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The latest news on Billionaires from Business Insider

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    Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

    Today Forbes came out with its latest billionaires list.

    After the publication of the 2013 edition, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has informed the publication that he would no longer like to be included (thank-you-very-much).

    According to a press release from the Prince's investment firm, Kingdom Holding Company, he sent a letter to Steve Forbes severing his relationship with the list. That means Forbes will no longer receive information from Kingdom about its finances.

    Kingdom claims that it has discovered "what appear to be intentional biases and inconsistencies in the Forbes valuation process..."

    From the press release:

    Shadi Sanbar, CFO of Kingdom Holding explained, “We have worked very openly with the Forbes team over the years and have on multiple occasions pointed out problems with their methodology that need correction. However, after several years of our efforts to correct mistakes falling on deaf ears, we have decided that Forbes has no intention of improving the accuracy of their valuation of our holdings and we have made the decision to move on. KHC puts a premium on tracking the true value of our investments and it is contrary to both our practice and nature to assist in the publication of financial information we know to be false and inaccurate.”

    This year Kingdom says it found four glaring errors/inconsistencies in Forbes' reporting (from the press release):

    • A sudden refusal after six years to accept share values as listed by the Tadawul – Saudi Arabia’s fully regulated, 21st century, high-tech stock exchange that services the largest economy in the Middle East and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges.
    • A completely unsupported and biased allegation based on rumors that stock manipulation “is the national sport” in Saudi Arabia because “there are no casinos.”
    • The application of differing standards of proof for different individuals and organizations resulting in an arbitrary and confusing set of standards that seems demonstrably biased against the Middle East. For example, the valuations of other emerging markets such as the Mexican stock exchange are accepted while those of the Tadawul are not.
    • Unexplained and purely arbitrary discounts applied to holdings not backed up by brokerage statements when pre-IPO investments such as those in Twitter and China’s 360Buy would not appear on any brokerage statement, and after impressing on Forbes that KHC’s investments are covered by confidentiality agreements.

    The real killer here is at the end of the release where Kingdom says that it will continue to work with Forbes' rival list, the Bloomberg Billionaires List, since they " use a more accurate method of calculating financial holdings."

    Brutal.

    Forbes responded to these allegations in an e-mail to Business Insider saying, "Prince Alwaleed has issued a press release in response to fact-checking questions from Forbes. For our 27th annual Billionaires ranking, released today, Forbes has listed Alwaleed at $20 billion, which is $2 billion more than what he was listed at last year but $9.6 billion less than he claims he is worth. Forbes has been investigating the prince’s finances for several years, and will detail its findings in a feature story in the magazine, which will be released online tomorrow morning."

    Check out some screenshots of Kingdom's press release below:

    Prince Alwaleed Press release page 1

    Prince Alaweed press release

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    Prince Alwaleed Press release page 1

    Yesterday, Kingdom Holding Company, the investing firm of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, sent out a stern press release.

    In conjunction with the release of Forbes' 2013 Billionaires list, the Prince announced that he was severing ties with the publication's ranking.

    Kingdom alleged that Forbes' methodology was biased against Mideast investors and gave the Prince's disclosures unwarranted scrutiny.

    This morning Forbes fired back in a brutal takedown hovering around 3,000 words. It's called, "Prince Alwaleed And The Curious Case Of Kingdom Holding Stock."

    Writer Kerry Dolan paints a picture of a man obsessed with presenting the image of a consummate, global business mogul from the glossy Photoshopped magazine covers he sends in his press kits to constant watching of CNBC.

    The Kingdom Holding website, Dolan points out, presents the Prince as "the world's foremost value investor."

    And of course, foremost has to mean incredibly wealthy. That, says Dolan, is where Forbes' list has come in year after year (but no more).

    Prince AlwaleedFrom Forbes:

    The prince first came on Forbes' wealth-hunting radar in 1988, a year after our first Billionaires issue came out. The source: the prince himself, who contacted a FORBES reporter to let him know just how successful his Kingdom Establishment for Trading & Contracting company was–and to make clear that he belonged on the new list.

    That outreach proved to be the first in what is now a quarter-century of intermittent lobbying, cajoling and threatening when it comes to his net worth listing. Of the 1,426 billionaires on our list, not one–not even the vainglorious Donald Trump–goes to greater measure to try to affect his or her ranking. In 2006 when FORBES estimated that the prince was actually worth $7 billion less than he said he was, he called me at home the day after the list was released, sounding nearly in tears. “What do you want?” he pleaded, offering up his private banker in Switzerland. “Tell me what you need.”

    The anecdotes go on. The Prince lives the life of a hard-working executive, sleeping little and expecting his staff to be on call at his 420-room palace, or his jet, or his 120-acre "farm and resort" at all times. Dolan says he's trying to live up to the legacy of his family, the founders of Saudi Arabia and leaders of Lebanon.

    And it's not that he hasn't had his successes in business. Alwaleed got his start making a massive bet on Citi:

    From Forbes:

    As regulators pressured Citicorp to increase its capital base in the face of bad loans across developing countries, Alwaleed, then unknown outside Saudi Arabia, amassed an $800 million position. That enormous bet ballooned across two Wall Street boom cycles–by 2005 it was worth $10 billion, making Alwaleed, at the time, one of the ten richest people in the world, and earning him a nickname, which he encouraged, of “the Buffett of Arabia.”

    The problem, Dolan writes (pulling absolutely no punches) is that Kingdom Holdings' underlying assets do not add up to its own reported value. The Prince, she claims, is using his own personal fortune to boost the company in order to maintain his image.

