How did ultra-affluent, highest net-worth wealth owners do in the markets of 2014? As business quickly wraps up its year-end financials, it is time to assess who were this year’s largest bull market gainers and bear market holders in their business interests, including banking, luxury marketing, and profit and not-for-profit affiliations.
Top 5 Biggest Bull Market Gainers in 2014
Photo Credit: Alibaba founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma
According to Wealth-X, the world’s leading ultra-high net worth intelligence and prospecting firm of curated research on ultra-wealthy individuals, having net assets of US$30 million and above, topping the list as the biggest bull market gainers of 2014 was Alibaba founder and executive chairman, Jack Ma, the former English teacher-turned billionaire entrepreneur. Ma’s fortune swelled by US$18.5 billion in gains this year to currently US$29.2 billion in 2014, representing an increase of 173%, largely due to Alibaba’s blockbuster Initial Public Offering in September and the subsequent strong performance of the company’s stock.
Photo Credit: Business Magnet, Warren Buffett
The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, ranked second on the Wealth-X list of this year’s top bull market gainers. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman raked in US$13.5 billion in gains in 2014, a 23% increase from his US$59.1 billion net worth in 2013, to push his current fortune to US$72.6 billion in 2014.
Photo Credit: World’s Richest Person, Bill Gates
Following up third on the Wealth-X list of top bull market gainers in 2014 is the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, who saw his 2013 net worth of US$72.6 billion increase 14% or US$10.5 billion in gains to his current nest egg of US$83.1 billion in 2014.
Photo Credit: Facebook Co-Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg
Fourth among the Wealth-X top bull market owners in 2014 is the “self-made” entrepreneurial co-inventor of Facebook, its co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whose 2013 personal net worth of US$24.7 billion rose 34% or US$8.4 billion in gains to currently US$33.1 billion, according to Wealth-X UHNW intelligence, as of December 2014.
At 29 years old, Zuckerberg’s fortune continually growing ongoing amounts to more than US$1 billion for each year of his life.
Zuckerberg’s net worth, including his shares in public and private companies, residential and personal investments, such as art, planes and real estate, is based on the most recent publicly-available disclosure of his shares and stock options in the Menlo Park, California social media firm.
According to the national Journal of Philanthropy, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg gave $498 million to a Silicon Valley community health foundation in 2013, the Portland Tribune reports.
Photo Credit: Chairman of Altice SA, Patrick Drahi
Finally, coming in fifth on the Wealth-X ranking of top bull market gainers in 2014 is Billionaire Newcomer, Patrick Drahi, chairman of Altice SA. Drahi has US$12.9 billion in net worth in 2014, up 65% or US$5.1 billion in gains from his 2013 net worth of US$7.8 billion.
According to Forbes, Drahi took Altice, the multinational telecommunications company he founded, public in January. Drahi oversaw Altice through 20 acquisitions of lagging cable and mobile operators, often at knockdown prices, in places like France, Belgium, Israel, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic.
Drahi joins a record 268 first-timer on Forbes annual listing of the World’s Billionaires. These 268 newcomer billionaires have a record net worth of about US$510 billion – roughly the GDP of Norway – including 42 women, the most ever, according to the wealth magazine. These newcomer billionaires amassed their fortunes largely from social media in Silicon Valley, real estate in China, and fashion in Nigeria. Fifty of these newcomer billionaires are based in the United States, followed by China (37), Germany (26) and Brazil (23), Forbes reports.
Top 5 Biggest Bear Market Holders in 2014
Photo Credit: Russian Energy Mogul, Leonid Mikhelson
Russian energy tycoon, Leonid Mikhelson, is the largest shareholder of a natural gas producer, Novatek, a chemical holding company, Sibur, and a small bank, Pervy Obyedinenny (First United).
According to Forbes, Mikhelson’s partner in Novatek and Sibur is Gennady Timchenko, the billionaire co-owner of energy sector trading company, Gunvor. In 2013 Timchenko and Mikhelson sold a 12% stake in Sibur to top management.
Leonid Mikhelson serves as the Chairman of the Board of OJSC Novatek and CJSC SIBUR Holding. Mr. Mikhelson began his career as a foreman of a construction and assembling company in Tyumen region, where he worked on the construction of the first section of Urengoi-Chelyabinsk gas pipeline.
Mikhelson lost the most money at US$7 billion, or 41% of his wealth, ranking Mikhelson at the top of the Wealth-X list of the biggest bear market holders in 2014, due to the plummeting Russian currency, weak oil prices, and economic sanctions imposed by the West over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Mikhelson’s fortune now stands at US$10 billion.
