By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
March 11, 2010

His net worth is a rapidly moving target, thanks to his holdings in Apple and Disney

Forbes‘ list of The World’s Billionaires, published Thursday, estimated Steve Jobs’ net worth at $5.5 billion, which made him the 136th richest person in the world.

But by their own admission, the list — the work, they say, of more than 40 reporters in 13 countries toiling for the better part of a year — is already out of date. It’s a snapshot of wealth taken Feb. 12, and since then share prices have risen considerably — few more rapidly than Apple’s.

Jobs is a lot richer today than he was on Feb. 12 — nearly $580 million richer, at least on paper — thanks partly to his Apple (AAPL) shares, but mostly to his holdings in Disney (DIS).

According to the two companies’ proxy statements, the bulk of Jobs’ net worth is in the form of preferentially owned stock:

  • 5.426 million shares of Apple (most of it from a 2003 grant of 10 million shares, later reduced to pay taxes)
  • 138 million shares of Disney (from when Disney acquired Pixar)

In the 18 trading days weeks since Forbes took its financial snapshot, Apple has climbed $24.46 (as of Wednesday’s close) while Disney gained $3.23. But because Jobs’ net worth is so much more closely tied to Disney than to Apple, those $3 and change carry a lot of weight in his portfolio. Bottom line: by Wednesday night, Jobs’ holdings had increased in value …

  • from Apple:   $132.72 milion
  • from Disney: $445.74 million
  • total:               $578.46 million

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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