NEW YORK (Reuters) – It was a good year for billionaires.
Despite a difficult stock market, the total wealth of the 400 richest Americans rose 10 percent to $955 billion this year, reversing last year’s decline of $80 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s latest poll.
Technology and media visionaries, along with the family heirs of top-name companies, continued to dominate the list.
The list was heavily weighted with technology executives, including Bill Gates (News), marking his 10th year at the No. 1 spot, and Paul Allen, both of Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT – News), along with Michael Dell (News) of Dell Inc. (NasdaqNM:DELL – News) and Larry Ellison (News) of Oracle Corp. (NasdaqNM:ORCL – News). The sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett (News) came in at No. 2.
Brains and enterprise, however, were not the only way to win a coveted spot on the much-watched list. Others made the list thanks to a family fortune, whether it was from retailing, chocolates or hotels.
The Walton family, the dynasty behind the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT – News) fortune, took up five names on the top-ten list. Among the top 25 were three heirs from the Mars candy-making family, publishing scions Donald and Samuel Newhouse, and two heirs of the Pritzker fortune that includes the Hyatt hotels.
Among those losing their places this year were Vince McMahon, chief of the World Wrestling Entertainment Inc (NYSE:WWE – News) and Global Crossing Ltd.’s (Other OTC:GBLXQ.PK – News) Gary Winick.