Li Ka-shing Overtakes LVMH’s Arnault as World’s 15th Richest

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Li Ka-shing added the most among billionaires yesterday following his $24 billion reorganization plan, overtaking LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA’s Bernard Arnault as the world’s 15th-richest person.

The 86-year-old tycoon added $2.2 billion yesterday as Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd.’s shares surged the most in more than six years, boosting his fortune to more than $30.4 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The gain also helped Li overtake Hennes & Mauritz AB’s Stefan Persson, Google Inc.’s Larry Page and Alibaba Holding Group Ltd.’s Jack Ma, who was previously Asia’s richest person.

Li’s proposal to restructure the assets of his companies into two new entities focusing on property and other assets from utilities and ports to retail stores won the approval of investors. Cheung Kong, which jumped 15 percent yesterday, extended gains today, rising 0.1 percent at the Hong Kong close.

“The restructuring makes the holding companies in a way more transparent for investors,” said Ryan Huang, a market strategist at IG Ltd. in Singapore, who expects that the share prices of the two companies could continue to advance.

More than half of Li’s wealth is derived from Cheung Kong, which had declined 4.2 percent this year before yesterday’s surge. Alibaba’s Ma, 50, last month briefly overtook Li as Asia’s wealthiest, the first change in Asia’s top spot since April 2012. The two billionaires have since been in a close race for the No. 1 position in the region, before the rise yesterday helped Li regain his spot as Asia’s wealthiest.

Arnault has a $30.4 billion fortune while H&M’s Persson is worth $28.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Page, who co-founded the world’s biggest search engine operator, has a net worth of $28.2 billion and Ma has $28.1 billion.

— With assistance by Jill Mao

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