Media, Net add up on Forbes list


With $12.6 billion, Anne Cox Chambers of Cox Enterprises fame is the richest American whose fortune is tied to the media industry, but that's only if you don't count the Internet as "media."

Forbes magazine listed its wealthiest 400 Americans on Thursday and -- to no surprise -- Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was No. 1, followed by uber-investor Warren Buffett.

The list contains 37 people who made their fortunes in media -- or inherited them from a relative who did. Cox Chambers is No. 24 on the Forbes 400.

Also near the top are Charles Ergen of EchoStar at No. 27 with $10.2 billion, Rupert Murdoch of News Corp. at No. 33 with $8.8 billion and Sumner Redstone of Viacom at No. 41 with $7.6 billion.

The richest among the DreamWorks SKG trio is still David Geffen with $6 billion, while Steven Spielberg has $3 billion and Jeffrey Katzenberg apparently didn't have the minimum $1.3 billion to make the list. Paul Allen, a DreamWorks investor and the other Microsoft co-founder is No. 11 on the list with $16.8 billion.

Other notables on the list include George Lucas ($3.9 billion), "Power Rangers" creator Haim Saban ($3.4 billion), Oprah Winfrey ($2.5 billion), Barry Diller ($1.5 billion) and Roy Disney ($1.4 billion).

With considerably less than he had before the ill-fated AOL merger with Time Warner, Ted Turner also makes the list, at No. 195 with $2.3 billion.

In new media, which Forbes considers "technology," Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page are tied at No. 5 with $18.5 billion each and Yahoo founders David Filo and Jerry Yang are much further down the list with $2 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. founder Jeffrey Bezos has $8.7 billion and Apple founder (and the largest Disney shareholder) Steve Jobs has $5.7 billion, less than Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who has $6.5 billion.

The average net worth of folks on the list is $3.8 billion and their collective wealth is $1.54 trillion.

While only Americans are eligible, Forbes notes that Gates, with $59 billion, may or may not be the richest person in the world, depending on which day it is and where Microsoft stock is trading. Challenging him for the title is Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telephone billionaire who has stakes in Univision Communications, Grupo Televisa and other media outfits.

When the list was compiled, Slim Helu was a scant $500 million behind Gates, and Forbes noted that a $2 drop in MIcrosoft shares could cause Gates to be just the second-wealthiest man in the world.