Bill Gates reclaims top of Forbes billionaire list from Slim

Mon Mar 3, 2014 4:40pm EST
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Bill Gates has returned to the top of Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's richest people, as rising stock markets swelled the ranks of billionaires, which included a record number of women.

With a net worth of $76 billion, the Microsoft Corp co-founder reclaimed the top spot after a four-year hiatus, toppling Mexico's telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who placed second at $72 billion, Forbes said in announcing the list on Monday.

Amancio Ortega, the Spanish founder of clothing conglomerate Inditex SA, which includes the Zara fashion chain, ranked third at $64 billion.

Investing icon Warren Buffett, who runs Berkshire Hathaway Inc and is a frequent bridge partner for Gates, was fourth at $58.2 billion. Oracle Corp chief Larry Ellison came in fifth at $48 billion.

Gates has topped the list in 15 of the last 20 years.

A record 1,645 billionaires with a total net worth of $6.4 trillion made Forbes' list, up from 1,426 last year.

Just over 10 percent were female, with 172 women compared with 138 a year earlier.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc heiress Christy Walton was the highest-ranking woman, in ninth place, at $36.7 billion. France's Liliane Bettencourt, who got much of her wealth from cosmetics company L'Oreal SA, was next among women at $34.5 billion, and ranked 11th overall.   Continued...

Microsoft founder Bill Gates attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in this file photo from January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files