Who are the top five richest people?

Who are the top five richest people?

The Forbes real-time rich list has moved back and forth in recent weeks, and the chief executive of LVMH now sits in the number one spot. He first overtook Mr Musk in December.

A recent report stated that 2022 was a bad year for the super rich, with the world’s most wealthy losing a combined $10tn (£8.3tn) – however, some of their fortunes could pick up once more.

Estate agency Knight Frank found 218,000 people, classed as “ultra-high net worth individuals”, saw their combined fortune drop by 10 per cent, from $101.5 trillion (£84tn) in 2021 to $91.4tn (£76 tn) in 2022.

However, despite the losses in 2022, Mr Musk could still reclaim the crown.

The chief executive of Tesla often increases his wealth rapidly due to in large part to spikes in shares for the electric car brand.

So, who are the richest people in the world, what is their net worth, and how did they make their fortune?

Here’s the world’s rich list, according to Forbes magazine’s real-time tracker. The amounts were correct as of March 1, 2023.


1. Bernard Arnault and family – $225 billion (£180 billion)

Bernard Arnault comes from a wealthy family

/ Joel Saget / AFP via Getty Images

The Bernard Arnault family has a current estimated wealth of $189 billion (£156 billion).

The 73-year-old French billionaire oversees 70 of the world’s most famous fashion and beauty brands, including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, and Sephora.

Like many billionaires, Arnault came from a wealthy family, which in his case owned a successful construction business. He broke into the fashion industry in 1985, after using $15 million (£12.5 m) from his father’s business to buy Christian Dior.

Currently based in Paris, Arnault is married to concert pianist Helene Mercier. The couple has five children, with four of them – Frédéric, Delphine, Antoine, and Alexandre – working in LVMH, of which Arnault is chairman and chief executive.

2. Elon Musk – $180 billion (£144 billion)

Elon Musk reportedly owns 14% of Tesla

/ Brian Lawless / PA

Elon Musk has an estimated wealth of $186 billion (£152 billion). Born in South Africa, he grew up in Pretoria before moving to America to study at the University of Pennsylvania.

His first software startup, Zip2, was bought in 1999 for $307 million (£255m) and he went on to co-found Paypal, which he sold to eBay in 2002 for $2.5 billion (£2.1bn). He founded SpaceX in 2002 and runs electric-vehicle maker Tesla and is its largest shareholder, with a reported stake of about 14 per cent.

He completed a $44 billion (£36 billion) takeover of social network Twitter in October.

Musk, 51, has been married twice and allegedly has eight children. His last public relationship was with singer Grimes, with whom he has two children, a son named X Æ A-12 and a daughter called Exa Dark Sideræl.

3. Jeff Bezos – $116.6 billion (£96 billion)

Jeff Bezos stepped down as chief executive of Amazon last year and became its executive chairman

/ Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images

In 1994, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in a garage in Seattle shortly after he resigned from the hedge fund D E Shaw. He had originally pitched the idea of an online bookstore to his former boss, David E Shaw, who wasn’t interested.

Amazon.com started out selling books and then expanded into a one-stop shop for everything under the sun. It is now arguably the world’s largest retailer. Amazon’s pattern of constant diversification is evident in some of its unexpected expansions, which include acquiring Whole Foods and entering the pharmacy business in 2017.

Bezos, 59, owned as much as 16 per cent of Amazon in 2019 before transferring four per cent to his former wife, MacKenzie Scott, as part of divorce proceedings. In 2020, Amazon’s share price jumped 76 per cent due to the heightened demand for online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic. On July 5, 2021, Bezos stepped down as CEO of the e-commerce giant, becoming its executive chair.

4. Larry Ellison – $111.5 billion (£95 billion)

Larry Ellison owns computer technology company Oracle

/ Kimberly White / Getty Images

Larry Ellison, 78, earns the vast majority of his wealth from owning Oracle, a computer technology company whose sales increased by 18 per cent to $12.3 billion (£10bn) by November 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. But he has made an additional fortune from a bet on Elon Musk three years ago.

Ellison disclosed in late 2018 that he’d purchased a $1 billion stake in Tesla. Even after a recent pullback, Tesla is up 44 per cent this year.

5. Warren Buffett – $96.6 billion (£80 billion)

Warren Buffett first bought shares when he was 11

/ Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images

Warren Buffett, 92, is the fifth-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $96.6 billion (£80billion), according to Forbes magazine.

Buffett was the son of a US congressman and bought and sold his first stock at age 11. He later earned himself the nickname the Oracle of Omaha. He runs Berkshire Hathaway, which owns companies including Dairy Queen.

In 2006, he pledged to give away 99 per cent of his fortune and so far has given away $48 billion (£40bn). Buffett still lives in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska, that he bought in 1958 for $31,500 (£26,000), before he made his fortune.

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