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"A penny for your thoughts"

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bill Gates lost as world's richest

Warren Buffett topples Bill Gates as world's richest man

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates_Picture below

Buffett, the 77-year-old chief of the Berkshire Hathaway holding company, who announced in 2006 he was giving the majority of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, saw his wealth spike mostly due to the rising value of his Berkshire Hathaway stock. The richest woman in the world was France's Liliane Bettencourt, of cosmetics company L'Oreal with a personal fortune of 22.9 billion dollars, partly helped by the weak US dollar, which has fallen notably against the euro.

Buffett, the 77-year-old chief of the Berkshire Hathaway holding company, saw his wealth jump from 52 billion dollars last year to 62 billion, pushing Microsoft co-founder Gates into third position after 13 years at the top. Bill Gates, Buffett's buddy in philanthropy through 2007, amassing another $2 billion to bring his cash pile to $58 billion.

Mexico's telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu grabbed second place with a tidy nest egg of 60 billion dollars, up from 49 billion last year.

Surprisingly, Buffett and Gates were the only Americans in the top 10, alongside one Mexican (second-placed Slim) four Indians (placed fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth), a Swede (seventh), a Russian (ninth) and a German (10th.) Among the biggest losers were Starbucks chief Howard Schultz, whose stock dragged him off the list all together, and Spanish property billionaire Enrique Banuelos, whose wealth plunged from 7.7 billion dollars in 2007 to 1.3 billion.

"Most countries outside of the US have benefited from the currency fluctuations," said Forbes' senior editor Luisa Kroll. "It's definitely helped boost the numbers outside of the US."

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of online social-networking site Facebook, poked his way into the elite crew at only 23 years old as the youngest self-made billionaire ever. Forbes valued his fortune at $1.5 billion.

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