    From Forbes:

    ...Kingdom Holding shares began what seemed a miraculous rebound in early 2010, rising 57% in the ten weeks prior to the February date that FORBES used to lock in values for that year’s Billionaires list, as Citigroup shares fell about 20%. The prince’s ranking on the FORBES billionaires list surged in lockstep to 19th ($19.4 billion).

    In 2011 the pattern repeated. In the ten weeks before FORBES locked down its list, Kingdom Holding shares rose 31% while the Saudi index was up 3% and the S&P 500 was up 9% over that same period. (Prince Alwaleed finished at No. 26 in the world that year, with an estimated net worth of $19.6 billion.) It happened yet again in 2012, when Kingdom shares climbed 56% while the Saudi market was up just 11%, and the S&P 500 was up 9%. (This time Alwaleed was No. 29, with an $18 billion valuation, after FORBES discounted his claims on many of his non-Kingdom Holding assets.)

    In this year's calculations, Forbes said it could not justify Kingdom's estimation of Alwaleed's wealth and that the gap between their estimates and his is about $9.6 billion.

    For the full story head to Forbes>

    Now Watch: How Herbalife Became A Battleground Stock For Two Wall Street Heavyweights

     

    SEE ALSO: What 'Short Selling' Really Means

    SEE ALSO: SEAFOOD FRAUD: A Third Of The Fish You Buy Isn't What They Say It Is

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    ernesto bertarelli switzerlandThere are more billionaires than ever this year, with a record total net-worth of $5.4 trillion, according to Forbes' new billionaires list.

    But even if you cannot be the richest person in the world, it is still pretty cool to be the richest person in your country.

    Many billionaires have held the title of richest in their country for a number of years, but as always, there are a number of new titleholders this year.

    The richest Greek: Spiro Latsis

    Net worth: $3.3 billion

    Forbes rank: 412

    Background: Latsis made his fortune in the shipping industry, but he has taken a real hit as Greece's economy has collapsed.



    The richest Argentines: Carlos and Alejandro Bulgheroni

    Net worth: $5.5 billion

    Forbes rank: 219

    Background: Their father founded Bridas, an energy company, in 1948. The brothers now hold large stakes in Pan American Energy, which was formed as a result of a merger between Bridas and Amoco. Pan American Energy is Argentina's second largest energy company.



    The richest Egyptian: Nassef Sawiris

    Net worth: $6.5 billion

    Forbes rank:182

    Background: Nassef Sawiris' father, Onsi, founded Orascom Construction Industries, which is Egypt's most valuable publicly traded company.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    isabel dos santos

    Yesterday, Forbes released its annual Billionaires List.

    The list is really a tracker of who runs the global economy. Investors take a stake in the economy and watch their ideas turn into money.

    So consider this list we've put together of the 92 richest investors in the world, a survey of who really gets it.

    92. Charles Brandes

    Net Worth: $1 billion

    What he does/Holdings: Founder and chairman, Brandes Investment Partners, L.P.

    Age: 70

    Source of Wealth: Money management, self-made

    Country of Citizenship: United States

    Source: Forbes



    91. Christopher Chandler

    Net Worth: $1 billion

    What he does/Holdings: Founded Dubai-based Legatum Capital

    Age: 53

    Source of Wealth: Investments

    Country of Citizenship: New Zealand

    Source: Forbes



    90. Alberto Cortina

    Net Worth: $1 billion

    What he does/Holdings: Alcor Holding, construction firm Actividades de Construccion y Servicios, and a few African mines

    Age: 67

    Source of Wealth: Investments, self-made

    Country of Citizenship: Spain

    Source: Forbes



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Roman Abramovich

    Forbes has released its 2013 list of the world's richest people, and not surprisingly, some of them have law degrees. 

    The weird mix of people includes a German beer magnate, a Russian business tycoon, a former prime minister of Italy, and others who earned law degrees before they made their billions. 

    10. Media giant Sumner Redstone is worth $4.7 billion.

    Long before he seized control of Viacom in 1987, Redstone worked for the Department of Justice Tax Division and then briefly in private practice. 

    He earned his bachelor's degree and his J.D. from Harvard, and unlike most billionaires on this list, remained involved in the legal world for several years. After law school, he clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco and taught law at the University of San Francisco and later at Boston University.

    He then became a special assistant to the U.S. attorney general, helping litigate more than 50 cases, according to the New York Times. Last September, he donated $18 million to BU Law, helping fund the construction of a new building on their campus.  

    The executive chairman of CBS and Viacom also served in World War II, cracking coded messages sent by the Japanese high command. When he joined the Army, he was still an undergraduate at Harvard, where he finished his bachelor's in three years.

    He lands at number 267 on Forbes' list of billionaires.



    9. Hotel owner Robert Rowling has a net worth of $4.9 billion.

    Rowling is the CEO of TRT Holdings, which owns the Gold's Gym and Omni hotel chains.

    He made most of his fortune from selling his father's company, Tana Oil and Gas, to Texaco for $476.5 million in 1989, according to the Center for Public Integrity. He has a bachelor's from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law

    Last year, he made headlines for donating $4 million to Karl Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads, and $100,000 to Mitt Romney's "Restore Our Future" super PAC. Gold's Gym franchise owners in the San Francisco area were incensed when they heard about Rowling's donation to the group, which supported anti-gay candidates, and decided to cut their ties with the Gold's Gym chain, CBS reported at the time.

    Forbes put him at 258th place on their list of the world's billionaires. 



