As a group, the members of the newly released Forbes 400 list of richest Americans have grown $240 billion wealthier in the past year. But not everyone on the list is richer than a year ago. Moguls from the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus — entertainment, energy and leisure — saw fortunes drop by the billions as the pandemic shut movie theaters, whittled demand for fuel and ground tourism to all but a halt.
The billionaire whose wealth contracted the most in percentage terms is Harold Hamm, the founder of independent oil outfit Continental Resources. Hamm’s fortune fell 42% in the past year, or $3.7 billion, as a result of a plunge in value of Continental Resources stock. Kelcy Warren, whose company built the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, is worth $2.8 billion
Despite the pandemic, America’s richest people are thriving. The members of this year’s Forbes 400 list, released today, are worth 8% more on average compared to a year ago. A select group of these billionaires have been even more fortunate: The 15 biggest gainers this year saw their already-massive net worths skyrocket by at least 40%. Forbes used closing stock prices from Friday July 24 to calculate the size of the fortunes on the list, our 39th annual ranking of the country’s richest people.
The year’s biggest gainer, in percentage terms, is Elon Musk, who’s an astounding 242% richer than he was on last year’s ranking. A lot has happened since then, including Musk raising more than $2 billion in new funding for his rocket company, SpaceX, and getting two enormous grants of Tesla stock options as part of the audacious compensation agreement he signed with the electric carmaker in 2018. Tesla stock has been on a tear, rising 520% by the time Forbes took a final measure of net worths on July 24 — helping add $48.1 billion to Musk’s net worth since last year’s list. He was the 23rd wealthiest person in America on the 2019 ranking, worth $19.9 billion; this year he’s up to number 7, worth $68 billion. (And he’s gotten even richer recently. At the end of August, when Tesla shares spiked after a 5-for-1 stock split, Musk officially crossed the $100 billion threshold to become the world’s fifth centibillionaire.)
The second-largest gainer this year: Nvidia cofounder and CEO Jensen Huang. Shares of the graphics microchip maker, which acquired Israeli-American networking-technology company Mellanox for $6.9 billion in April, more than doubled since last year amid a push beyond gaming into artificial intelligence and data centers. Thanks to the soaring Nvidia stock, Huang is worth $5.6 billion, or 133%, richer than last year.
Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chasewithorn/2020/09/08/forbes-400-2020-these-billionaires-have-gotten-the-richest-over-the-past-year/#363689f06a84
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