From Seattle area, one on, one off, new Forbes 400 list

Forbes 400The new Forbes 400 list of the, well, 400 richest Americans was released today. Led again by Bill Gates, the Seattle-area contingent still numbers eight, including four of the top 26. But there’s been a slight change in the lineup.

Gabe Newell, the co-founder of Valve Corp., the video game store, is on the list for the first time at No. 307, with a net worth of $2.2 billion. He’s been on previous Forbes lists of the world’s billionaires (put at $1.3 billion in March, so he’s had a good half-year ride). But that list includes any billionaire. The U.S., on the other hand, is so lousy with billies that not all of them can make the Forbes 400.

And indeed, one of the missing billionaires from Seattle is Bruce Nordstrom, the retired CEO of Nordstrom Inc. Last year, he and his sister, Anne Gittinger, were tied for No. 386, each with net worths of $1.3 billion. This year, Gittinger is still on the list at No. 392 with a net worth of $1.7 billion, a nice 31% increase. Nordstrom is absent (although still on the worldwide list). As it turns out, No. 392 is last place, with nine persons tied. Nordstrom proxy statements have suggested Bruce was a little lighter in company stock than his sister, so he just missed, even though his net worth went up 22%. There’s always next year.

The fortune of Gates, the world’s richest man, rose $4 billion in a year to $76 billion. Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos saw his stash rise 72% in one year by nearly $20 billion–an astounding sum–from $27.2 billion to $47 billion and his rank from No. 12 to No. 4.

The others around Seattle:

Steve Balmer, ex-Microsoft CEO and current Los Angeles Clippers owner, No. 21 (unchanged) with $21.6 billion, up 20% from last year’s $18 billion.

Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner, No. 26 (unchanged) with $17.8 billion, 13% higher than last year’s $15.8 billion.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, No. 227 at $2.9 billion, nearly double last year’s assessment of $1.5 billion and No. 311 ranking.

Craig McCaw, veteran telecom tycoon, No. 358 with $1.9 billion, 6% more than $1.8 billion last year, when he was ranked No. 314.

With Gates and Bezos leading the way, the collective net worth of the the Seattle-area team rose 23%., more than $30 billion. Still, it’s a cruel truth; a bil just ain’t what it used to be.

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