    8. Real estate mogul Richard LeFrak is worth $5.4 billion

    The LeFrak family has been buying up real estate in the New York area for over a century. 

    Their company owns LeFrak City, a 5,000-apartment complex in Forest Hills, Queens, and more than 14 million square feet of real estate in Newport, N.J. 

    LeFrak, who has been CEO of his family's company since 2003, got his bachelor's from Amherst and his J.D. from Columbia University's law school. 

    He's ranked 225th on Forbes' list of the richest people in the world. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Worm Strategy, Larry Page

    Elon Musk is arguably the most innovative man in technology, or even the world. He's the founder of electric car company Tesla Motors, he's chairman of Solar City, and he created NASA rival SpaceX.

    Who inspires the man who inspires everyone else?

    Today at a big tech conference, South by Southwest, Elon Musk told thousands of listeners that he has great admiration for Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos.

    "I've been inspired by a lot of historical figures," Musk said. "One of my favorite guys is Ben Franklin. He just thought about what are the problems that need to get solved and worked on those. He seemed like a good guy all around. I like historical figures in science and literature."

    Next, Musk was asked for the best advice he's ever received.

    Musk says it didn't come from a person. It came from studying physics.

    "The physics training is very good training," he said. "It's a good framework for reasoning. You break things down to the most fundamental truths, and break them down to try and figure out what reality is. You have got have a framework for getting there. Quantum Mechanics is incredibly counter-intuitive, but it's true. It's a lot of advice, and it's the right framework."

    Overall, Musk is a fan of critical thinking.

    "Just in general, critical thinking is good," he said. "Does the logic connect? What are the range of probably outcomes? You want to figure out what those probabilities are and ideally be the House. It's fine to gamble, as long as you're the House. Also, listen to critical feedback, particularly from friends. Generally they will be thinking it but they won't tell you."

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    tory burchWhen it comes to getting rich, the best textbook may be Forbes' list of the world's billionaires.

    After all, who better to show the right steps to financial freedom than the men (and, increasingly, women) who have already gotten there? And, with a new list fresh off the presses, what better time could there be to reap their wisdom?

    Looking at the list, one of the first lessons is that the shortest path to wealth goes through the delivery room. Whether you're talking about the Waltons or the Kochs, the Bulgari brothers or the Mars mob, it's clear that things go a lot easier if you can start off with a few million from mom and dad. Heck, even for famed self-made mogul Bill Gates and newcomer fashion maven Tory Burch, it didn't hurt to come from a rich family.

    Those looking for guidance from the Forbes list will quickly realize, however, that it generally shows where the most profitable places in the world were, not where they will be. With the benefit of a few decades of hindsight, it seems obvious that telecom, personal computers and low-cost retailing were smart places to put your money. But when Carlos Slim, Michael Dell and Sam Walton were starting out, their business plans may have seemed insane.

    But that doesn't mean that you can't pick up some valuable lessons from the list. If you're looking for places to invest your savings, a good place to start is with the newest members of the billionaires club. After all, these are the people who have most recently latched onto a new economic opportunity, a new business model, or a new market segment. In other words, they're the ones who have the best ideas at where the market may be heading.

    Unless, of course, they're the Bulgari brothers, in which case, they're just damned lucky.

    At any rate, here are some lessons you can glean from the latest list:

    Fashion

    There has always been a lot of money in fashion, but in the last year, improved distribution, smart marketing, and increased consolidation have mixed to put some of the biggest names in fashion onto the billionaires list. For example, Renzo Rosso, the creator of Diesel jeans, made the list this year after snapping up a passel of other brands, including Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf. Other European brand names that managed to make the list include Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and French Cosmetics scion Bris Rocher.

    A little closer to home, American designer Tory Burch also joined the list, making her America's second-youngest self-made female billionaire. Spanx inventor Sara Blakely beat her by five years.

    Mid-Level Retailers

    It's no secret that bargain retail companies like Walmart, Target and Dollar General have often been good recessionary bets. But the billionaires list suggests that more mid-level retailers, the kind of places with a definite identity, which people tend to visit for a bit more of a splurge, are starting to look like solid bets. The world's biggest gainer on the billionaires list is Spanish mogul Amancio Ortega, the majority owner of Inditex, one of the world's largest clothing brands. And, as Zara, Inditex's main brand, pushes further into the American market, it seems likely that Ortega's position will get even stronger.

    And Zara is only one of many mid-level retailers that are doing quite well. Anders Povlsen, the owner of Danish retailer Bestseller, also found his way onto the Forbes list this year, as did Edward Stack, CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods.

    Look Farther From Home

    As some of the earlier entries suggested, many of the biggest areas for consumer growth are outside the U.S. And, for that matter, so are many of the newest billionaires. For example, Fernando Belmont, who made the list this year, did so at the helm of Yanbal International, a cosmetics company that sells its wares door-to-door in Latin America.

    And Belmont is hardly the only non-American commercial mogul to get on the list this year. India's M.A. Yusuff Ali, for example, joined the list as CEO of the LuLu Group, one of the fastest-growing retail chains in the world. (And not to be confused with the entirely unrelated Lululemon Athletica, though that company's founder, Chip Wilson, is on the list too.) Similarly, China's Zhau Xiaoguang, leader of the NeoGlory jewelry group, made her way onto the list by selling costume jewelry in a thousand stores throughout China.

