In 2014, top 400 billionaires added $92b to their wealth
Biggest gainer is Alibaba founder
NEW YORK — The richest people on Earth got richer in 2014, adding $92 billion to their collective fortune. The net worth of the world’s top 400 billionaires on Monday stood at $4.1 trillion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking.
The biggest gainer: Jack Ma, cofounder of Alibaba Group, China’s biggest e-commerce company. Ma, a former English teacher, added $25.1 billion to his fortune, riding a 56 percent surge in the company’s shares since its September initial public offering. Ma, 50, briefly passed Li Ka-shing as Asia’s richest person.
Two of the other biggest gainers were Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg. Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., added $13.7 billion to his net worth after the company’s stock rose 28 percent as dozens of businesses the 84-year-old chairman bought over the past five decades churned out record profits.
Buffett passed Mexican telecom billionaire Carlos Slim on Dec. 5 to become the world’s second-richest person. Bill Gates, 59, cofounder of Microsoft Corp., was up $9.1 billion during the year. He remains the richest person, with $87.6 billion. Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, gained $10.6 billion as the California business rose to a record Dec. 22. This year, Facebook made headway in mobile advertising. Its acquisition of Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion has also been paying off.
Nobody was hit harder than Vladimir Evtushenkov, 66. Once Russia’s 14th-richest person, he lost 80 percent of his wealth, dropping out of the Bloomberg ranking. He was sentenced to house arrest in September in a money-laundering case. The court also ruled in favor of nationalizing his stake in Bashneft, which he controlled through AFK Sistema. His fortune fell $8.1 billion.
Leonid Mikhelson, 59, is also one of the biggest losers in dollar terms among Russia’s 20 richest, down $7.8 billion. He is the chief executive of OAO Novatek, a natural gas producer that fell 44 percent during the year. He has a $10.1 billion fortune.
Viktor Vekselberg surpassed Alisher Usmanov as Russia’s richest person after Usmanov’s MegaFon OAO lost almost half its value since June. Vekselberg is worth $14.1 billion; Usmanov fell 32 percent to $13.8 billion.
One of only a few Russians among the 400 richest who gained in 2014 was aluminum billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who added $1.6 billion as his Hong Kong company rose 122 percent. He has increased his fortune to $8.2 billion.
Sheldon Adelson, who controls Las Vegas Sands Corp., fell $8.7 billion as the Las Vegas casino company fell 25 percent.
Jeffrey Bezos, 50, chairman of Amazon.com, had $7.2 billion trimmed from his fortune as the Seattle company lost ground in cloud computing. Bezos is ranked 21st, with a $28.7 billion fortune.
Elon Musk added $2.9 billion, mostly the result of a 50 percent gain by Tesla Motors.
China’s 10 richest people have added almost $48 billion combined, year-to-date.
The title of Asia’s richest person could be challenged by Wang Jianlin, whose Dalian Wanda Group staged an IPO of its commercial properties unit this month. An IPO for Wanda Cinema Line Co. is planned for 2015. Wang has a net worth of $25.3 billion, gaining $12.8 billion during the year.
Bloomberg News found 86 new or hidden billionaires who had never been on an international ranking. Among them were the six heirs to a $13 billion Monaco fortune, unveiled after the family’s matriarch, Helene Pastor, was gunned down in France. The fortune spans two branches of the Pastor family, which built much of Monaco’s skyline.
A surge in real estate and corporate valuations has elevated the fortunes of at least five Blackstone Group billionaires.
Cofounder and chairman Stephen Schwarzman added $926 million.