World’s Wealthiest Gain as Persson Adds $1.9 Billion

The world’s wealthiest people added a combined $3 billion to their collective net worth this week as Swedish retail tycoon Stefan Persson, 64, became the third-richest man in Europe.

Hennes & Mauritz AB, Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, surged 9.62 percent for the week after the company posted its biggest profit increase in seven quarters. Persson’s fortune jumped $1.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is worth $24.2 billion, $16.1 billion behind Amancio Ortega of Spain.

Persson’s rise came as Greece’s parliamentary elections failed to convince investors that politicians will be able to tame Europe’s financial woes.

“Spain is weighing heavily on investor sentiment,” said Kristen Scarpa, a New York-based investment strategist at Barclays Wealth Management, in a June 22 e-mail. “Its troubled banks remain on the hook as the buyer of last resort for government debt, feeding investor fears about whether Spain the sovereign will be next in line.”

Spain’s 10-year yield rose to a record high of 7.29 percent on June 18, after an increase in bad Spanish loans fueled concern the debt crisis is deepening. On June 22, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s economic index reported the worst contraction in manufacturing in almost a year, while other reports showed existing home sales decreased more than forecast and jobless claims topped estimates.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.58 percent for the week to close at 1,335.02 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.97 percent, closing at 246.58.

Slim, Buffett

Carlos Slim, 72, remains No. 1 in the world with a net worth of $69.1 billion. The telecommunications tycoon gained $2.55 billion in the week, as shares of his Mexico City-based wireless carrier America Movil SAB leapt 4.05 percent.

On June 21, the company disclosed it had increased its stake in Royal KPN NV, the former Dutch phone monopoly, to 21 percent, up from 8.7 percent. Slim, who agreed to acquire 21 percent of Telekom Austria AG on June 15, is taking advantage of distressed prices in Europe to expand America Movil’s assets beyond Latin America, where it’s the biggest carrier.

Bill Gates is almost $8 billion behind Slim. The 56-year-old Microsoft Corp. co-founder’s fortune eked out a $256 million gain as shares of the Redmond, Washington-based company rose 2.27 percent. Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablet computer on June 18, to compete with Apple Inc.’s iPad. Number three on the index is Warren Buffett, 81, with a net worth of $45.7 billion.

Eike Batista, Brazil’s richest man, agreed to sell a 49 percent stake in his AUX gold business to the Qatar Investment Authority for about $2 billion. The mining and energy magnate decided to sell the AUX stake after shelving plans to take the company public. The 55-year-old saw his fortune drop 3.3 percent, to $24.5 billion. He ranks 13th on the list.

Ellison’s Island

The fortune of Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer of Facebook Inc., the world’s most-popular social networking company, has soared 22 percent in the past two weeks. Facebook’s rally has helped the company avoid posting the biggest slump among the largest U.S. initial public offerings since the beginning of 2011. The 28-year-old ranks 34th in the world with a net worth of $16.8 billion.

Larry Ellison, the 67-year-old chief executive officer of Redwood City, California-based Oracle Corp., filed an application to buy 98 percent of the Hawaiian island of Lanai on June 19.

Hawaii’s sixth-largest island includes two resort hotels, two championship golf courses and club houses, more than 88,000 acres of land, including a 600-acre residential development, a solar farm and parks.

The transaction is valued in the “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the application filed with Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission. The software mogul gained $415 million this week as shares of Oracle rose 1.08 percent. He ranks sixth on the list.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE