Billionaires Bill Gates, left, and Carlos Slim, hold a news conference to announce donations to Mexico's International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Texcoco, Mexico, on Feb. 13, 2013Bill Gates is once again the world’s richest person.
The 57-year-old co-founder of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) recaptured the title from Mexican investor Carlos Slim yesterday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as the software maker hit a five-year high. It is the first time Gates has held the mantle since 2007. His fortune is valued at $72.7 billion, up 16 percent year-to-date.
Slim’s America Movil (AMXL) SAB, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, has dropped 14 percent this year after Mexico’s Congress passed a bill that could quash the billionaire’s market dominance. That’s helped erase more than $3 billion from the 73-year-old tycoon’s net worth.
“When they’re talking about reform in a country that’s generally poor, and the guy shows up No. 1 on the list -- not a good thing,” said Greg Lesko, managing director at New York-based Deltec Asset Management LLC, which oversees $750 million and has an “underweight” position in Slim’s flagship company. “He’s had a pretty good monopoly situation in Mexico, and the Mexican cellphone user has been paying more than he should. We applaud it for the country.”
Earlier this month, a group of kazoo-playing protesters confronted Slim when he appeared at an event at the New York Public Library, denouncing him for overcharging consumers to enrich himself. He denies the accusation.
Most of Gates’s fortune is held in Cascade Investment LLC, a holding entity through which he owns stakes in more than a dozen publicly traded companies and several closely held operations, including Four Seasons hotels and Corbis Corp. Less than a quarter of Gates’s fortune is held in Microsoft. He’s donated $28 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman Warren Buffett is the world’s third-richest person with $59.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking. He is $3.7 billion ahead of Spaniard Amancio Ortega, Europe’s wealthiest person.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.