Date
16 December 2017
World's second-richest man Warren Buffett holds his cards close to his chest during a bridge game. Photo: Bloomberg
World's second-richest man Warren Buffett holds his cards close to his chest during a bridge game. Photo: Bloomberg

Buffett regains spot as second-richest man

For years, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his occasional bridge partner Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., held on to the top two spots on the list of the world’s richest people. 

Then Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim muscled in on their cozy double act and even dethroned Gates at one point, before falling back to No. 2.

Now Buffett has regained his position as the world’s second-richest person after Berkshire’s share price reached a record high, Bloomberg reports.

The stock of the Omaha, Nebraska-based firm has soared 27 percent this year as the dozens of operating businesses Buffett bought over the past five decades churned out record profits.

“The all-time closing high stock price today is due to a widening appreciation of what Berkshire really is, a fortress,” Buffett biographer Andrew Kilpatrick said in an e-mail after the Class A shares closed on the New York Stock Exchange Friday at US$225,640 apiece.

Buffett’s fortune is now worth US$73.7 billion, US$300 million more than Slim’s.

The stock of America Movil, the mobile-phone company Slim controls, is up 6 percent for the year.

He needs to divest a big chunk of the firm’s assets in Mexico to reduce its market share below 50 percent so as to avoid penalties the government recently introduced in a reform of the telecommunications market. The new rules also force America Movil to cut its fees and share infrastructure with its rivals.

Gates and Buffett are among the world’s best-known philanthropists.

 

Buffett began donating his Berkshire stock to charity in 2006, reaping considerable tax benefits over the years.

But if he had held onto all his shares of the company, which he took over 50 years ago, he’d have a fortune of more than US$110 billion.

That would fund a lot of bets on bridge games, if Buffett was a gambling man.

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