World's Richest Gain $5.9 Billion as Grocer Albrecht Dies

The 100 wealthiest people on the planet added $5.9 billion to their collective net worth this week as global markets inched upward amid concerns about U.S. budget negotiations and slowing economic growth in Germany.

Carlos Slim, the world’s richest person, gained $308 million during the week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Mexican telecommunications tycoon, 72, is confronting a mounting backlash from the same Latin American countries that made him wealthy as authorities rein in his expanding mobile-phone empire. Mexico’s new president pledged last week to stimulate competition against Slim. He is worth $73.3 billion.

“The sectors that are most tightly connected to global economic growth are falling,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago, which oversees about $66 billion in assets, said in a phone interview. “Technology shares are off so much. Those tend to be attached to individuals more, say, than the bank stocks, which are advancing.”

Payrolls in the U.S. rose more than anticipated and the jobless rate fell to an almost four-year low in November, indicating the labor market withstood the impact of superstorm Sandy. Employment climbed by 146,000 following a revised 138,000 gain in October that was less than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed yesterday in Washington. The median estimate of 91 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 85,000.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.13 percent during the week to close at 1418.07 in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 1.23 percent, closing at 279.17.

Albrecht Dies

Berthold Albrecht, whose inheritance of half of closely held supermarkets Aldi Nord and Trader Joe’s from his father placed him on the Bloomberg ranking with a $10.7 billion fortune, was removed from the ranking after reports of his death surfaced. He was 58.

Albrecht was buried last month in a private ceremony attended by close family and friends, according to a full-page death notice from his wife Babette published in Handelsblatt newspaper yesterday.

The billionaire’s passing may make his wife and children billionaires too, according to a lawyer who advises on German foundation law.

“If you have a normal relationship to your family, everyone gets something, your wife and your children,” said Dr. Hedda Hoffmann-Steudner, the head of the legal department at Berlin-based Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen, a non-profit organization representing the interests of German foundations. “There’s no standard way in Germany for the value being inherited to the next generation. It depends on every person, what he or she decides.”

Buffett, Ortega

Albrecht was father to five children, including quadruplets -- three boys and a girl -- born in 1990. Their names could not be confirmed. His uncle, Karl Albrecht, 92, is the richest person in Germany with a net worth of $22.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking, down $236 million for the week.

Retail billionaire Dieter Schwarz, 73, who controls the Lidl and Kaufland supermarket chains, is worth $20 billion. He is the country’s second-richest person, off $160 million. Lidl and Aldi are competitors.

Europe’s richest man, Amancio Ortega, the 76-year-old founder of Inditex SA, the world’s biggest clothing retailer and owner of the Zara clothing chain, is No. 3 on the list with a net worth of $53.7 billion, $6.9 billion ahead of Warren Buffett, 82.

Laurene Powell Jobs, the 49-year-old widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, lost $347 million. Apple shares plummeted 8.9 percent during the week, and are down 24 percent since hitting their all-time high in September. Her fortune is valued at $10 billion.

’Thermonuclear War’

Samsung Electronics Co. yesterday urged a judge to reject Apple Inc.’s escalation of “thermonuclear war” by denying the iPhone maker’s request for a permanent U.S. sales ban on more than 25 Samsung products.

“Apple has changed every day since I have been here. But the DNA of the company, the thing that makes our heart beat, is a maniacal focus on making the best products in the world,” Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. “Not good products, or a lot of products, but the absolute best products in the world.”

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. The valuations are listed in U.S. dollars.

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