Richest of the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poor. This has been the year of the rich gaining a lot of wealth in 2019. The top five gainers of 2019 had a jump of almost $112 billion to their fortunes. That is almost more than double jump from 2018 which stood at $48 billion. This gain was mainly due to the massive performance of stocks in US and other parts of the world, were equity markets hit record highs.
The biggest gainer has been France’s Bernard Arnault, chairman of the luxury goods titan LVMH, his net worth which stood at $40 billion last year and is one of the three people with 12-figure fortunes in the world. His gain is nearly $18 billion more than that of any other person on earth in 2019. Standing 2nd is Mark Zuckerberg, the Chief of Facebook. He is $22.1 billion richer even after having lost $18.7 billion in the previous year.
Jeff Bezos has been one of the biggest losers due to his close to $30 billion divorce settlement with his long-time wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos. Amazon’s stock rose by almost 18% counteracting much of the drop, thus losing only $13 billion.
Azim Premji, the Indian tech magnate announced in March that he transferred close 60% of his Wipro stake to his foundation. Let us look at the biggest winners and losers between December 28, 2018 and December 13, 2019.
- Bernard Arnault
Gain: $40 billion
Net Worth: $107.7 billion
Chief executive of French luxury conglomerate LVMH, Bernard Arnault has had a great year with his wealth booming up by $40 billion. The company which includes more than 70 brands like Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, Dior and Fendi saw a stock rise of almost 54% in 2019 and made the largest acquisition ever buying the 182-year-old jeweller Tiffany & Co for $16.2 billion.
- Mark Zuckerberg
Gain: $22.1 billion
Net Worth: $72 billion
Zuckerberg has had a lot of attention attracted on himself in the previous year thanks to controversies related to data privacy, the stocks of the Internet giant surged 48% in the past year. The chief of Facebook continues to attract critics, from presidential candidates and fellow billionaires. The launch of some new initiatives like Facebook News and Facebook Dating, turned the crowd sentiment to some extent and thus helped the stocks to prevent from tanking.
- Amancio Ortega
Gain: $17.3 billion
Net Worth: $74.9 billion
Amancio Ortega has a 60% share in the parent company Inditex of the luxurious clothing company Zara. The stocks of Inditex rose by close to 34% in the previous year. The company recently in November announced to expand its global footing by venturing into online stores in other countries. The company Inditex also has other also includes brands like Massimo, Dutti, Pull & Bear and Bershka.
- Steve Ballmer
Gain: $16.3 billion
Net Worth: $56.3 billion
This former CEO of Microsoft supported the company during its bad days from 2000 to 2014. The company announced a buyback in September of close to $40 billion in stock which boosted the quarterly dividend by 11%.
- Mukesh Ambani
Gain: $16.1 billion
Net Worth: $61.4 billion
Reliance Industries which has a stake in oil, gas, telecom and retail has had a really great previous year and is on track to being debt-free by March 31, 2020. The company agreed to sell its 20% stake in its petrochemical and oil refining company to Saudi Aramco for $15 billion and simultaneously announced a joint-venture with BP to launch 5,500 gas stations under the name Jio-BP. This majestic Indian company is run by Mukesh Ambani and has been a part of the list of top gainers for third time in a row.
- Azim Premji
Loss: $14.1 billion
Net Worth: $7.2 billion
In March the Premji also known as the Czar of the Indian IT industry announced the shifting of $7.5 billion stake in his IT Outsourcing company Wipro Limited to his charitable foundation. This move brought the lifetime charities of Premji to $21 billion. Premji was responsible of shifting his father’s oil business to software and expanding the business to $8.5 billion.
- Jeff Bezos
Loss: $13.1 billion
Net Worth: $109.7 billion
Jeff Bezos divorce settlement is one of the costliest divorces in the world, after 25 years of marriage. The settlement was done by transferring 25% of his stake in Amazon to MacKenzie. After the transfer Bezos’ net worth dropped by $36.8 billion, and was much negated by the rising stock prices of Amazon.
- Subhash Chandra
Loss: $3.4 billion
Net Worth: $660 million
Subhash Chandra the chairman of the media conglomerate Essel Group, had a bad 2019. The Essel Group was linked to a company being probed by India’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office for suspicious transactions. The shares of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, one of Essel’s media companies had a stock plummet of almost 41%, another company DishTV plummeted by 65%. The group had to sell 11% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises to Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund in July for over $600 million.
- Travis Kalanick
Loss: $3.1 billion
Net Worth: $2.8 billion
Uber had a stock market flop at the most anticipated IPO in 2019. The shares of the company have fallen by more than 30% ever since its public debut in May. This led to a fall in the net worth Travis Kalanick, who owned 8.6% of company at the IPO. He sold close to 90% of his shares in Uber since November, and has to pay state and federal capital gains taxes for each time he sells the shares which results in more blow to his wealth.
- Yan Zhi
Loss: $3 billion
Net Worth: $2.1 billion
Yan Zhi’s Zall Smart Commerce Group put up a decrease of 74% in profits for the fiscal year June 2019. Yan put out a letter to his investors stating that the group is facing the situation due to international economic conditions and increasing pressure on the domestic economy.
Amith K Shinde
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