The Founder of Zara May Have Just Become the World’s Richest Man
Just weeks after Bill Gates’ estimated net worth was said to hit a record high, the billionaire behind Spanish clothing giant Zara has dethroned the Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder, according to Forbes.
The magazine reports that Amancio Ortega’s net worth reached somewhere “from $77.8 billion to $79.5 billion” on Wednesday, taking the number one spot from Gates, whose wealth Forbes estimated at $78.5 billion. According to those findings, shares in Ortega’s umbrella company Inditex (ZTSTF)—which owns Zara and fellow clothing retailers Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear—helped Ortega notch another $1.7 billion that day.
Of course, there are different ways of measuring net worth, as the dispute over GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s fortunes continually reminds us. In this case, a look at Bloomberg’s Billionaires index shows Gates still riding high at number one with an estimated $89.7 billion, with Ortega substantially trailing behind at a projected $79.2 billion. (As of press time, the page had last been updated on Sept. 8, the same day as Forbes’ report.)
Fortune’s Don Reisinger reported on the recent hike in Gates’ estimated net worth in August, writing:
Gates is by far the world’s wealthiest person. His net worth includes both cash and stock in several companies including, of course, Microsoft …
Gates’ wealth has grown substantially in 2016, according to Bloomberg. At the beginning of the year, his net worth was around $75 billion. Since then, he has added about $15 billion. The world’s second-wealthiest individual, Spanish retail executive Amancio Ortega, is worth more than $76 billion, which means that Gates holds a comfortable lead.
To squabble over which is the world’s richest billionaire might be missing the point. Whichever he is, both men can be lauded for their accomplishments. After all, in the first year Ortega was christened on Forbes’ billionaires list—2001—he had a net worth of $6.6 billion, according to the magazine. And so, whether his wealth now stands at $79.5 billion or a mere $79.2 billion, Ortega sure has a lot to show for his work since.