Carlos Slim takes top slot at Forbes 2011 world billionaire list

Forbes has unveiled its 2011 world billionaires list, and it looks impressive. The 25th year has broken two records – a total number of entries of 1,210 and a combined wealth of $4.5 trillion. The winner, for a second year running, is Mexico’s beloved telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu who is worth $74 billion. Last he was the first non-American to become the world’s richest person. Then comes Bill Gates with $56 billion, followed by Warren Buffett at $50 billion. Emerging markets Brazil, Russia, India, and China, produced 108 out of the new 214 names. The record is the outcome of research done by 50 journalists from 13 countries. The list is made yearly to give way for the rich moguls the power to shape the world.

Here is a brief description of this year’s top five contenders:

1. Carlos Slim Helu & Family:
He is 71 and is the chairman of Telemex. His fortune has been raised by $20.5 billion, which resulted from a 19% rise in the Mexican stock market, a stronger peso, and successful mining and real estate spinoffs from conglomerate Grupo Carso. He also merged his fixed-line telecom company into America Movil, Latin America’s largest wireless carrier. He also opened a new building for his Soumaya Museum featuring his art collection.
2. Bill Gates:
Microsoft founder and co-chairperson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is America’s richest person and has slipped from the top position after giving away $30 billion to his foundation. Mr. Gate, 55, and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett convinced nearly 60 of the world’s wealthiest people to sign his ‘Giving Pledge,’ which promises to donate most of their wealth to charity either during their lifetime or after death. His foundation tackles tuberculosis and polio and funds famine-resistant crops to fight hunger. It calls for a higher sense of urgency in AIDS vaccine development and better tools to rate teacher performance.
3. Warren Buffett:
He is 80 and is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett faked breathing problems when he was 12, so he could move back to Omaha from Washington, D.C., where his father was a freshman congressman. He had read every book about investing in stocks in the Omaha Public Library by the time he was 12. He met value investor Benjamin Graham at Columbia, bought the textile firm Berkshire Hathaway in 1965, and transformed it into the massive holding company: food, insurance, utilities, industrials. Buffett acquired railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26 billion in 2009. Warren Buffett has donated $1.25 billion in Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stock to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
4. Bernard Arnault:
Chairman of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LMVH), 62, has had his Fortune surged by $13.5 billion as shares of his luxury good outfit rose by more than half over the past year. Under its name, this company has luxuries, including Dom Perignon champagne, Cognac Hennessy, Tag Heuer watches, and Louis Vuitton accessories. He owns yacht builder Royal Van Lent, a hotel in Courchevel, has stakes in French retailer Carrefour and French tour operator Go Voyages.
5. Larry Ellison:
He is the 66-year old founder of Oracle. His fortune grew $11.5 billion bigger than last year after a 30% jump in its shares. It has won a copyright infringement court battle against German software rival SAP worth $1.3 billion. Oracle has acquired 75 companies over the years worth $40 billion. One of the highest-paid executives in the US, Ellison reaped $960 million in compensation in the past five fiscal years, mostly from exercising stock options; he recently cut his salary to $1. An avid yachtsman, Ellison spent a decade and over $100 million on his quest for America’s Cup, which he finally won in February 2010 and will bring to San Francisco in 2013.
6. Lakshmi Mittal:
Net Worth – $31.1 billion
Country – India
7. Amancio Ortega:
Net Worth – $31 billion
Country – Spain
8. Eike Batista:
Net Worth – $30 billion
Country – Brazil
9. Mukesh Ambani:
Net Worth – $27 billion
Country – India
10. Christy Walton and Family:
Net Worth – $26.5 billion
Country – United States