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Fewer Billionaires, Poorer Billionaires On African Continent In 2019

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Altogether, the 20 African tycoons are worth $68.7 billion, down from $75.4 billion for last year’s list. However, the average net worth for each list member this year has climbed to $3.4 billion from $3.3 billion in early 2018.


Buffeted by plunging stock prices and weaker currencies, the number of African billionaires has shrunk to just 20, down from 23 a year ago. Four people fell off Forbes’ annual list of the continent’s richest since last year while one returned to the ranks after a four-year absence. All but four members of the list have smaller fortunes than a year ago.

For the eighth year in a row, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is Africa’s richest person. His estimated $10.3 billion net worth, however, is nearly $2 billion less than a year ago, primarily due to a roughly 20% drop in the stock price of Dangote Cement, his most valuable asset.

The continent’s second richest is Mike Adenuga, also of Nigeria, worth an estimated $9.2 billion. Adenuga owns Globacom, which is Nigeria’s third largest mobile phone network, plus oil exploration firm Conoil Producing, extensive real estate holdings in Nigeria, and a network of 12,000 cell phone towers. His net worth has climbed dramatically from $5.3 billion in January 2018 as a result of more detailed information provided by him about his assets.

Number three in Africa is diamond heir Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa. His grandfather founded diamond mining firm DeBeers, which Nicky ran and then sold to mining giant Anglo American for $5.1 billion cash in 2012. He is currently worth an estimated $7.3 billion, down from $7.7 billion a year ago.

Among the few on the list who are richer than a year ago is Strive Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe, worth an estimated $2.3 billion, up from $1.6 billion last year. He’s richer due to a rise in the share price of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and a new investment that boosted the value of his stake in fiber optic and satellite services firm Liquid Telecom.

In a per country ranking, Egypt and South Africa are tied with five billionaires each, followed by Nigeria with four and Morocco with two. Forbes found one billionaire each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The three South Africans who fell off since last year’s list are Stephen Saad, founder of generics drug firm Aspen Pharmacare; Desmond Sacco, chairman of iron ore mining company Assore Group; and Christoffel Wiese, founder of retailer Pepkor and former chairman of furniture retailer Steinhoff International, which acquired Pepkor in 2015. Steinhoff is still reeling from an accounting scandal that was disclosed in December 2017, and shortly afterwards, Wiese stepped down as chairman of the company. The fourth dropoff is Onsi Sawiris of Egypt, who owns a stake in Netherlands-based fertilizer and chemical producer OCI N.V. All four fell off due to a decline in the stock price of their main asset.

Nigerian cement mogul Abdulsamad Rabiu, who runs and owns the BUA Group, returns to the list for the first time since 2015. He merged his Kalambaina Cement firm into publicly-traded Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled, in late 2018. Rabiu now owns 97% of the list entity. Kalambaina, which operates a new cement production facility, started selling cement in mid-2018. Separately, Rabiu’s OBU Cement recently expanded its operations, adding a new production line.

Two of the 20 billionaires are women: Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos; and Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria. Dos Santos’ fortune declined to an estimated $2.3 billion, down from $2.7 billion a year ago, primarily due to a drop in value of her stock holdings in oil firm Galp and communications firm Nos – both in Portugal – and a decline in the value of Angolan mobile telecom firm Unitel, of which she owns 25%. Unitel is in an arbitration with one of its shareholders, Brazilian telecom firm Oi, which claims it is owed $608 million in unpaid dividends from five years through 2014. (Unitel did not respond to a request for comment.)

Nigeria’s Alakija owns a stake in one of the most productive oil fields in Nigeria, currently operated by Chevron. Her net worth dropped due a decline in the value of the oil field, in part because its production has leveled off.

Altogether, the 20 African tycoons are worth $68.7 billion, down from $75.4 billion for last year’s list. However, the average net worth for each list member this year has climbed to $3.4 billion from $3.3 billion in early 2018.

METHODOLOGY

Our list tracks the wealth of African billionaires who reside in Africa or have their primary businesses there, thus excluding Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen, and billionaire London resident Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian citizen. (Strive Masiyiwa, a citizen of Zimbabwe and a London resident, appears on the list due to his expansive telecom holdings in Africa.) We calculated net worths using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Friday, January 4, 2019.  To value privately-held businesses, we couple estimates of revenues or profits with prevailing price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies. Some list members grow richer or poorer within weeks– or days – of our measurement date.

1. Aliko Dangote

Net worth: $10.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Cement, sugar, flour

Age: 61

Country: Nigeria

Did You Know?

-Dangote’s grandfather was a successful trader of rice and oats in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city.

-Dangote told Forbes that when he was young, he bought sweets, gave them to others to sell, and he kept the profits.

Nigeria is one of the best-kept secrets. A lot of foreigners are not investing because they’re waiting for the right time. There is no right time.


