Simon Cowell Breaks Top 10 on Music Rich List as Fortune Grows

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell, the TV-show producer and music executive, has seen his wealth surge 38 percent to 200 million pounds ($331 million) in the last year. Photographer: Francis Specker/Bloomberg

Simon Cowell, the pop impresario known for TV shows such as “American Idol,” has amassed a fortune of 200 million pounds ($331 million), enough to propel him into the Top 10 of U.K. musical millionaires, the Sunday Times said.

Cowell, 51, increased his personal wealth by 35 million pounds over the past year, taking him to No. 6 from 11 in the music section of the Sunday Times Rich List, which will be published on May 8, the newspaper said.

“Simon Cowell owns a share of the programs he’s involved in as well as being in front of the camera,” Rich List editor Ian Coxon said yesterday in a telephone interview. “He’s busy behind the scenes and also responsible for many of the performers, so he’s making pots of money in all directions.”

The annual Sunday Times Rich List is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property and other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, and excludes bank accounts, the paper said.

The music millionaires are led by South African-born Clive Calder, with a 1.3 billion-pound fortune from the sale of Zomba Records in 2002. Andrew Lloyd Webber takes second place with 680 million pounds, even though he managed to drop 20 million pounds during the year, according to the Sunday Times. The third place is taken by his fellow impresario Cameron Mackintosh, whose wealth increased by 40 million pounds to 675 million pounds.

New entries include Moya Doherty and John McColgan (70 million pounds), who own the show “Riverdance,” and AC/DC’s lead singer, Brian Johnson (50 million pounds).

‘X Factor’

The soprano Katherine Jenkins, 30, with 13 million pounds, is the richest on the list of those aged 30 or under, followed by Cheryl Cole, a panelist with Cowell on “The X Factor” in the U.K., and Leona Lewis, who came first on that show in 2006.

A U.S. version of “The X Factor” is planned. It hasn’t yet been announced if Cole will appear as a judge. Cowell has left “American Idol” to work on the show.

Cole, Lewis and Katie Mehlua have 12 million pounds apiece, the paper said. The top new entry among the young millionaires is Adele, a joint ninth, with six million pounds. Taio Cruz and Florence Welch, each worth 5 million pounds, are also new.

The members of U2 have a combined fortune of 455 million pounds, up by 26 million pounds. They head the Irish music millionaires.

Edgar Bronfman, chairman and chief executive of Warner Music Group, who topped the music list last year, has returned to the U.S. and is excluded as a result, Coxon said.

The Sunday Times Rich List will appear in a supplement that profiles the 1,000 richest people and families in the U.K. and the top 250 in Ireland. It is compiled by Philip Beresford.

Here are the Top 30 music millionaires:

Ranking                       2011 Wealth   Change from 2010
1  Clive Calder               1.3 billion   No change
2  Andrew Lloyd Webber        680 million   -20 million
3  Cameron Mackintosh         675 million   +40 million
4  Paul McCartney             495 million   +20 million
5  Simon Fuller               375 million   +25 million
6  Simon Cowell               200 million   +35 million
7  Elton John                 195 million   +10 million
8  Mick Jagger                190 million   No change
9  Sting                      180 million   No change
10 Keith Richards             175 million   No change
11 Olivia and Dhani Harrison  170 million   +10 million
12 David and Victoria Beckham 165 million   +20 million
13 Jamie Palumbo              150 million   No change
13 Ringo Starr                150 million   +10 million
15 Tim Rice                   143 million   +3 million
16 Tom Jones                  140 million   +5 million
17 Eric Clapton               125 million   No change
18 Roger Ames                 120 million   No change
19 Phil Collins               115 million   +7 million
19 Rod Stewart                115 million   +10 million
21 Barry and Robin Gibb       110 million   No change
22 Roger Waters               105 million   +20 million
23 David Bowie                100 million   No change
24 Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne    95 million   No change
25 George Michael              90 million   No change
25 Robbie Williams             90 million   +5 million
27 David Gilmour               85 million   +7 million
27 Brian May                   85 million   +10 million
27 Charlie Watts               85 million   No change
30 Chris Blackwell             80 million   No change
30 Robert Plant                80 million   No change
30 Roger Taylor                80 million   +10 million

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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