    Pharmaceuticals

    For anyone who has paid attention to demographics over the past few years, the ever-increasing profitability of pharmaceuticals should come as no surprise. In Israel, newly-minted billionaire Mori Arkin rode the trend, selling his family's pharmaceutical company for stock in an even larger drug company, which he then diversified, investing in several other medical firms. South African billionaire Stephen Saad followed a similar route: His company, Aspen Pharmacare, is the largest drug concern on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

    Creating Creators

    As the Facebook saga has unfolded over the past few years, one thing has become clear: The era of democratized web content creation is here to stay. And, riding this trend, entrepreneurs who are willing and able to bring users closer to information and provide them with the tools to create will increasingly fill the ranks of the world's richest people. Arkady Volozh, the founder of Russia's largest search engine, recently made his way onto the Forbes list. Meanwhile, China's Lei Jun worked his way to $1.75 billion as CEO of Xiaomi, one of China's fastest-growing smartphone companies.

    Not surprisingly, this trend continued in the U.S. as well. One of the country's newest billionaires, Nicholas Woodman, joined the list when his company, GoPro, was valued at $2.25 billion. The firm makes high-impact digital video cameras that enable extreme sports enthusiasts to record and share their exploits.

    SEE ALSO: 22 products that really do last a lifetime >

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     Zhang Xin at World Economic Forum

    Chinese property tycoon Zhang Xin is making a play for the historic General Motors building in New York, just as she's coming under scrutiny at home and makes at least one brazen call for China to embrace democracy.

    Zhang and her family are reportedly in discussions to buy a 40% stake in the marble-faced 705-foot (215 meters) trophy building, home to FAO Schwartz and a flagship Apple Store. The tycoon, CEO of the largest commercial property developer in Beijing and Shanghai, joins a long line of Chinese investors queuing up for US real estate--a trend reminiscent of the Japanese investors in the late 1980s and 1990s who bought iconic American commercial properties like Rockefeller Center and the Pebble Beach golf resort.

    The price under discussion, according to the Wall Street Journal, would value the GM building at $3.4 billion--by far the most expensive in the United States. Who is Zhang, and why is her family making such a major play for the GM building?

    Zhang posts daily, mostly from her iPad on China's Twitter-like microblogging platform Sina Weibo, where she has over 5 million followers. Her posts range from photos of Beijing's pollution to musings on global news events, including the Newtown shooting ("Honestly, can't the politicians set aside politics and ban guns? There are always mental patients in the crowd and we can't give guns to them."), Mitt Romney (After he promised to bring jobs back to the US from China: "Don't talk nonsense. Would Americans really do the work Chinese people do?"), and Oscar Pistorius ("Terrible. A Valentines Day tragedy.")

    She's a prolific blogger

    Zhang is part of a class of Chinese business people who moved back home after working in the West and are known as hai gui, "sea turtles," a pun on a similar-sounding phrase for "returning from the sea." After moving to Hong Kong as a teenager, where she worked in a garment factory, Zhang studied at the University of Sussex and Cambridge University and then found work with Goldman Sachs. When she returned to China and married her husband, Pan Shiyi (He reportedly proposed to her within four days of their meeting; she took three days before saying yes) she was known among their coworkers as "Pan's foreign wife.

    Zhang has become increasingly outspoken in politics. As recently as 2011, she claimed to be apolitical, but she regularly posts about Chinese reforms and the need to clean up pollution. Last year she said the reason why China has no one like Steve Jobs is because thepolitical system squashes creativity. In an interview last week with 60 Minutes, she said: "If you ask one thing, everyone craves for is what? It's not food. It's not homes. Everyone craves for democracy. I know there's a lot of negativities in the U.S. about the political system, but don't forget, you know, 8,000 miles away, people in China are looking at it, longing for it." Asked if she believed democracy would come to China in 20 years, Zhang said, "sooner."A democracy activist in the making?In 1995, the two set up a real estate company; within 10 years SOHO China became the country's largest property developer. They became some of China's wealthiest and most flamboyant property couples, entertaining the likes of Rupert Murdoch and his wife during the Olympics in Beijing in 2008. Pan is the company's chairman and Zhang is the chief executive.

    SOHO China's 2012 profits more than doubled, to 3.34 billion yuan ($537 million) from 1.42 billion yuan. The company is transitioning from a "build-and-sell" to "buy-and-hold" strategy, with rental income set to become its main source of profits within three years. Its also known for its dramatically modern retail and office properties, designed by the likes of Kengo Kuma and Zaha Hadid. Her business is booming

    The Sheryl Sandberg of China?

    In a country and region with few women in executive roles, Zhang is something of an anomaly, but she doesn't think it needs to stay that way.

    Ahead of International Women's Day, she posted on Weibo: "Looking at the status of women in China, we still see a bias towards boys in the countryside, most abandoned children are girls; We have few women ministers. But women dominate in school and the Olympics, and there are more and more self-made women entrepreneurs." She told the Financial Times (paywall) in a recent interview: "China has, as a business community, more women like me than elsewhere ... There are more Chinese women in senior positions in business than outside China. When I go to the World Economic Forum in Davos, like this year, there were hardly any women."

    Still, a less feminist side of Zhang occasionally comes out. Posting an article on Weibo on whether South Korean media were too critical of the country's new female president's looks, she said, "A female president should be pretty." After posting a photo of her husband taking a question at a talk about marriage, she wrote "happy wife, happy life!" a reference to the old maxim that men should keep their wives happy to keep them off their backs.

    Zhang and her husband own an apartment near Central Park in Manhattan. In Beijing, they live in a 32nd floor penthouse in the Jianwai Soho tower in central Beijing.

