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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bill Gates tops Forbes 400 rich list for 17th straight year

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has retained his position as the richest man in the US with a net worth of $54 billion, topping Forbes '400 Richest Americans List' for the 17th year in a row.

Industrialist Warren Buffett, Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, has bagged the second place this year with fortunes worth $45 billion. While worth $27 billion dollars, software company Oracle's co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison is the third richest American.

Among others in the list, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg ranks 35th with a net worth of $6.9 billion.

Zuckerberg is richer than Apple's boss Steve Jobs and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Jobs comes 42nd on the list with a net worth of $6.1 billion while Winfrey is on the 130th position with total valuation of $2.7 billion.

The list also names four Indian Americans - Syntel's Bharat Desai (rank 252), venture capitalist Kavitark Ram Shriram (288), software mogul Romesh Wadhwani (290) and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla (308) - among the 400 richest people in the US.
Commenting on Gates, who has topped Forbes 400 list for the 17th consecutive year, the publication said Gates "is not (just) the world's richest man... he is the most generous person on the planet." Till date, the "software king" has cut cheques totalling $28 billion.

Most of his donations have passed through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which now has a $33 billion endowment, including contributions from his "buddy and bridge partner Warren Buffett". Gates' stake in the company, he co-founded, is now worth $16 billion.

"Gates regularly sells shares in the software giant, pouring proceeds into investment outfit Cascade, which accounts for 70% of his wealth." Other investments include trash-collector Republic Services, investment firm Gamco, AutoNation and an inflation-hedging fund, Forbes said.

Gates and Buffett are coaxing America's richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity.

"You keep making the list, I'll keep milking it," Forbes quoted Buffett as saying.

Buffett plans to give away 99% of his wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and his children, and it all has to be spent 10 years after he's gone, Forbes added.

Forbes said the net worth of its rich list climbed 8% this year to $1.4 trillion compared to $1.27 trillion last year. Wealth rose for 217 members in the list, while 85 saw a decline.


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