Bill Gates reclaims title of richest person in the world

Washington – Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has regained the title of world’s richest person with a fortune valued at $72.7 billion (R680 billion) on Bloomberg’s billionaire index.

It is the first time the former Microsoft chief executive has held the title since 2007, Bloomberg news service reported yesterday.

He took the title away from Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim.

The 57-year-old Gates’ net worth grew in recent weeks thanks to a rally on Wall Street. His fortune climbed about $10 billion (R93 billion) this year, hitting a five-year high yesterday when the stock market closed.

Slim (73) owns a fortune valued at $72.1 billion (R674 billion), according to Bloomberg, whose billionaires index is updated every day.

It dropped more than $2 billion this year after Mexico’s Congress passed a bill to end the market dominance of his America Movil.

The bill would allow regulators to break up phone companies with more than 50% of the market or force them to share their networks. America Movil has 70% of Mexico’s mobile-phone subscribers and 80% of the country’s landlines.

Gates has stakes in more than a dozen publicly traded companies, including the Four Seasons hotel chain, and several closely held operations, Bloomberg said.

Less than a quarter of Gates’ fortune is held in Microsoft.

Gates has donated $28 billion (R262 billion) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charity working largely in poor countries to improve health and education.

The Forbes list of the world’s richest people is better known than the Bloomberg list. It was last published in March, and at the time Slim was number one, Gates was number two, Spanish fashion mogel Amancio Ortega third and US financial wizard Warren Buffet was fourth.

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