Aliko Dangote

2. Mike Adenuga

Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, built his fortune in telecom and oil production. His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 43 million subscribers. His oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates six oil blocks in the Niger Delta. Adenuga got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver. He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.

Did you know?

-Mike Adenuga made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.

3. Nicky Oppenheimer & family

Net worth: $7.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Diamonds

Age: 73

Country: South Africa

Oppenheimer, heir to his family’s fortune, sold his 40% stake in diamond firm DeBeers to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012. He was the third generation of his family to run DeBeers, and took the company private in 2001. For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family occupied a controlling spot in the world’s diamond trade. In 2014, Oppenheimer started Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg, which operates chartered flights with its fleet of three planes and two helicopters. He owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Did You Know?

-Oppenheimer owns Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, the largest private game reserve in South Africa.

-Oppenheimer is a sports fan and plays squash, golf and cricket. Notepads in his office read: “Things I must do before cricket”.

4. Nassef Sawiris

Net worth: $6.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Construction, chemicals

Age: 57

Country:  Egypt

Nassef Sawiris is a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family. His brother Naguib is also a billionaire. Sawiris split Orascom Construction Industries into two entities in 2015: OCI and Orascom Construction. He runs OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, with plants in Texas and Iowa; it trades on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange. Orascom Construction, an engineering and building firm, trades on the Cairo exchange and Nasdaq Dubai. His holdings include stakes in cement giant Lafarge Holcim and Adidas; he sits on the supervisory board of Adidas.

Did You Know?

-A University of Chicago graduate, he donated $20 million to the school in 2015 to fund scholarships in his father’s name for Egyptian students.

-Nassef Sawiris teamed up with Fortress Investment Group’s Wes Edens to purchase a majority stake in Aston Villa Football Club.

5. Johann Rupert & family

Net worth: $5.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Luxury goods

Age: 68

Country: South Africa

Rupert is chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc. It was formed in 1998 through a spinoff of assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited), which his father Anton formed in the 1940s. He owns a 7% stake in diversified investment firm Remgro, which he chairs, as well as 25% of Reinet, an investment holding co. based in Luxembourg. In recent years, Rupert has been a vocal opponent of plans to allow fracking in the Karoo, a region of South Africa where he owns land.

Did You Know?

-He also owns part of the Saracens English rugby team and Anthonij Rupert Wines, named after his deceased brother.

-Rupert says his biggest regret was not buying half of Gucci when he had the opportunity to do so for just $175 million.

6. Issad Rebrab & family

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Origin of wealth: Food

Age: 75

Country: Algeria

Issad Rebrab is the founder and CEO of Cevital, Algeria’s biggest privately-held company. Cevital owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world, with the capacity to produce 2 million tons a year. Cevital owns European companies, including French home appliances maker Groupe Brandt, an Italian steel mill and a German water purification company. Rebrab has plans to build a steel mill in Brazil to produce train tracks and improve transportation logistics for sugar, corn and soy flour exports. His five children workat Cevital.

Did You Know?

-Rebrab is the son of militants who fought for Algeria’s independence from France.

-Cevital helped finance a biopic on Algerian resistance hero Larbi Ben M’hidi, who was executed by the French in 1957.

We [Algerians] have great potential; we can make up for lost time.


Issad Rebrab

7. Naguib Sawiris

Net worth: $2.9 billion

Origin of wealth: Telecom

Age: 64

Country: Egypt

Naguib Sawiris is a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family. His brother Nassef is also a billionaire. He built a fortune in telecom, selling Orascom Telecom in 2011 to Russian telecom firm VimpelCom (now Veon) in a multibillion-dollar transaction. He’s chairman of Orascom Telecom Media & Technology–renamed Orascom Investment Holding to reflect investments in other sectors. Family holding La Mancha has stakes in Evolution Mining, Endeavour Mining and Golden Star Resources, which operate gold mines in Africa and Australia. In 2017, he shifted ownership of La Mancha to his mother, Yousriya Loza-Sawiris, for estate planning purposes.

Did you know?

-Sawiris helped found the Free Egyptians, a liberal political party, at the onset of Egypt’s uprisings in 2011

-In 2015, he offered to buy a Greek or Italian island to house Syrian refugees, but Greece and Italy turned him down.

I want to feel good about having done something good. Provide me with the island and I will do the rest.


Naguib Sawiris

8. Koos Bekker

Net worth: $2.3 billion

Origin of wealth: media, investments

Age: 66

Country: South Africa

Bekker is revered for transforming South African newspaper publisher Naspers into an ecommerce investor and cable TV powerhouse. He led Naspers to invest in Chinese Internet and media firm Tencent in 2001 – by far the most profitable of the bets he made on companies elsewhere. Naspers has a 31% stake in Tencent, and Bekker serves as a non-executive director at the Chinese company. It sold a 2% stake in Tencent in March 2018, its first time reducing its holding, but stated at the time it would not sell again for 3 years. Bekker, who retired as the CEO of Naspers in March 2014, returned as chairman in April 2015.

