Microsoft founder and chairman Bill Gates is once again the world’s richest person, with a net worth of US$78.2bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The index is a ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals.
Most of Gates’ fortune is derived from Cascade Investment, a holding company created from the proceeds of Microsoft stock sales and dividends. Since Microsoft’s IPO in 1986, Gates has sold about US$31bn in stock and gathered more than US$7.8bn in dividends, including a US$3.3bn payout in 2004, which he donated to his philanthropic foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates owns about 4.3pc of Microsoft.
Other tech leaders on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index are (dollar amounts are net worth):
- Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corp: US$43.3bn
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO: US$35.9bn
- Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO: US$31.2bn
- Sergey Brin, Google co-founder: US$30.9bn
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder and CEO: US$24.7bn
- Steve Ballmer, outgoing Microsoft CEO: US$17.8bn
- Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell: US$15.4bn
- Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook co-founder: US$6.9bn
Gates regained the top spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index from Carlos Slim, owner of America Movil, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas. Slim has a net worth pegged at US$72bn.
The world’s billionaires became even wealthier in 2013, adding US$524bn to their collective net worth, according to the index. The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at US$3.7trn at the market close on 31 December, according to the ranking.
The technology industry, which increased 28pc during 2013, yielded the largest gains.