By Arun Kumar, Washington,
March 12 (IANS)
losing $18 billion over the last 12 months, Bill
Gates has reclaimed his title as the richest man
in the world with a total net worth of $40 billion.
As the number of billionaires on the planet shrank,
Warren Buffett slipped to No. 2 with $37 billion,
after losing $25 billion in the past year due
to the decline in value of Berkshire Hathaway
stock, according to Forbes' 2009 list of the World's
Billionaires. Mexican telecom titan Carlos Slim
Helu lost $25 billion, and came in at No. 3.
The top 3 on Forbes' list
have lost a combined $68 billion in the past year
as the total number of billionaires fell to 793
from 1,125. This marks the first time since 2003
that the number of billionaires worldwide has
dropped from one year to the next. The 355 billionaires
who fell off the list this year include former
AIG chief executive Maurice "Hank" Greenberg,
former head of Citigroup Sandy Weill, and Facebook
founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Even among those who have
managed to remain billionaires, there has been
a vast decrease in wealth: the total net worth
of this year's list is $2.4 trillion, down $2
trillion from $4.4 trillion last year. The average
billionaire is now worth $3 billion, down from
$3.9 billion in 2008.
Anil Ambani (No. 34) was
last year's biggest gainer and is this year's
biggest loser: he lost $32 billion over the last
12 months. Fellow Indian Lakshmi Mittal (No. 8)
also endured significant losses, with $25.7 billion
wiped from his personal fortune during the past
The 2009 list represents
citizens from 52 countries and one principality.
As fortunes fell in Asia and Russia, Americans
once again dominate the superrich, occupying 10
of the Top 20 spots, up from only four last year.
Russia has lost nearly two-thirds of its billionaires
during the past year and is down to 32 billionaires.
The 10 biggest dollar losers on this year's list
lost a combined $238 billion in the past year,
more than the GDP of Ireland or Israel.
Still, these tycoons are
worth a combined $175 billion, and half of them
are still among the 10 richest people on the planet.
Bose speakers firm founder
no longer worth a billion
Bose, the Indian American founder-chairman of
the famed speakers company Bose Corporation, has
dropped off the Forbes magazine's list of the
world's billionaires. Bose faced a similar fate
in the recent economic downturn, according to
the Worcester Business Journal. In the September
2007 list of the richest Americans, Forbes put
his net worth at $1.8 billion. By the same time
in 2008, that was down to $1.5 billion. Now the
wealth held by the former MIT assistant professor
has apparently fallen below $1 billion.
According to Forbes, he is
believed to own a 60 percent stake in Bose Corp.,
which, like many companies, has been going through
difficult times in recent months. In January,
the company announced it would cut 10 percent
of its workforce, or about 1,000 jobs. Bose is
not alone. Forbes reports that the average worth
of the world's billionaires has dropped 23 percent
over the past year. The total number of billionaires
dropped from 1,125 to 793.