Did You Know?

-His Babylonstoren estate, nearly 600 acres in South Africa’s Western Cape region, features architecture dating back to 1690, a farm, orchard and vineyard and more.

-Over the summer of 2015, he sold more than 70% of his Naspers shares.

8. Isabel dos Santos

Net worth: $2.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Investments

Age: 45

Country: Angola

Dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in fall 2017. Her father made her head of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil firm, in June 2016, but Angola’s new president removed her from that role in November 2017. Forbes research found that while president, Isabel’s father transferred to her stakes in several Angolan companies, including banks and a telecom firm. She owns shares of Portuguese companies, including telecom and cable TV firm Nos SGPS. A spokesperson for Isabel told Forbes that she “is an independent business woman and a private investor representing solely her own interests.”

Did You Know?

-Isabel dos Santos is nicknamed “the princess” in Angola.

-Santos’ mother, Tatiana Kukanova, met her father while he was a student in Azerbaijan. The couple later divorced.

8. Mohamed Mansour

Net worth: $2.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Diversified

Age: 70

Country: Egypt

Mansour oversees family conglomerate Mansour Group, which was founded by his father Loutfy (D.1976) in 1952 and has 60,000 employees. Mansour established General Motors dealerships in Egypt in 1975, later becoming one of GM’s biggest distributors worldwide. Mansour Group also has exclusive distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and seven other African countries. He served as Egypt’s Minister of Transportation from 2006 to 2009 under the Hosni Mubarak regime. His brothers Yasseen and Youssef, who share ownership in the family group, are also billionaires; his son Loutfy heads private equity arm Man Capital.

Did You Know?

-Mansour’s father lost his fortune, when Egypt’s then president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, expropriated his cotton trading company in 1964.

-Mansour worked as a busboy in a pizza parlor while at North Carolina State University to pay for college.

Empowering best in class management teams is the only way to transform a local player into a diversified conglomerate with multinational exposure.


Mohamed Mansour

8. Strive Masiyiwa

Net worth: $2.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Telecom

Age: 57

Country: Zimbabwe

Masiyiwa overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998. He owns just over 50% of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group. Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa. His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa. He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.

Did You Know?

-After studying at university in Britain, Masiyiwa worked at ZPTC, Zimbabwe’s phone company.

-He left ZPTC to start an engineering services firm, then sold it and founded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, but had to battle the government in court for years.

8. Patrice Motsepe

Net worth: $2.3 billion

Origin of wealth: Mining

Age: 56

Country: South Africa

Motsepe, the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, became a billionaire in 2008 – the first black African on the Forbes list. In 2016, he launched a new private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, focused on investing in Africa. Motsepe also has a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm, and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club. He became the first black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan in Johannesburg, and then started a contracting business doing mine scut work. In 1994, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and later turned them profitable.

Did You Know?

-In 2013, the mining magnate was the first African to sign Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half his fortune to charity.

-Motsepe benefited from South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) laws, mandating that companies be at least 26% black-owned to get a government mining license.

13. Aziz Akhannouch & family

Net worth: $2.1 billion

Origin of wealth: Petroleum, diversified

Age: 58

Country: Morocco

Aziz Akhannouch is the majority owner of Akwa Group, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate founded by his father and a partner, Ahmed Wakrim, in 1932. It has interests in petroleum, gas and chemicals through publicly-traded Afriquia Gaz and Maghreb Oxygene. Akhannouch is Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the president of a royalist political party.

14. Mohammed Dewji

Net worth: 1.9 billion

Origin of wealth:  Diversified

Age: 43

Country: Tanzania

Mohammed Dewji is the CEO of METL, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. METL is active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa. METL operates in at least six African countries and has ambitions to expand to several more. Dewji, Tanzania’s only billionaire, signed the Giving Pledge in 2016, promising to donate at least half his fortune to philanthropic causes.

Did You Know?

-Dewji retired from Tanzania’s parliament in early 2015 after completing two terms.

-Dewji, who is known as Mo (short for Mohammed), launched Mo Cola several years ago to compete with Coca-Cola.

15. Othman Benjelloun & family

Net worth: $1.7 billion

Origin of wealth: Banking, insurance

Age: 86

Country: Morocco

Benjelloun is CEO of BMCE Bank of Africa, which has a presence in more than 20 African countries. His father was a shareholder in RMA Watanya, a Moroccan insurance company; Benjelloun built it into a leading insurer.  Through his holding company FinanceCom, he has a stake in the Moroccan arm of French telecom firm Orange. Benjelloun inaugurated a $500 million plan to build the 55-story Mohammed VI Tower in Rabat. It will be one of the tallest buildings in Africa. FinanceCom is part of a project to develop a multibillion-dollar tech city in Tangiers that is expected to host 200 Chinese companies.

