1. BILL GATES, 58 years old, $78.4 billion, Microsoft (USA)
He's back. Helped by a bounce in Microsoft shares, Bill Gates returns to the top of our annual 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.
|Carlos Slim Helu|
2. CARLOS SLIM HELU, 74 years old, $72.9 billion, Telecom (Mexico)
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. DAVID THOMSON, 56 years old, $23.1 billion, Media (Canada)
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.
|Jorge Paulo Lemann|
4. JORGE PAULO LEMANN, 74 years old, $22 billion, Beer (Brazil)
Jorge Paulo Lemann may be Brazil's richest man thanks to his shares in Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world's largest brewer, but in 2013 it was another deal that put him in the headlines. His private equity firm, 3G Capital, acquired H.J. Heinz Company together with Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway in July for $23 billion. This is Lemann's second acquisition of an American name brand. In 2010, his 3G Capital bought Burger King in a leveraged buyout, gunning profit margins by slashing around 4,000 jobs. Lemann is a former Brazilian tennis champion who played at Wimbledon. He has lived in Switzerland since 1999, after an attempted kidnapping of his children.
|Luis Carlos Sarmiento|
5. LUIS CARLOS SARMIENTO, 81 years old, $16 billion, Banking (Colombia)
Luis Carlos Sarmiento Angulo took a fortune amassed in the construction industry and invested it in banks. His Grupo Aval now controls one third of all banking in Colombia. The 81-year-old still chairs the company and works more than 60 hours a week. His only son, Luis Carlos Sarmiento Gutiérrez, is the acting CEO. The heir apparent got an engineering degree at the University of Miami, then an MBA at Cornell. He crunched numbers in Procter & Gamble's finance department for four years before moving home to Bogota. Grupo Aval completed a $1.23 billion local offering in Jaunary, and Sarmiento Angulo bought more than 95% of the new shares. He also bought Colombia's largest newspaper, El Tiempo, in April 2012 and announced a deal to build a Grand Hyatt in Bogota two months later.
6. IRIS FONTBONA, 71 years old, $14 billion, Mining (Chile)
Iris Fontbona is the widower of the late billionaire Andronico Luksic, who died of cancer in 2005. He left his business to his wife and three sons, Jean-Paul, Andronico, and Guillermo Luksic. The family suffered another loss in March 2013 when Guillermo died of lung cancer at age 57. His son Nicolas reportedly took over his father's role in the family business, as chairman of Quinenco, a consumer packaging maker where the family owns a majority stake. Quinenco also has interests in Banco de Chile and in energy, transportation and port services. The family's largest holding is its controlling stake in Antofagasta, one of the world's largest copper miners. Jean-Paul is chairman and Andronico heads up the financial division. The family also owns two chains of Croatian beach resorts, Adriatic Luxury Resorts and Laguna Porec. In 2011 Andronico received an award from the Americas Society for contributions to Harvard and Babson College. During a December 2011 telethon, the usually press-averse Iris donated $3 million to help Chileans with disabilities.
|Carlos and Alejandro B.|
7. CARLOS AND ALEJANDRO BULGHERONI, $5.8 billion, Oil and Gas (Argentina)
Lifelong oil men, brothers Alejandro Pedro Bulgheroni and Carlos Alberto Bulgheroni derive their wealth from Bridas Energy, which holds a 40% stake in Pan American Energy, a joint venture with BP. Pan American Energy produced just over 22,000 barrels of oil per day last year, taking 17% of total market share in Argentina. In 2010, Carlos engineered the sale of 50% of Bridas, founded by his father in 1948, to China's CNOOC, which paid $3.1 billion for the stake; Alejandro is Bridas' vice president. In 2011, they agreed to acquire Exxon's downstream assets in the country, paying a reported $415 million; they are planning on investing at least $1.2 billion to increase capacity and take market share from 14% to 20% over the next three years. The Bulgheronis also own farmland in Uruguay, where they have a milk production facility, a winery, and a wind farm.
8. GUSTAVO CISNEROS, 69 years old, $4 billion, Media (Venezuela)
Gustavo Cisneros is the owner of the revamped Cisneros Group, a conglomerate with interests in Venezuelan television stations, telecom, a regional brewery, a real estate company and a baseball team. In October 2013, Gustavo's daughter Adriana became CEO and oversaw the restructuring of the entire group into four main branches: Media, Interactive, Real Estate and Products & Services. Back in 2007, with U.S. billionaire Jerry Perenchio and Mexican billionaire Emilio Azcarraga Jean, Cisneros sold U.S. Spanish-language TV network Univision to a private equity consortium led by U.S. billionaire Haim Saban for $13.7 billion. Although the Cisneros Group's Venevision has tangled with the Venezuelan government in the past, the company now avoids politics, focusing instead on entertainment, including hugely popular Latin American soap operas. Venevision reportedly has a 67% audience share in Venezuela and reaches 500 million people around the world. The Cisneros Group also owns the Miss Venezuela contest, and has reportedly been looking to purchase a television channel in Brazil. In October 2011, Carlos Slim's America Movil bought Cisneros' digital content business, DLA Inc., for $50 million; Cisneros has since been adding digital advertising businesses to his portfolio. He and wife Patricia are familiar figures in high society, hobnobbing with former presidents like George H. W. Bush, designers and fellow billionaires. The couple boasts an extensive collection of Latin American art. Madrid's Reina Sofia Museum displayed some of the collection in 2013.
9. EDUARDO BELMONT ANDERSON, 68 years old, $2.9 billion, Cosmetics (Peru)
Eduardo Belmont is the owner and president of Belcorp, a door-to-door cosmetics company that operates in 16 Latin American countries and the U.S. He was new to the Forbes Billionaires list in 2013 when we valued his fortune at $6.1 billlion. But new information about the company led us to compare it to multi-level marketing companies like Herbalife or direct sales companies like Oriflame, which are priced at much lower multiples than mainstream cosmetics firms like Brazil's Natura. Belcorp's sales have held steady at $2 billion. Eduardo and his billionaire brother Fernando used to run a jointly-owned cosmetics firm called Yanbal, but in 1988 the two parted ways and each now runs his own beauty enterprise. Fernando's company kept the Yanbal name. Eduardo has degrees from both Harvard Business School and Wharton.
10. JACKY XU, $1.4 billion, Apparel (St. Kitts & Nevis)
Xu is the founder of Trendy International Group, one of China's most successful home-grown apparel companies.
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