Koch Brothers Worth $100 Billion Lead Oil Moguls on Rise

SCENE NY KOVNER ACKERMANN
David Koch of Koch Industries and Julia Koch attend the Metropolitan Opera’s opening gala in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The world’s 400 richest people added $74.7 billion to their collective wealth this week as the U.S. labor market capped the biggest three-month jobs gain in 17 years.

Much of the gain was fueled by oil. Brent crude climbed more than 9 percent, adding to an 8.6 percent gain last week. It’s still about half the price it was in June.

Oil’s rise pushed the combined net worth of Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who run Wichita, Kansas-based Koch Industries Inc., to $100 billion as the commodity headed for its biggest two-week rally since March 1998.

“They’re probably feeling a sense of relief that we didn’t go below $40 a barrel,” Andrew Lipow, president of Houston-based energy consultant Lipow Oil Associates LLC, said in a phone interview. “They’re hopeful that prices will begin to recover over the course of this year.”

The political network overseen by the Koch’s aims to raise almost $1 billion in the run up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The fundraising goal of $889 million was announced on Jan. 26 at a Koch-organized summit of 450 wealthy donors and small-government activists in Palm Springs, California.

The brothers are the 5th- and 6th-richest people in the world.

The net worth of Harold Hamm, founder and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc., rebounded after falling $5.7 billion last year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. With Continental stock up 22 percent for the year, Hamm’s fortune has swelled by $950 million to $11.6 billion.

Biggest Gainer

The week’s biggest dollar gainer was Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett. The world’s second-richest man added $2.9 billion to his fortune. The 84-year-old’s Omaha, Nebraska-based company was up 4.2 percent for the week, elevating his net worth to $73.5 billion.

Bill Gates remains the world’s wealthiest person, controlling a $83.5 billion fortune. The 59-year-old donated $1.5 billion of Microsoft Corp. stock to the Gates Foundation Asset Trust, according a foundation spokeswoman.

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation was part of a group of new pledges that committed $7.5 billion to Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, the world’s biggest funder of vaccines for developing countries.

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.

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