Did You Know?

-He co-owns Ranch Adarouch, one of the biggest cattle breeders in Africa.

-Benjelloun and his wife received the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award for building schools in rural Morocco in 2016.

16. Abdulsamad Rabiu

Net worth: 1.6 billion

Origin of wealth: Cement, sugar

Age: 58

Country: Nigeria

Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate. In December 2018, Rabiu merged his privately-owned Kalambaina Cement company with listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled. His BUA Group also owns Obu Cement, which expanded its production with a new line in 2018. Rabiu, the son of a businessman, inherited land from his father. He set up his own business in 1988 importing iron, steel and chemicals.

17. Yasseen Mansour

Net worth: $1.5 billion

Origin of wealth:  Diversified

Age: 57

Country: Egypt

Mansour is a shareholder in family-owned conglomerate Mansour Group, which was founded by his father Loutfy (d.1976) in 1952. Mansour Group is the exclusive distributor of GM vehicles and Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and several other countries. His brothers Mohamed and Youssef are also billionaires and part owners of Mansour Group. He’s chairman of Palm Hills Developments, one of Egypt’s biggest real estate developers.

Did You Know?

-U.S. private equity firm Ripplewood has a stake in Palm Hills Developments.

-Mansour Group is the sole franchisee of McDonald’s in Egypt, as well as the distributor of Gauloises cigarettes.

18. Youssef Mansour

Net worth: $1.2 billion

Origin of wealth: Diversified

Age: 73

Country: Egypt

Mansour is chairman of family-owned conglomerate Mansour Group, which was founded by his father Loutfy (d.1976) in 1952. Mansour Group is the exclusive distributor of GM vehicles and Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and several other countries. He oversees the consumer goods division, which includes supermarket chain Metro, and sole distribution rights for L’Oreal in Egypt. Younger brothers Mohamed and Yasseen are also billionaires and part owners of Mansour Group.

Did You Know?

-Former Egypt President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized his father’s original cotton trading business.

-Mansour is a founding member of the American Egyptian Chamber of Commerce.

19. Folorunsho Alakija

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Origin of wealth: Oil

Age: 68

Country: Nigeria

Folorunsho Alakija is vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami Oilfield, a prolific offshore asset. Famfa Oil’s partners include Chevron and Petrobras. Alakija’s first company was a fashion label whose customers included the wife of former Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida. The Nigerian government awarded Alakija’s company an oil prospecting license in 1993, which was later converted to an oil mining lease. The Agbami field has been operating since 2008; Famfa Oil says it will likely operate through 2024.

19. Michiel Le Roux

Net worth: $1.1 billion

Origin of wealth: Banking

Age: 69

Country: South Africa

Le Roux of South Africa founded Capitec Bank in 2001 and owns about an 11% stake. The bank, which trades on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, targets South Africa’s emerging middle class. He served as chairman of the board of Capitec from 2007 to 2016 and has continued on as a board member. Le Roux previously ran Boland Bank, a small regional bank in Cape Town’s hinterland.

Did You Know?

-The bank has more than 800 branches and over 13,000 employees.

-Fellow South African Jannie Mouton’s PSG Group owns a 30% stake in Capitec Bank

Lists

The 10 Most Notable New Billionaires Of 2019

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They come from every corner of the world—Austria and Slovakia to Australia and Vietnam—having made their fortunes in every venture imaginable: music and makeup, software and sweaters. In all, 195 fresh faces joined the world’s billionaire ranks this year. Here are 10 of the most exceptional.


one of eight children, Steward milked cows and slopped hogs on the family farm before school every day while his dad worked as a mechanic, trash collector and janitor to make ends meet. After graduating from Central Missouri State University, he sent out 400 resumes over three years before landing his “dream” job as a salesman at Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.

He cofounded IT provider World Wide Technology in 1990, which counts companies like Citi, Verizon and the federal government among its customers. His 59% stake in the $11.2 billion (sales) company, making him one of the richest African-Americans in the country. “I hope what this represents is that all things are possible,” Steward says, a lifelong jazz lover who donated $1.3 million to the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2018 to create a jazz studies program. “We still live in the greatest country in the world, and God blesses persons of color too.”

After making his fortune in retail, Hang is now focusing on politics, too. In the run-up to Brazil’s October 2018 presidential election, he urged his 2 million Facebook followers to back far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, who ultimately won by a ten-point margin. (Hang went as far as threatening to leave the country if Bolsonaro’s leftist opponent, Fernando Haddad, won the race.)

Even after the election, he has continued to post live videos of himself on social media almost daily. One recent posting showed him celebrating former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s corruption conviction by dancing poolside to fireworks.