    Why buy the GM building now?

    A year ago, Zhang's husband Pan Shiyi downplayed the appeal of New York real estate, noting that its rental yields trailed those of the best Chinese real estate. So what changed? Perhaps a recent string of negative press reports that tied SOHO China to money laundering, claiming that the company helped a local banker, the "older house sister," illegally acquire 41 houses, many of them in SOHO China's complexes. In China, such attention can be a sign that someone in the political elite has an axe to grind, allowing media to go after an individual or company.

    A more vanilla reason may be the couple's desire to find another way park their money outside of China. Wealthy Chinese have already become some of the top buyers for wildly expensive trophy apartments in US cities, allowing their children can attend schools in the area or as a way to invest outside of China's overheated property market. Diversifying the family business outside of China is a hedge against falling into disfavor with its government; a large proportion of China's wealthiest citizens are making similar moves.

    Zhang adopted the religion of Baha'i in 2005, which is not one of China's officially sanctioned religions. She says her faith "transformed" her, so she's no longer driven to pursue profit at any cost. Her husband is a Taoist. She regularly posts Baha'i scriptures on her blog,even using it as a defense against accusations that the company was involved in the older house sister scandal. She wrote, "In my faith there's a belief that honesty is human kind 's moral foundation, which I hold to every day." She added, "My husband and I live in the ups and downs of public opinion...which is sad, but we believe that our society is progressing day by day.

    SEE ALSO: China Wants To Slow Down Its Economy Alleviate Economic Inequality

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    lego spaceman

    Danish-based Lego just became the most valuable toymaker in the world, according to Bloomberg.

    The company is now worth $14.6 billion on an earnings before interest, taxes, deductions and amortization (EBITDA) basis.

    The previous top toy producer, California-based Mattel, is valued at $14.4 billion.

    Revenue surged 25 percent last year, turning the three children of Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, Denmark’s richest man -- Sofie, Thomas and Agnete, who hold a combined 37 percent economic interest in the company valued at more than $5.3 billion — into billionaires.

    “Lego is on fire,” Gerrick Johnson, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets in New York, told Bloomberg. “It’s the world’s biggest toymaker in terms of net income, operating income and Ebitda. It had a 71 percent gross margin in its latest results and is posting strong sales growth.”

    Click here to read how Lego turned their fortunes around >

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    Walter Salles

    One of the greatest scientific discoveries in the our modern history may not have been possible without Brazil's richest family, the Salles, Bloomberg reports.

    Physicists believe they're very close to finding Higgs boson, the so-called "God particle". It's a subatomic particle that would help explain what gives matter all over the universe its size and shape.

    The Salles family produce niobium, an element that makes steel more flexible and strong. Niobium is used in a 10th of all the world's steel — in everything from cars to cameras.

    The Salles control 85% of the material, and it was also used to make the magnets in the world's largest particle accelerator, the $10 billion Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

    Without the high-energy proton collisions the machine creates, scientists would not have been able to come so close to Higgs boson.

    The Salles first got into niobium in 1965, when a U.S. Navy Admiral convinced Brazilian banker and diplomat Walther Moreira Salles to back his venture to produce niobium. Moreira Salles bought a majority stake in the company.

    From Bloomberg:

    That market dominance has helped make the mogul’s heirs Brazil’s richest family. His four sons, Fernando, Pedro, Joao and Walter, control a combined fortune of $27 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The brothers do not currently appear on any international wealth ranking.

    “We created the whole market,” Tadeu Carneiro, chief executive officer of Cia. Brasileira de Metalurgia & Mineracao, the family’s niobium company, said in an interview at his office in Sao Paulo. On his desk lies a chunk of the heavy, lustrous alloy that CBMM sells. “Now you see how fantastic this company is -- its value, these dividends -- but we started from zero, when niobium was just a laboratory dream.”

    The company is now worth $13 billion, more than the Salles' $7.1 billion interest in Brazilian bank, Itau.

    For the whole run down of the Salles' wealth, head to Bloomberg>

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    Dirk Ziff home

    Curbed's Rob Bear reports that billionaire publishing heir/financier Dirk Ziff has recently listed his Katonah, New York mansion for $8.9 million. 

    Ziff, who has an estimated net-worth of $4.4 billion, is the eldest son of the late publishing magnate William Ziff, Jr.

    He and his brothers inherited their father's fortune after he sold 95% of his publishing business to private equity firm Forstmann Little for $1.4 billion. With that money started Ziff Brothers Investments, which invests in a variety of asset classes, private equity and hedge funds, according to Forbes.  

    The Ziffs also provided seed money to hedge funder Daniel Och. In exchange, they got a 10 percent stake in Och-Ziff, which is now a publicly traded hedge fund.

    Dirk and his wife, former Forbes reporter Natasha Bacigalupo, bought the manor in 2002 for $6.25 million, records show.

    The stone manor was built in 1900.



    It's located on 360 Pea Pond Road in Katonah, New York.



    The home is 7,200 square feet.



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    Gina Rinehart, chairman of Hancock Prospecting

    Australian mining tycoon Gina Rinehart is the richest person in Australia and 36th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $17 billion, according to Forbes.

    She's also notoriously press shy (although she's recently become more outspoken about her radical views on tax policy, climate change, and the minimum wage), and obsessed with controlling her perception in the public eye.

    The New Yorker's William Finnegan has just come out with a huge profile on Rinehart, delving into her dirty family feuds, her latest mining venture, and her relationship with the media. In short, he makes her sound like a ruthless businesswoman who will go to bizarre lengths to ensure things go her way.

