Bill Gates is once again the richest person in the world.
According to the Bloomberg billionaires index, the 58-year-old founder and chairman of Microsoft Corp. added $15.8 billion to his fortune, which is now worth $78.5 billion, as shares of the world’s largest software maker rose 40 percent. Gates reclaimed the title from Mexican investor Carlos Slim, who lost $1.4 billion in 2013, on May 16.
Slim’s America Movil SAB, the largest mobile phone operator in the Americas, dropped 12 percent in the first three months of the year after Mexico’s Congress passed a bill to suppress the billionaire’s market dominance. Still, America Movil finished the year up 2 percent after a planned expansion into Europe was reined in.
Las Vegas Sands Corporation founder Sheldon Adelson was the year’s second-biggest gainer, increasing his net worth by $14.4 billion as shares of the world’s largest casino company rose 71 percent. The Sands had revenue of $13.2 billion in the 12 months ending September 30, with more than 58 percent of sales coming from Macau.
The aggregate net worth for the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on December 31. And according to John Catsimatidis, the billionaire founder of real estate and energy conglomerate Red Apple Group Inc, the wealthy will continue to add to their fortunes this year.
The rich will keep getting richer in 2014,” Catsimatidis said. “Interest rates will remain low, equity markets will keep rising, and the economy will grow at less than 2 percent.”
Just because Bill Gates is the richest person in the world doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have time for regular people. Last month, Gates joined Reddit’s annual Secret Santa exchange and was teamed up with a user named Rachel, who only knew him as Bill.
“I thought Bill sounded like a friendly fellow,” Rachel wrote in a Reddit post. “In fact, I had this whole image of this poor guy named Bill trying to navigate my wishlist full of makeup, nailpolish, glittery things to buy me. Quite frankly I felt bad for this ‘Bill.'”
But when she opened her package to find a stuffed cow and note that said a real cow was being donated to a family in need in her honor through non-profit group Heifer International, everything clicked. Inside was a picture of Bill Gates holding up a sign that he was Rachel’s Secret Santa partner.
“I opened this and it’s a man holding a sign … And then it finally hit me. All the presents I just tore open, the charity, then everything — was from Bill GATES, she said. “I am so very, very grateful for the amazing and thoughtful gift you have picked for me! Not only is the gift PERFECT from anyone, but I am sincerely very appreciative that you took the time to find something so fitting for me.”
[Photo credit: OnInnovation / Flickr]