Outside of politics, Hang’s stores are thriving. Havan, the department store chain he cofounded at 24, generated a record $1.2 billion in 2017 sales, up 40% over the prior year. One ingredient in that success: “Always hire happy people; leave the unhappy ones to the competition,” Hang says.

The dermatologists have tapped into the lucrative skin care market with their multilevel marketing firm Rodan + Fields, which boasts $1.5 billion in sales and 300,000 independent “consultants” selling anti-aging creams and more. In February, they launched a new teen acne line, a throwback to their first claim to fame, acne product Proactiv.

The brand took off when the doctors created a licensing deal with infomercial company Guthy-Renker in 1995 to sell their regimen through television advertisements featuring celebrities like Jessica Simpson. The doctors sold their royalty rights in 2016, and now their full attention is on Rodan + Fields. Their goal, Rodan says, is help as many people as possible have “life-changing skin.”

An English major who reluctantly took over his grandfather’s small outerwear company in 2001, Reiss has created the “it” coat of the decade. The Canada Goose CEO marketed his down-filled jackets by giving freebies to people who spent a lot of time in the cold: Bouncers outside of nightclubs, polar explorers and attendees of cold-weather film festivals like the ones in Sundance and Toronto.

His $1,000-plus parkas are now fashion statements, staples on the streets of London, New York and Tokyo and have a strong celebrity following, including Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig. The stock has climbed threefold since its public debut two years ago; sales rose 46% to $450 million in 2018. Reiss, 45, has kept manufacturing at home as other companies moved offshore: “Making a Canada Goose parka in Canada is like making a Swiss watch in Switzerland.”

She’s just the second woman in Russian to become a billionaire and joins the ranks of the world’s wealthiest thanks to the success of her e-commerce company, Wildberries, which had $1.9 billion in revenue last year. She started the business in 2004 at age 28 in her Moscow apartment while on maternity leave from teaching. She realized how difficult it was for her and other young mothers to shop for clothes for themselves with a newborn at home. Her husband, Vladislav, an IT technician, soon joined her to help grow the business. Today Wildberries sells 15,000 brands of clothing, household products and other items and processes roughly 400,000 orders a day from 2 million daily visitors in Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

In twenty years at Oracle, Catz, a former investment banker and now the company’s co-CEO, is often credited with leading Oracle’s aggressive acquisition strategy, including two hostile takeovers. In January 2005, Oracle acquired competitor PeopleSoft after an 18-month pursuit for $11 billion, more than double its original unsolicited bid.Three years later in April 2008, it acquired BEA Systems for $8.5 billion, a deal that also involved Carl Icahn, the billionaire corporate raider who was a BEA shareholder and pushed BEA to do the deal with Oracle. “I can’t really speak about [working with Icahn] in open session,” Catz said at a May 2019 commencement speech at the Wharton School. “It would be unladylike.”

Born to two Iraqi parents who came to Israel as refugees, Fattal began working in hotels at age 23 as a receptionist. He toiled in other jobs—bellhop, security guard, salesman—before founding his own hotel company in 1999. “From the day I went into the hotel industry, I fell in love with it,” he says. “There is a glamour to it.”

Starting a business just then in Israel would prove exceptionally tough, especially for a tourism-based one like Fattal’s. The Second Intifada conflict with the Palenstinains began in 2000 and lasted for several years. Fattal, however, thrived by targeting local, rather than international, tourists and by persuading hotel owners to switch from global brands to his more affordable one.

Today, Fattal Hotels, which went public in February 2019, owns and operates 40 locations in Israel and the Leonardo Hotels in Europe. “When you’re approaching the guests, it’s like you are on a stage. You have to be courteous, and I just always felt it was my job to maintain the atmosphere for happy people.”

At 21, Jenner is the youngest-ever self-made billionaire, earning a ten-figure fortune even earlier than Mark Zuckerberg (who joined the billionaires list at 23 in 2008). “I didn’t expect anything—I did not foresee the future,” Jenner says. “But [the recognition] feels really good. That’s a nice pat on the back.” She owns 100% of Kylie Cosmetics, the three-year-old beauty business that did an estimated $360 million in sales last year. Most of the company’s revenue comes from e-commerce. But Kylie Cosmetics also has a new deal with Ulta that put its goods in all the makeup retailer’s 1,163 U.S. stores, “so people that would never buy my products—or that aren’t my fans—can see them in person.”

A successful IPO last year was music to Ek’s ears. Spotify, the music-streaming service he founded 13 years ago, now has a $24 billion market cap. It still hasn’t had a profitable year, though; its focus is squarely on funneling cash into acquisitions. In February it announced a $340 million purchase of podcast companies Gimlet Media and Anchor FM. Ek founded Spotify in 2006 but before that, he found himself adrift as a self-made millionaire in his 20s—clubbing, driving a cherry-red Ferrari Modena—after an early stint at another Swedish tech company. “I was deeply uncertain of who I was and who I wanted to be,” Ek said in 2012. “I really thought I wanted to be a much cooler guy than what I was.”

