NEW YORK -- Mexican media and telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu continues to be the richest person in the world ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, according to the annual list of the world's billionaires released Wednesday by Forbes magazine.
With $74 billion, Slim is also the biggest gainer on the list, with a $20.5 billion increase over last year that expanded his lead over Gates, whose net worth Forbes now estimates at $56 billion, up from $53 billion. Buffett also recorded a $3 billion gain to $50 billion.
The 25th annual ranking also includes a longer list of big-name media, entertainment and tech executives than last year thanks to the return and addition of people to the billionaires club, with many recording increases in their estimated net worth thanks in part to a better performance of stock markets.
2011 was a record-breaking year as 214 new names joined the Forbes list for a record 1,210 billionaires. They have an average net worth of $3.7 billion, up from $3.5 billion in 2010, and a record total net worth of $4.5 trillion. That is up from $3.6 trillion in 2010 and greater than Germany's gross
Behind Slim and Gates, each of whom have media holdings, the next industry moguls on the Forbes list are Thomson Reuters chairman David Thomson in the 17th spot with an estimated net worth of $23 billion and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg at No. 30, down from 23, with $18.1 billion, up slightly from $18 billion last year.
Behind Gates and No. 5 Larry Ellison of Oracle, Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin, tied in the 24th spot, are the highest-ranked tech moguls with $19.8 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joins the list in the 52nd spot with $13.5 billion. In comparison, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is worth $8.3 billion and took the 110th spot on the list, compared with $5.5 billion and 136 last year.
Among other media moguls, Italy's Silvio Berlusconi fell from the 74th spot and $9 billion to rank 118 and $7.8 billion, while News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, who turns 80 on Friday, is now worth $7.6 billion, instead of the $6.3 billion recorded for the 2010 list. While the rise of other billionaires saw him drop from rank 117 to 122, he is now well clear of Google's Eric Schmidt who took the 136th spot after last year tying with Murdoch. In good news for Schmidt, his net worth rose from $6.3 billion to $7 billion, according to Forbes.
Forbes shows another media titan, CBS Corp. and Viacom chairman and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone, in the 288th position with $3.8 billion, up from $2.4 billion and the 400th rank, which he had shared in 2010 with Oprah Winfrey and Liberty Media chairman John Malone. Winfrey is up to $2.7 billion this year, but down 20 spots in the Forbes ranking amid a big group of gainers, while Malone made a big jump to the 235th spot and a net worth of $4.5 billion.
In 2010, Forbes showed Steven Spielberg and George Lucas tied at No. 316 with $3 billion. This year, Lucas took spot 347 with a net worth gain to $3.2 billion, while Spielberg came in at No. 376 with an unchanged net worth.
Other notable industry folks on the Forbes list include Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen (ranked No. 136 with a net worth of $7.0 billion versus 148 and $5.2 billion in 2010), David Geffen (No. 200 with $5.1 billion versus 154 and $5.0 billion), Richard Branson (No. 254 with $4.2 billion), children's TV magnate Haim Saban (No. 323 with $3.4 billion versus No. 287 and $3.3 billion), Mark Cuban (No. 459 and $2.5 billion), Ted Turner (No. 564 with $2.1 billion, compared with last year's No. 556 and $1.8 billion), Televisa boss Emilio Azcarraga Jean (No. 512 and $2.3 billion) and Internet mogul Barry Diller (No. 938 with $1.3 billion versus No. 828 and $1.2 billion). Mark Pincus, CEO of social gaming firm Zynga, also made the cut with an estimated net worth of $1 billion that sees him share the 1,140th and final spot with a slew of others, including Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling whose net worth remained unchanged.
"Media and technology billionaires definitely benefited from a stronger stock market and a growing enthusiasm for all things social," said Forbes senior editor Kerry Dolan. "Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth a couple billion dollars more each this year than last on the back of an 18% increase in Google's stock price. Steve Jobs, who gets more of his net worth from Disney than Apple, saw his fortune jump $2.8 billion. And Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is 238% richer than a year ago thanks to investors like Goldman Sachs driving up the value of the big social network."
Forbes magazine's cover for the billionaires list issue features Yuri Milner, a Russian newcomer who via his Digital Sky Technologies has invested in Facebook and Zynga and also managed to join the elite list with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.
The U.S. continues to be the country with the most billionaires (413), but Moscow's 79 representatives on the list make it the city with the most billionaires.