    The entire profile is definitely worth a read, and you can find it here.

    There's one anecdote in particular that reveals just how far Rinehart will go to preserve her reputation.

    As the story goes, in 2011 Rinehart attended a garden party to welcome Queen Elizabeth to Perth, and wore a large, wide-brimmed hat.

    Prince Philip asked her why she was on the guest list, and instead of revealing who she was, she humbly responded only that she was a loyal subject, Finnegan writes.

    The prince, perhaps at a loss for words, apparently made a comment about her the size or shape of her hat. The two supposedly had a laugh.

    Sometime later, a reporter for a magazine owned by the same parent company as the Sydney Morning Herald requested an interview with Rinehart. In addition to a boilerplate rejection, she received the following note, which the reporter believed was written by Rinehart herself, according to Finnegan:

    Regarding the recent discussion with HRH at Government House in West Australia, other media who were present reported it was a very happy and relaxed discussion between HRH and Mrs Rinehart. . . . Your publication however chose to make the extraordinary and unbelievable claim that HRH told Mrs Rinehart that her non-pointy hat was pointy and may poke someone’s eye out! Obviously HRH would have seen many hats over the years and would not choose to stop to speak to someone for the purpose of criticising their hat, including a hat worn in honour of his wife, the Queen. This is an insult by the SMH [the Herald] to not only Mrs Rinehart, but importantly HRH.

    That's one heck of a rejection letter.

    You can read the full profile over at the New Yorker >

    SEE ALSO: 12 Reasons Why So Many People Hate Australian Billionaire Gina Rinehart

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    Coco Rocha Polo Classic

    Over the weekend the European Union agreed to a 10 Billion euro bailout of member country Cyprus’ banking sector, but imposed as a condition of the bailout a 9.9% tax on all bank deposits above 100K Euros.[1]

    On its face and in the abstract, this proposal is a horrible way to bail out a bank and an ailing economy, as it violates rule #1 of financial bailouts, namely “avoid bank runs.”

    Not only does the proposal guarantee every Cypriot bank will suffer a run by all its depositors as soon as they open on Thursday, but every bank in Southern/peripheral/wobbly Europe – Spain, Portugal, Greece – has to wonder whether their depositors will do the same in anticipation of future similar bailout terms imposed by the European Union, and Germany in particular.

    The fastest way to achieve a run on banks in weak countries is to suddenly punish depositors for leaving their money in the bank.  Even to threaten to do so can create a self-fulfilling fear, one that leads quickly to bank runs.

    The proposal also violates rule #1 of dealing with distressed banks, which is that depositors get treated better than bondholders. The European Union’s proposal to punish depositors – while bondholders suffer no losses – upends the traditional order of payment priority of bank liabilities.

    On the other hand, I can see why the European Union made this odd deposit tax proposal, as the specific situation of Cyprus boils down to the European Union vs. Russian oligarchs.

    Cyprus is the Cayman Islands of Russia, a hub for vast quantities of Russian banking deposits.  Some may be savings of ‘ordinary’ Russians, but most people believe a combination of Russian Mafia, Russian oligarchs, and dirty money sloshes around the Cypriot financial sector.  Bailing out Cypriot banks, without confiscating what is perceived to be largely illegitimate Russian money, was too much for the German leadership of the EU to swallow.[2]

    Which all reminds me that in a world of Plutocrats, in which huge aggregations of money are perceived to be illegitimate, it becomes much easier for policy-makers to engage in what would otherwise be horrible banking policy.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to wonder about the implications for the US.

    The inequality here has reached a point where, if people actually knew how stratified we’ve become, the idea of a Cypriot bank tax in the US to confiscate wealth goes from being an Occupy Wall Street fantasy to becoming more normalized.

    In the US we currently view our own plutocrats as superheroes.  But if they instead become morally equated with Russian oligarchs, then a confiscatory tax like the Cyprus proposal starts to almost look ‘fair.’

    I think this is a nightmare scenario, but I also think structural inequality in the US sets the scene for this kind of nightmare.  It’s not unthinkable.



    [1] Although the proposal keeps changing as of this morning.  Maybe it’ll be 15% for depositors over 500K Euro, and 3% for depositors below 100K Euro, and no tax for depositors below 20K Euro.  Also, maybe the Cypriot parliament will reject the whole deal and take their chances.

    [2] The other interesting angle: If you’re a Cypriot parliamentarian, are you willing to vote for something that hurts the Russian mafia?  I mean, admittedly everything I know about the Russian mafia comes from Hollywood, so I don’t really have real life experience here.  But I’d be pretty nervous to vote for this bank tax and put a big fat Russian mafia target on my back.

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    john fredriksen

    It's a lot colder where Cyprus' richest person was actually born.

    John Fredriksen, the Norwegian tanker magnate and 87th-richest person in the world — appended his citizenship in 1996 mostly for tax reasons — Cyprus doesn’t tax dividend-based income.   

    Named of the Bloomberg's 50 most influential people in markets last year, Fredriksen is said to own a 6,000 square foot penthouse condominium — an alleged image of which you can see here— in Limassol on Cyprus' southwest coast. 

    According to a statement from Fredriksen's spokesman cited by the Economic Times, the mogul's Cyprus-based firms actually have less than $1 million exposed to Cyprus' current financial turmoil.

    Fredriksen's story is sort of amazing. Per his Bloomberg profile, he dropped out of high school at 16 and moved to Beirut to trade oil. He later leased boats to the U.S. army as it sent supplies to troops in Vietnam. During the Iran-Iraq war, he organized crude oil shipments for Iran.

