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list — the work, they say, of more than 40 reporters in 13 countries toiling for the better part of a year — is already out of date.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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