Forbes’s rich list includes six Facebook billionaires.
Facebook may have bombed out at the Oscars, with The Social Network, the film depicting its creation, being trounced by The King’s Speech, but when it comes to cold, hard cash, Forbes’s business magazine shows that Facebook reigns supreme.
In the latest list of the world’s billionaires, published by Forbes no fewer than six made their money from Facebook, the social networking site.
Topping the list is Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and president, who helped to create it while at Harvard University. He ranks 52nd in the Forbes list, with a fortune estimated at $13.5bn.
His wealth, along with the other five, massively increased this year when Goldman Sachs injected £926m in capital into the site, valuing the company, which remains private, at $50bn.
Next among them is Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook’s co-founder. Born on May 22, 1984, eight days after Zuckerberg, Moskovitz is the world’s youngest billionaire, having amassed $2.7bn
The remaining six include Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake in the film), with $1.6bn to his name, Peter Thiel ($1.5bn) and a Russian investor in the company, Yuri Milner ($1bn).
Eduardo Saverin, whose falling out with Zuckerberg and the eventual lawsuit and settlement provided the dramatic core of The Social Network, was estimated by Forbes to have made £1.6bn out of the agreement.
“Shed no tears for Eduardo,” says Steve Forbes, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
“If you do get to be thrown out, a billion dollars isn’t a bad severance package.”
The top three names on the list, including Carlos Slim Hélu, the Mexican telecoms tycoon, with a personal value of $74bn, Microsoft’s Bill Gates with 56bn and the investor Warren Buffett, with $50bn, have remained unchanged since last year. The two latter moguls have been known to give generously to charities.
Forbes predicts there are 1210 billionaires in the world today, 214 more than last year.
The rise of Asia emerged as a theme, particularly China. Asia has more billionaires (332) on the list than Europe (300).
The number of American billionaires has risen by 10 to 413, but looking at the bigger picture, its story is one of decline.
Ten years ago the US accounted for fully half of the global billionaires; last year that proportion had fallen to about 40%. This year it stands at 34%.
There are 102 women on this year’s list, up from 89. The richest is Christy Walton, widow of John Walton, son of Sam Walton, who founded the US retail giant Walmart.