    He now owns Seadrill — market cap $17.14 billion — and a host of other major shippers.

    Just as interesting, perhaps, is that the country's second-wealthiest individual is ethnically Turkish. 

    Suat Günsel owns Cyprus' Near East University in Northern Cyprus. According to Forbes, business at the private institution is booming. But Günsel's main wealth is tied up in land, Forbes says.  

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    Princess Ameera Prince Alwaleed

    Vanity Fair's William D. Cohan is out with a big new profile of Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the royal who Business Insider called a "dwarf-throwing billionaire" last year.

    The story takes a close look at Alwaleed's relationship with the Murdoch family, how he made his $27 billion fortune, and his recent kerfuffle with Forbes over the way the magazine valued his holdings for its billionaires' list.

    It also has some great revelations about how Alwaleed spends his immense wealth.

    According to Cohan, these are just some of the crazy things the prince owns:

    • A $130 million, 460,000-square-foot complex in Riyadh with 371 rooms and 500 televisions. It's filled with fresh flowers flown in weekly from Holland.

    • The George V hotel in Paris, which he calls "the ultimate toy" (he bought it for $175 million and spent another $125 million on renovations). He's also a partial owner of other 5-star hotels around the world.

    • A 250-acre "country resort" outside Riyadh with a private zoo.

    • An army of chefs: "At every meal, his chefs prepare vast banquets of many different culinary treats, including roasted camel," writes Cohan.

    • More than 300 cars, including Rolls Royces, Porsches, and Lamborghinis. "... many of the cars are carbon copies of one another so when he travels around town, one car can be a decoy," according to Cohan.

    • A 280-foot yacht, currently docked in Cannes.

    • A Boeing 747 outfitted with a gold throne, as well as a Hawker Siddeley 125.

    • He was the only private person to buy an Airbus A380, the largest commercial plane on the market, which start at around $300 million. But he reportedly sold it last year.

    You can read the full profile at Vanity Fair >

    SEE ALSO: Here's How Prince Alwaleed Spends His '$29.6 Billion' Fortune

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    bill william koch

    Billionaire energy magnate William Koch has filed a federal lawsuit against Internet entrepreneur Eric Greenberg for allegedly selling a set of fake wines that taste like vinegar, the New York Daily News reports.

    Koch, who has an estimated net-worth of $4 billion, purchased a set of wines from Greenberg, who owns Imperial Cellar, for $300,000 through Zachys Wine Auctions in 2004 and 2005, according to the NYDN.

    Now, Koch, who claims the wines are fakes and taste like vinegar, wants his money back. 

    Greenberg says he bought the wines "as is" under the terms of the auction and that he didn't knowingly sell Koch fakes, the report said.  

    Koch alleges that 24 bottles of wine he purchased from Greenberg are fakes. 

    (@KatyaWachtel via GrubStreet)

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    conciergeAmerica may be adding millionaires at a rapid clip, but currently there are only 400 people who've achieved the ever-elusive billionaire status. 

    We couldn't help but ask ourselves –– what does someone do with that much cash?

    "If you had a million dollars of investable assets, you're concerned with making the money last," said Tom Orrechio, a principal at Modera Wealth Management in Westwood, N.J.

    "If you have a billion, that's not an issue."

    Orrechio has been working in wealth management for more than 20 years and served a year as chairman of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. His main clients are millionaires and the firm serves about 500 families. But Modera handles more than $1 billion in total assets and Orrechio is familiar with the process many billionaires use to manage their 10-figure sums.

    Turns out a few zeroes make a huge difference. Bllionaires require a fleet of financial specialists to make sure their finances are up to snuff. 

    They don't just hire financial planners. They hire financial officers.

    A millionaire might start by hiring a wealth management firm to handle their investments and sticky issues like estate planning and taxes, but billionaires need help deciding how they'll pass on their fortune to their children, how to skirt around taxes, shelter their assets from creditors, orchestrate their charitable contributions, and help diversify their property and other investments.

    Hiring a financial management officer is top priority. A billionaire often hires several people to work directly for them in a "home office," doing everything from paying monthly bills to handling travel expenses, Orrechio said. It's like a mini-corporation and one-stop concierge service all in one. 

    "If you're a billionaire, you might be making large gifts. You have more sophisticated estate/tax planning, [and might manage] multiple legal entities," he added. "You have different individuals to handle those entities."

    People who fall in the middle of the millionaire and billionaire range often hire a financial team to cover several families in their income bracket.

    "The Rockefellers are a good example," Orecchio said. "What a lot of these wealthy families decide to do, they have the scale and infrastructure costs covered, so they can open up to multi-family office."

    SEE ALSO: 21 U.S. cities that are dominated by rich people >

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    Carl Icahn, the 77-year-old billionaire activist investor, is gracing the cover of the new Forbes issue.

    We didn't even recognize Icahn who is sporting a beard and looking really trim.

    In the profileForbes notes that it has been six years since Icahn sat for a portrait. 

    Check it out:

    Carl Icahn

    This is what we're used to seeing: 

    Carl Icahn

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    eike batista

    Eike Batista is in trouble.

    The Brazilian billionaire who once said that he would become the richest man in the world is now fighting for his fortune — and he has plenty of people out there wagering that he will fail.

    According to Bloomberg, shares on loan for his flagship oil company OGX jumped to 267 million this week. That means 21% of the shares of Batista's company are currently borrowed.

    That means investors could be shorting 21% of his company's shares right now.