I never intended to get this far,” said Kenny Park, whose father owned a fishing company. But he has stitched together a fortune making handbags and accessories for U.S. brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, Mark Jacobs and Alexander Wang. His Simone Accessories, named after his wife and 62% owned by Park and his family, makes some 30 million handbags, purses and wallets a year in its factories in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and China.

His big break came in 1987 after he flew from Seoul to New York City with a sample bag. He pitched Donna Karan executives an offer to supply bags for almost 30% less than what they were paying their European suppliers, but with one caveat: a “Made in Korea” label. Reluctant at first, Donna Karan agreed to a trial order and by the next year was a key customer, one he still supplies today.

-Luisa Kroll; Forbes Staff

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Lists

The Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers And Traders

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The computer geeks are taking over Wall Street. During a disappointing year that saw the average hedge fund manager lose money, elite quantitative traders stood out in 2018 from the rest of the trading crowd. More than half of the 20 highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders in 2018 were associated with computer-driven algorithmic trading.

Jim Simons, the most famous quantitative trader ever, naturally led the way, earning $1.6 billion. He founded Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund firm that now manages $60 billion, and still plays an important role there even though he retired from day-to-day operations in 2010.

The hedge funds Renaissance manages for outside investors performed well in 2018. For example, the Renaissance Institutional Equities fund last year returned 8.5% and the Renaissance Institutional Diversified Global Equities fund returned 10.3%. Simons’ earnings were further driven by Renaissance’s Medallion fund, a $10 billion black-box strategy that only invests money belonging to Simons and his Renaissance partners and employees.

READ MORE |  Gallery: Highest-Earning Hedge Fund Managers & Traders 201921 imagesView gallery

The hedge fund industry had a miserable year in 2018.  The average hedge fund manager returned -4.07%, according to HFR. That is slightly better than the U.S. stock market, which returned -4.38% last year. In total, the 20 highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders made a combined $10.3 billion in 2018.

That’s a big number, but it is still the lowest such earnings figure since the financial crisis. In 2015, another weak hedge fund year, Forbes reported that the 20 highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders made $11.4 billion, and in 2011 they made $11.7 billion.

Forbes includes in its analysis hedge fund managers and traders who now mostly or even exclusively manage their own money, and some of them can be found in the top 20 highest earners of 2018. Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management, for example, returned all outside capital to its clients in 2015. Since then, BlueCrest’s trading activities have performed very well, and in 2018 the firm returned 25% net of all expenses. Platt earned an estimated $1.2 billion last year.

READ MORE | The World’s Most Generous Billionaires Outside Of The US

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund firm, with $160 billion under management, posted mixed results in 2018. Bridgewater’s investment process is data-driven, searching for economic and other signals. The firm does perform traditional fundamental analysis before turning its research into trading algorithms.

Its big Pure Alpha hedge fund returned 14.6% net of fees in 2018. But Dalio’s important All Weather Fund, in which he is heavily invested, was down by about 6%. Dalio earned an estimated $1 billion in 2018.

Ken Griffin used quantitative and fundamental trading techniques to help build Citadel into a $30 billion hedge fund firm. He had a solid year in 2018, continuing a terrific run that has gone on ever since the financial crisis almost destroyed his him.

Citadel’s flagship hedge fund returned 9.1% last year. Its other hedge funds returned between 6% and 9% net of fees. Griffin earned an estimated $870 million last year.

John Overdeck and David Siegel have built their quantitative trading firm, Two Sigma Investments, into one of the world’s biggest hedge funds. Its funds did well in 2018. For example, Two Sigma’s Absolute Return fund returned 11% and its Compass fund returned 14% net of fees. Overdeck and Siegel each earned an estimated $700 million in 2018.

Overdeck and Siegel met when they both worked at D.E. Shaw early in their careers. The quantitative trading firm was founded by David Shaw, a former computer science professor at Columbia University.

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He took a step back from managing the firm’s operations, but remains involved in its success. D.E. Shaw now manages some $50 billion. It’s big Composite Fund returned 11% net of fees last year. Shaw earned an estimated $500 million in 2018.

Israel Englander is not known as a quant. He founded Millennium Management, a $35 billion hedge fund firm known for its multi-manager strategy that includes dozens of teams using various styles to trade all sorts of assets. Still, a big part of Millennium’s success has been is its WorldQuant unit, a quantitative trading outfit. Last year Millennium’s hedge fund returned 4.8% net of fees and Englander earned an estimated $500 million.

To determine the highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders of 2018, Forbes examined hedge fund returns and worked to understand the fee and ownership structure of a wide array of money management firms. Hedge fund firms generally charge management fees of 2% and performance fees that give them 20% of the trading profits, but we found all sorts of variations on this theme.

