug Meijer run the Michigan-based grocery chain Meijer. The brothers took over as co-chairmen in 1990 when their father Frederik (d. 2011) retired. Hank is CEO. The company has 200 stores in five midwestern states. It was founded in 1934 by their grandfather Hendrik, who hired son Frederik to stock shelves. Father and son launched Meijer Thrifty Acres in 1962 and pioneered one-stop shopping, now the staple of competitors like Wal-Mart. The company has recently moved away from its superstore roots, investing in a handful of smaller, more upscale grocery stores called Meijer Marketplace.
WHITNEY MACMILLAN, 85 years old, $5.1 billion, Cargill Inc.
Whitney MacMillan owns an estimated 9% of Cargill, the largest private company in America. He and five other secretive billionaire relatives together control the $137 billion agribusiness firm, which sells food, processes crops, trades commodities, sources ingredients and provides financial risk management. MacMillan served as chairman and CEO from 1977 until his retirement in 1995. Under his tenure, the company expanded internationally and increased its number of employees roughly 10-fold. MacMillan's great-grandfather W.W. Cargill founded the company in 1865 as a one-grain storage warehouse on the end of an Iowa railroad line. He got rich when the agricultural and rail industries expanded across the Great Plains following the Civil War. His son-in-law, John MacMillan, took control in 1909, and the business remained family-operated until Whitney's retirement. MacMillan graduated from Yale, and the university's Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies is named after him. He has served on the boards of the Council on Foreign Affairs and the Mayo Foundation. MacMillan reportedly operates a cattle ranch in Montana with his wife.
JACK TAYLOR, 91 years old, $13.2 billion, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Jack Taylor started Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 1957. He named the company after the aircraft carrier he served on during World War II. Today the company, which has the largest fleet in the world with 1.3 million cars, operates under the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo and National brands. The company had sales of $16.4 billion in 2013.Taylor's net worth has increase more than $1 billion since the summer of 2013 due to an increase in revenues and higher price-to-sales multiples for publicly traded competitors. Taylor is retired but serves as an advisory director. Son Andy is executive chairman. In June 2013 Enterprise announced that Pamela Nicholson took over as the first non-family member CEO.
DENNIS WASHINGTON, 79 years old, $6 billion, Construction/Mining
Dennis Washington gravitates to fixer-uppers, whether that it be homes, yachts or businesses. With help from a crew of 224, he toiled for approximately 40 months, ripping apart and rebuilding his latest yacht, the 332-foot Attessa IV. In business too he likes diamonds in the rough. He bought an abandoned copper mine in Butte and restarted it twice, in the 1980s and again after the shutdown from the energy crisis; today the business is worth well over a billion. His Washington Co. also controls Montana Rail Link, which transports freight over 900 miles of track; a tugboat and barge business in Vancouver; a container shipping company; and a heavy equipment distributor in the U.S. and Russia. He spent $60 million on Washington Family Ranch, an Oregon camp he donated to Christian youth organization Young Life in 1998. The child of divorced parents, he went to seven grade schools and suffered a bout of childhood polio. He eventually settled in Montana where he worked for his uncle's construction firm before striking out on his own.
WARREN BUFFETT, 83 years old, $65.7 billion, Berkshire Hathaway
Now in his ninth decade, 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. As for his advice to investors today, the Oracle of Omaha said in February, as the S&P 500 again touched record levels, to steer clear of market euphoria and focus on the potential for profits over time.