    It's a dire situation to be sure, but Batista, ever full of swagger, has said that those betting against his empire are just spreading rumors and gossip and would eventually be “caught with their pants down."

    The numbers tell another story.

    Personally, Batista has lost $6 billion in the last year, meandering on and off Bloomberg's list of 100 richest billionaires. Forbes called him 'the biggest loser of the year,' calculating that he lost $2 million an hour in 2012.

    Forbes and Bloomberg disagree as to whether his net worth in total has fallen $19.4 billion (Forbes) or a whopping $26 billion (Bloomberg) over the past year.

    Worse yet, are the reports that he's facing collateral calls from creditors.

    From Bloomberg:

    Among Batista’s biggest creditors is Sao Paulo-based Itau Unibanco Holding SA, with about 5.5 billion reais ($2.8 billion) in loans outstanding, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Batista borrowed about 4.8 billion reais from Banco Bradesco SA and 1.6 billion reais from Grupo BTG Pactual, not counting a credit line of $1 billion BTG provided earlier this month, the people said.

    The BTG deal was spearheaded by Andre Esteves, a legendary Brazilian banker who guided BTG from a $2.5 billion investment bank to a powerhouse worth $15.4 billion. Esteves said he would be taking care of Batista's finances, but even that hasn't calmed investors.

    Batista is still getting massacred.

    To understand why and how, you have to understand how his empire is structured.

    Batista owns 6 companies trading on Brazilian stock exchange Bovespa's Novo Mercado, the section for companies that have achieved the highest standard of corporate governance.

    All 6 companies are controlled under umbrella firm EBX (all Batista's companies end with X to symbolize multiplication). They are:

    • OGX (oil and gas),
    • MPX (energy),
    • LLX (logistics),
    • MMX (mining),
    • OSX (offshore industry),
    • and CCX (coal mining).

    The company that's really getting pounded is OGX. Its stock has plunged 85% over the year, and bondholders have started feeling skittish as well (OGX bonds due 2018 fell to a record low last week).

    This all because last month OGX revealed that it missed production targets by 25%, and lost $142 million in Q4. Now the company has decided to cut the size of its only producing oil field, according to Bloomberg. It is, however, still planning to make over $1.3 billion of investments this year and has about $1.6 billion cash on hand.

    That said, according to the FT, investing in the company may not be enough. The problem is that Batista's talk isn't living up to EBX's walk.

    “He hasn’t delivered on his promises and the market has got tired of it,” says Pedro Galdi at SLW brokerage in São Paulo...

    As a conglomerate of mainly start-up companies, already weakened by a global funding squeeze, EBX relies on the good will of the market, says Oswaldo Telles at the BES Espírito Santo bank in São Paulo.

    “It is essentially a group of ideas, not of businesses – there is no business that is ready and generating cash,” he says.

    That's why, after the collateral call news came out, Batista announced that he would sell a part of his stake in MMX to raise some cash. He personally has a 54% stake in the company.

    MMX has seen better days too, though. Two CEOs have left the company in less than 2 years, and it was recently handed a $1.86 billion fine for unpaid taxes, according to the FT.

    Hotel GloriaAnd there are smaller worries. Improvements to Batista's luxury Rio de Janiero hotel, Hotel Gloria are behind schedule and may not be ready for the 2014 World Cup.

    The billionaire does have some bright spots on the horizon though. He's doing a maritime equipment deal with BP, and more importantly, LLX, his logistics and infrastructure company has had a banner year. The stock rallied 19% in the last month and the company just scored a contract to build off-shore drilling structures with Brazilian state oil company Petrobras.

    Of course, Petrobras has its own problems.

    So the pressure is on for Batista to turn his entire empire around, and fast — not just because he said he would be the richest man on the planet, and not just because (as he's always said) he sees himself as a soldier responsible for bringing Brazil's success to the world.

    It's because Batista will automatically lose a chunk of EBX if he doesn't perform. No one knows yet how much.

    Last year, he sold over 5% of EBX preferred stock (worth around $2 billion) to Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Development Company.

    As part of their "strategic partnership" Batista agreed to return over 5% annually, or forfeit an unknown amount of his company in 2019, according to Bloomberg.

    Perhaps it's time to sell one of his three jets, or maybe one of his two yachts. These are desperate times.

    SEE ALSO:  The Fabulous Life Of Eike Batista—The Brazilian Who Is Risking It All To Become Richest Man In The World

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    Steve Cohen, Alexandra Cohen

    Steve Cohen's not going to let a little heat from the Feds ruin his lifestyle.

    The billionaire founder of hedge fund SAC Capital bought a $155 million Picasso from Steve Wynn earlier this week. Now Peter Lattman over at Dealbook says that he's also bought an oceanfront Hamptons house for $60 million.

    This is all on top of a $616 fine SAC Capital was just ordered to pay the SEC to settle insider trading charges, according to Reuters.

    A few things about the house: It has a pool, tennis court, media room etc. but the most important thing about it is that it has an ocean view.

    See, Cohen already has a house in the same area, the super elite Further Lane. He bought his old house in 2007, but tragically, its ocean view is obscured by fellow hedge fund manager Jim Chanos' house.

    So obviously Cohen had to do something.

    Lattman also reports that Cohen may sell his Midtown Manhattan apartment in Bloomberg Tower (he also has one in the West Village) for $115 million. If he does, it will be the most expensive property ever sold in NYC, beating the current record held by Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought former Citi head Sandy Weill's $88 million apartment for his daughter last year.

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