The annual Forbes list of the world’s billionaires out today lists the same nine Seattle-area folks that it did a year ago. Once again, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, is No. 1 in the world, with an estimated net worth of $79.2 billion, up $3.2 billion from a year ago. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos is No. 15 at $34.8 billion, up $2.8 billion. Ex-Microsoft CEO and Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer checks in at No. 35 with $21.5 billion, up $2.2 billion in just 12 months.
Forbes actually cranks out two major rich lists a year that concern Seattle. One, which appears every fall, is the famous original Forbes 400 list, which first appeared in 1982 and is limited to U.S. residents. This one, the second, which appears in March and dates back to 1987, is a list of everyone in the world that Forbes thinks is worth $1 billion or more. The new world list has 1,826 entries.
Because there are more than 400 billionaires in the U.S., some American heavies make the March list, which has no finite limit, but not the fall list (yearly increases cited here are from last March’s list). One such person in the Seattle area is Gabe Newell, co-founder of video game company Valve Corp. in Bellevue. He is ranked No. 1,372 on the list out today at $1.3 billion, up $100 million from a year ago.
The others from the Seattle area on the list:
–Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen, No. 51 at $17.5 billion, up from $5,9 billion.
–Starbucks boss Howard Schultz, No. 737 at $2.5 billion, up $400 million.
–Telecom pioneer Craig McCaw, No. 1,054 at $1.8 billion, unchanged.
To round out the Washington state contingent, Oakley sunglasses founder James Jannard, who lives in the San Juan Islands, is ranked No. 462 at $3.7 billion, up $600 million. Money manager Ken Fisher, who moved recently from high-state-income-tax California to the Vancouver suburb of Camas in no-state-income-tax Washington, ranks No. 663 at $2.8 billion, up $100 million.
The nine from the area, none New To Seattle, saw their collective net worth rise $11 billion, or about 7%. Sure beats T-bills.