The world’s 300 richest people dropped $33 billion from their collective net worth this week as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index suffered its worst week since April.
Bucking the trend was Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who added $4.4 billion to his fortune after he announced plans to carve up his telecommunications empire. The billionaire said this week that his America Movil SAB, the Americas’ largest wireless operator with 272 million subscribers, is bowing to imminent antitrust legislation by selling assets in Mexico to reduce its dominant market share.
Slim is planning to spend more money in countries such as Brazil while placing bigger bets on industries like energy. The 74-year-old said he’s bullish on Mexico and the rest of Latin America, and plans to refocus his investments to take advantage of increasingly cheap borrowing costs.
“I’m optimistic that with the low interest rates in the long term, the opportunities to invest in our countries is significant,” Slim, said in an interview this week in his office in the Lomas neighborhood of Mexico City, before the breakup announcement. “We have to take advantage of this great window while it lasts.”
Slim and his family hold 57 percent of America Movil. His $76.2 billion fortune makes him the world’s second-richest person, trailing only Bill Gates, whose net worth fell to $83.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Another gainer was Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, who added $1.3 billion after the Telegraph newspaper, citing a “leading analyst,” wrote that Euro Disney SCA, the entertainment resort company just outside of Paris, will gain 32 million euros ($44 million) from a new attraction which opened on Thursday.
Kingdom Holding Co., the billionaire’s Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based investment company, has a 10 percent stake in Euro Disney, which runs seven hotels, a 27-hole golf course and two theme parks. Kingdom rose 5.8 percent during the week. The 59-year-old is the world’s 14th-richest person.
Some of the world’s billionaires were in Sun Valley, Idaho, during the week for the annual Allen & Co. gathering of business executives, where security personnel was said to be on alert for drones. Event staff members were watching the skies for unmanned aerial vehicles that could photograph, harass or harm attendees, according to two people familiar with the plans who asked not to be identified.
The conference draws some of the biggest names in technology and media. This year’s guest list includes Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, and Google Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt, all of whose companies have been investing in drone technology.
Elon Musk dropped $130 million this week after new questions were raised about the safety of his Tesla electric-car. A man who stole a Tesla Model S on July 4 in Los Angeles died from injuries sustained in a high-speed crash that hurt at least seven other people.
Crash-related fires involving two Model S sedans last year triggered a safety review by U.S. regulators, who required no changes to the $71,000 vehicle beyond the titanium shield Tesla added to strengthen the car’s battery pack. Musk has said that the crashworthiness of the Model S and absence of fatalities in last year’s accidents underscore the car’s safety.
This week Tesla was sued for trademark infringement by Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng. Baosheng, who registered the rights to the name before the U.S. carmaker entered China, is requesting that Tesla shut its showrooms, service centers and marketing activities in the country, according to a lawsuit filed July 3 in Beijing and seen by Bloomberg News.
The 43-year-old donated $1 million to help create a museum in honor of inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla, after whom Musk’s electric car company is named. Tesla, who died in 1943, was best known for his work with electric motors, X-rays, radio and his namesake Tesla coil.
Musk is ranked No. 114 on the Bloomberg ranking with a $10.8 billion fortune.
The week’s biggest loser was Amancio Ortega. Spain’s richest man owns 59 percent of Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer and parent of the Zara fashion chain. The Arteixo, Spain-based retailer fell 3.1 percent this week, lowering Ortega’s fortune to $64.3 billion. The 78-year-old remains the world’s fourth-richest person, $1.6 billion behind Warren Buffett.
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.