Gates has reclaimed the title of world’s richest person, for the first
time since 2007. His fortune was valued at $US72.7 billion ($74 billion)
overnight, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Gates, 57, was more than $US550 million ahead of Mexican Carlos Slim,
who has a $US72.1 billion net worth. The co-founder of Microsoft has
seen his fortune climb about $US10 billion this year.
The software maker’s shares hit a five-year high of $US34.08 overnight, and have advanced 28 per cent year-to-date.
company said overnight that US retailers had sold 130,000 Xbox 360 game
consoles in April, helping it retain the top-selling spot for the 28th
Mr Gates’ fortune has also benefited from a rally
in stock holdings that include the Canadian National Railway Co and
waste-collection company Republic Services.
Most of Mr Gates’
fortune is held through Cascade Investment, a holding entity through
which he owns stakes in more than a dozen publicly traded companies and
several closely held operations, including Four Seasons hotels and
Less than a quarter of Mr
Gates’ fortune is held in Microsoft. He’s donated $US28 billion to the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mr Slim’s fortune has
dropped more than $US2 billion this year as Mexico’s Congress passed a
bill to quash the market dominance of the 73-year-old billionaire’s
America Movil SAB.
“When they’re talking about reform in a country
that’s generally poor, and the guy shows up No. 1 on the list - not a
good thing,” said Greg Lesko, managing director at Deltec Asset
Management. “He’s had a pretty good monopoly situation in Mexico, and
the Mexican cellphone user has been paying more than he should. We
applaud it for the country.”
Earlier this month, a group of
kazoo-playing protesters confronted Mr Slim when he appeared at an event
at the New York Public Library, denouncing him for overcharging
consumers to enrich himself. He denies the accusation.