Internet billionaires top Forbes list


NEW YORK -- Internet entrepreneurs are leading the way for billionaires in the entertainment industry on Forbes Magazine's annual list of the world's billionaires, which the magazine unveiled Thursday.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates tops the list, with his former partner and Charter Communications chairman and controlling shareholder, Paul Allen, and Google's Larry Page and Sergey Brin also ranking in the top 30.

Gates is number one on the business magazine's list for the thirteenth consecutive year with a net worth of $56 billion, up from $50 billion last year.

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet, who is donating much of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, came in second with a worth of $52 billion.

Allen is 19th on this year's list with an $18 billion net worth, down from number six last year with a $22 billion net worth.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin both came in at number 26 on the list, each of them worth $16.6 billion. Both increased their worth by $4 billion from last year.

With Brin being only 33 years old and Page being 34, Forbes associate editor Matthew Miller noted that they are currently on pace to be worth more than the 56-year-old Gates in a couple decades.

There were 946 billionaires overall this year, up by 153 from last year, with a total worth of $3.5 trillion, up $900 billion from 2006.

"The growth is a reflection of a dynamic global econonmy," said Steve Forbes, the magazine's editor-in-chief and CEO. "The best cure for poverty is free markets and free people."

Among entertainment moguls, former Italian prime minister and media entrepreneur Silvio Berlusconi and his family dropped from number 37 to 51, but with an $11.8 billion worth, they are up $800 million from 2006.

EchoStar Communications chairman and CEO Charles Ergen came in at number 62, worth $10 billion, up from number 80 with a $6.7 billion worth the year before.

It was a positive year for News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch as he increased his worth from $6.5 billion to $9 billion and leapfrogged CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc. chairman Sumner Redstone in the standings, who saw a $300 million increase in net worth to $8 billion.

Murdoch ranks 73rd on the list this year, up from 84, and Redstone finished at number 86, down from number 63.

Other entertainment industry notables on the list include Philip Anschutz, owner of the Anschutz Entertainment Group and Regal Entertainment Group, the country's largest theater chain, who came in at number 93, with a worth of $7.9 billion; Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and CEO and a member of Apple Inc.'s board, in spot 116 with a $6.2 billion worth; Apple CEO and Disney board member Steven Jobs at number 132 with a $5.7 billion net worth; and real estate entrepreneur Samuel Zell, who has been a suitor for Tribune Co., ranking 158th with a worth of $5 billion.

Also making the list were Dreamworks SKG co-founders David Geffen (167th with $4.7 billion) and Steven Spielberg (287th with $3 billion), "Star Wars" producer and director George Lucas (243th with $3.6 billion), Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan (336th with $2.7 billion), TV personality and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey (664th with $1.5 billion), BET founder Robert Johnson (840th with $1.1 billion), "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling (891th with $1 billion) and former Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner (891th with $1 billion).

Former corporate raider Carl Icahn, who led a shareholder revolt against Time Warner Inc., came in 42nd with a $13 billion worth, up over $4 billion from last year.

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