In addition, our earnings figures include the personal gain or loss of each manager’s interest in their funds. Our figures are pretax, account for firm expenses and profit-sharing arrangements, and exclude gains or losses stemming from ownership in the investment firms themselves or from investments held outside of the managed investment pools.

-Nathan Vardi Forbes Staff
– Antoine Gara Forbes Staff
– Additional reporting by Jennifer Wang

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The World’s Most Generous Billionaires Outside Of The US

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Last October, Forbes tracked the biggest billionaire philanthropists in the U.S. and ranked their efforts with a new philanthropy score. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, cofounders of the Giving Pledge, led our list with $35.8 billion and $35.1 billion, respectively, in lifetime donations. George Soros was third, with $32 billion.

“No other country really rivals the history and tradition of charitable giving that exists in the U.S., which has supported a strong and vital civic sector over the years” says Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy and author of Giving Done Right: Effective Philanthropy and Making Every Dollar Count. “The high levels of charitable giving here also have something to do with the more limited role government plays in this country than, say, in Canada or European countries. And, of course, the accumulation of wealth here has meant there are more mega-givers than there are in other countries.”

But change is in the air. Big gifts have begun to be handed out by billionaires outside the U.S. as well, following in the footsteps of their American counterparts. Since 2012, 28 non-American members of the Forbes billionaires list have signed the Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half of their wealth away (in their lifetimes or after they die). Some, including those who didn’t sign the pledge, have already taken action toward their goal of 10-figure giving: six non-U.S. billionaires have committed more than $1 billion to philanthropic entities, Forbesconfirmed.

One Indian billionaire gave away not only money, but also a kidney. Kochouseph Chittilappilly built a fortune in electrical appliances. In 2011, two months after he turned 60, he donated one of his kidneys to a complete stranger, and a year later, he launched a charitable foundation that focuses on health care and education. So far he’s donated $95 million, including a gift of $79 million to his foundation.

A small number of billionaires outside of the U.S. like Azim Premji—who recently told Forbes “To whom much has been given, much should be expected”—have put billions of dollars into charitable foundations and causes in their home countries and across the globe.In mid-March Indian tech tycoon Premji announced that he shifted a $7.5 billion stake in his IT outsourcing company, Wipro, to his charitable foundation. That move brought his lifetime giving to $21 billion, according to his foundation.

The news not only solidified Premji as the fourth most generous philanthropist in the world, but also makes him the biggest philanthropist outside the U.S. Premji has put 81% of his wealth toward charitable giving in his lifetime, more than any other current billionaire in percentage terms. A close second is hedge fund billionaire George Soros, who has donated more than 76% of his wealth to his Open Society Foundations. Former billionaire and philanthropy icon Chuck Feeney has given away almost all of his $7.5 billion fortune, Forbesreported in 2012, and inspired Bill & Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to establish the Giving Pledge.

Two non-U.S. billionaires who have signed the Giving Pledge but not yet hit the billion-dollar giving mark are stepping up their philanthropic efforts. In Australia, Fortescue Metals founderAndrew Forrest and his wife Nicola donated about $600 million to their Minderoo Foundation, which launched its marine research initiative in 2018.

South African billionaire PatriceMotsepe has donated over $500 million to projects in Africa pertaining to health, farming, agrobusiness, infrastructure, and music. Last year, the African Rainbow Minerals founder also pledged to donate $250 million to South African land reform and $100 million to education initiatives.

One billionaire, who appears to be incredibly generous, is not on the list below because of a technical reason. Dietmar Hopp, cofounder of German software company SAP, put over 60% of his SAP stake—currently worth $6.9 billion—into a charitable outlet that has distributed more than $800 million since 1995. Forbes still counts the shares in Hopp’s charitable outlet as part of his net worth because he retains economic control over the shares and they are not irrevocably placed in a foundation.

Here is Forbes’ list of the biggest billionaire philanthropists from outside the US, measured by total dollar amount donated through mid-March 2019:

*Net worths are as of March 25, 2019.

BANGALORE, INDIA APRIL 27: Wipro Chairman Azim Premji during the announcement of Quarter 4 Results at Wipro Headquarters Sarjapur Road on April 27, 2011 in Bangalore, India. (Photo by Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint via Getty Images)

Azim Premji
Citizenship: India
Lifetime giving: $21 billion
Net worth: $5 billion

Through his foundation, IT billionaire Premji has prioritized improving the public school system in some of the most underserved parts of India. He established the Azim Premji University in Bangalore in 2010, which plans to expand its student body from a current 1,300 students to 5,000 students, according to the foundation.

Premji himself never graduated from college, dropping out of Stanford in 1966 to take over his family’s cooking oil business after his father died. He shifted into software and expanded the small company into Wipro, which had $8.4 billion in revenue in 2018. Premji serves as chairman.

