By Matthew Field
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the newest members of the elite global club for individuals with fortunes of more than $US100 billion ($131 billion).
They have become centibillionaires, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after a rally in tech stocks this year added more than $US20 billion each to their wealth.
Page is the world’s sixth-wealthiest individual with a fortune of $US103.6 billion, while Brin is in eighth spot and worth $US100.2 billion.
Other members include Amazon’s boss Jeff Bezos, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Tesla’s Elon Musk, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet and Bernard Arnault of French luxury conglomerate LVMH.
The ranks of the centibillionaires have expanded over the past three years as booming stock markets and technology companies in particular propelled their founders’ wealth even higher.
Together, the world’s eight richest people have added $US110 billion to their fortunes this year and boast a combined wealth of more than $US1 trillion.
Gates was the first person to hit the $US100 billion milestone in July 1999 during the dotcom boom, but his wealth slumped as Microsoft shares fell back. He rejoined the ranks in 2019 and is worth almost $US145 billion.
Bezos tops the list with a fortune of $US196.6 billion, up some $US6.3 billion this year. He joined the group in 2017 as Amazon’s share price surged and pushed it over the $US1 trillion mark a year later.
However, it is Musk’s rise that has been particularly meteoric after Tesla became one of the big winners of booming interest in technology stocks during the pandemic. Its shares are up more than 400 per cent over the past 12 months leaving Musk worth $US175 billion and the world’s second richest person.
The Tesla founder has added $US5.1 billion to his wealth this year, bringing his fortune to $US174.8 billion.
Shares in Alphabet, the owner of Google, are up 31 per cent this year, making it one of the fastest-climbing big tech stocks and outpacing Amazon, Apple and Facebook. Its shares are trading at a record high and the company is worth $US1.5 trillion.
It follows figures by Forbes’ last week that revealed almost 90 per cent of the world’s billionaires are richer than a year ago, despite the pandemic having sent shockwaves through the corporate world.
According to the list, there are 2,755 billionaires worth $US13.1 trillion – a significant jump on the year before when there were 660 billionaires worth a combined $US8 trillion.
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