CHRISTOPHER HOHN
Christopher Hohn, manager and founder of The Children’s Investment Fund Photographer: Andreas Scholz/Bloomberg NewsBLOOMBERG NEWS

Christopher Hohn
Citizenship: United Kingdom
Lifetime giving: $4.5 billion
Current net worth: $3.1 billion

Hedge fund manager Hohn cofounded the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) in 2002 with his then-wife Jamie. Hohn, who had been working at hedge fund firm Perry Capital since 1996, struck out on his own in 2003 to start a London-based hedge fund called the Children’s Investment Fund. Including an undisclosed donation by Perry Capital in 2002, Hohn and Jamie, who divorced in 2014, have given at least $4.5 billion to CIFF, moving assets from the hedge fund into the foundation.

“The original mission in setting up CIFF was to improve the lives of children in developing countries who live in poverty,” says Hohn on CIFF’s website. “This hasn’t changed. I want to solve problems, not make grants.”

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Carlos Slim Helu (Photo by Carlos Tischler/Getty Images)GETTY IMAGES

Carlos Slim Helu
Citizenship: Mexico
Lifetime giving: $4.2 billion
Current net worth: $61.4 billion

A telecom tycoon,Slim early on was a critic of the Giving Pledge. “Many of the problems will be solved by business activity and development,” he said in 2011, adding that “Charity doesn’t solve poverty. How much charity has been done in the past years? Trillions of dollars.” Still, he believes in some forms of philanthropy. Since 2006, Slim’s spokesman says, he has donated $4.2 billion to his Carlos Slim Foundation.

He gave $2 billion to his foundation in 2006 and the same amount again in 2010. Most of that money has come from dividends Slim collected from shares he owns in some of Mexico’s largest companies, Forbes reported in 2011. Over the past six years, he’s donated another $160 million to the outfit, which works on improving health conditions and education, among other causes, so people can work to support their families. Helu’s foundation has collaborated with nonprofit organizations, including the Clinton Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

Hong Kong Tycoon Li Ka-shing Retires
Li Ka-shing, former chairman of CK Hutchison and CK Asset (Photo by Zhang Wei/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Li Ka-shing
Citizenship: Hong Kong
Lifetime giving: $3.2 billion
Current net worth: $32.5 billion

Since 1980, Li Ka-shing’s foundation has donated billions to education, medical services and research initiatives in 27 countries, including China, where he was born but was forced to flee in 1940 at the age of 12 after Japan invaded Southern China. 

“When I received the Forbes’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, I shared with everyone that my charitable foundation, founded in 1980, is like my third son to me,” he told Forbes in 2017. “I hoped to persuade those who can, in Asia, support causes important to society as a duty in line with supporting our children.”

Hansjoerg Wyss
Hansjoerg WyssCOURTESY OF THE WYSS FOUNDATION

Hansjoerg Wyss
Citizenship: Switzerland
Lifetime giving: $1.9 billion
Current net worth: $5.9 billion

Wyss founded medical device manufacturer Synthes and sold it to Johnson & Johnson in 2012 for $20.2 billion in cash and stock. Wyss is dedicated to protecting the environment not only in his home continent, Europe, but also in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. In an op-ed for the New York Times last October, he pledged to donate $1 billion to land and ocean conservation to protect 30% of earth’s surface by 2030. “Every one of us — citizens, philanthropists, business and government leaders — should be troubled by the enormous gap between how little of our natural world is currently protected and how much should be protected,” he wrote.

He’s already put at least $1.9 billion into his foundation since 2001. The foundation has doled out $450 million to preserve land around the planet, and Wyss has additionally given $40 million to the same cause. In 2018, Wyss donated an undisclosed sum to the Trust for Public Land so it could buy and retire oil and gas leases on more than 24,000 acres in Wyoming where he resides.

Stephan Schmidheiny
Stephan SchmidheinyCOURTESY OF PETER SCHUERMANN

Stephan Schmidheiny
Citizenship: Switzerland
Lifetime giving: $1.5 billion
Current net worth: $2.3 billion

Schmidheiny became the president of Swiss Eternit Group, his father’s construction materials company, in 1976 when he was just 29. Since 2003, he has donated about $1.5 billion to charity, mostly in shares of his Latin American industrial assets that he placed in his charitable VIVA Trust.

Schmidheiny—who helped organize the UN’s first conference on environment and development in 1992—has distributed more than $600 million to projects across the world that focus on sustainable development. In 2012 Schmidheiny was convicted  by an Italian court of negligence by Eternit’s Italian affiliate that led to 2,000 asbestos-related deaths. Italy’s Supreme Court overturned the decision in 2014, acquitting Schmidheiny.

Deniz Cam;Forbes Staff

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