Photo Credit: Internet and Telecom Company, Softbank Founder, Masayoshi Son
Fourteen years ago, University of California Berkeley graduate, Masayoshi Son, now living in Tokyo, Japan, invested $20 million in Jack Ma’s Chinese e-commerce venture Alibaba, the biggest gainer in 2014 upon the wildly successful Initial Public Offering of Alibaba.
Four decades ago, Masayoshi Son founded Softbank, an Internet and telecom firm that has made over 1,300 investments in entrepreneurial venturing.
Currently, Son is publicly on the search for the next Alibaba’s Jack Ma and entrepreneurial “heroes” who create jobs in India, where he’s pledged to invest US$10 billion in global e-commerce in the next 10 years, Forbes reports.
With a 2013 net worth of US$19.1 billion, Son’s 31 percent losses of US$5.9 billion in 2014 shrunk his fortune to US$13.2 billion, ranking Son second on the Wealth-X list of the biggest bear market holders in 2014.
Photo Credit: Chinese Casino Mogul, Lui Che Woo
Lui Che Woo‘s wealth more than doubled this past year, as shares of his Galaxy Entertainment soared in Hong Kong. “Despite no experience in the casino business, his huge gamble in bidding US$1.1 billion for a Macau gaming license hit the jackpot. Galaxy’s market cap has already reached US$40 billion, and the company still has further room to grow with the largest plot of land of the 6 operators on the Cotai Strip. Lui also has plans to invest in Hengqin Island just across the mainland border. The octogenarian bought construction equipment left behind by U.S. forces after World War II that he imported to Hong Kong and used to start K. Wah Group in 1955,” according to Forbes.
Woo’s 2013 net worth of US$19.6 billion is a 28 percent loss of US$5.5 billion in 2014, decreasing his wealth to US$14.1 billion, which ranks Woo third among the top 5 biggest bear market holders in 2014.
Photo Credit: Amazon Chief, Jeff Bezos
American entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is the founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com. According to Biography.com, as the youngest senior vice president at the investment firm D.E. Shaw for four years, Bezos quit his senior executive post to start up a new online e-commerce venture called Amazon.com, an online bookstore that soon became one of the internet’s largest e-commerce superstores. In 2013, the Princeton University computer science and electrical engineering graduate purchased The Washington Post in a $250 million deal.
Bezos’ 16 percent losses of US$5.5 billion in 2014 reduced his 2013 net worth of US$34.4 billion to US$28.9 billion, ranking Bezos fourth among the top 5 biggest bear market holders in 2014.
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Hotel Industry Magnet, Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, parent company of Venetian Macao Limited, which operates the Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. Adelson’s source of wealth originates from his partnership in creating the trade show COMDEX for the computer industry. Adelson purchased and razed the legendary Sands hotel in Las Vegas, spending $1.5-billion to construct The Venetian, an all-suite Venice-themed resort hotel and casino, in its place. The creation of the Venetian revolutionized the Las Vegas hotel industry.
Having a 2013 net worth of US$35.3 billion, Adelson’s 15 percent losses of US$5.2 billion in 2014 reduced his fortune to US$30.1 billion, ranking Adelson last among the top 5 biggest bear market holders in 2014.
Nearly Six-Year Bull Market Run in the United States
In the United States, the multi-year bull market run continues at a record-breaking pace, as “the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 18,000 for the first time Tuesday, December 23, 2014, after data showed the U.S. economy posted its strongest growth in more than a decade … The Dow’s crossing of 18,000 is the latest milestone in the nearly six-year bull market. The move to 18,000 was the fifth-quickest 1000-point rise for the blue-chip index. It has been 119 trading days since the blue chips broke 17,000. The fastest 1000-point rise was in 1999, when the Dow jumped to 11,000 in just 24 trading days,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
The top 10 bull market gainers and bear market holders, privately managed billions in 2014, focusing the energies of their billion-dollar business successes simply along three dimensions: (1) producing quality products and innovating extraordinary services, (2) monitoring their customers for complete satisfaction, and (3) motivating their staff and employees to “do the right things,” and to “do things right.”
As a wise man once said, “It’s the oldest game, since the Pharaohs built the pyramids, privatize the gains, and socialize the losses.”
Remember, my son, that any man, who is a bear on the future of this country, will go broke.” — Quoted by the son of American financier, John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), at the Chicago Club, December 10, 1908.
The growth of a large [bull market] business is merely a survival of the fittest.” — John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839-1937), American capitalist and philanthropist
Appendix: Interesting Sidebar
An interesting aside is the top-ten ultra-high net worth wealthiest earners in the music industry worldwide in 2014. Dr. Dre was the highest-paid musician worldwide, as the biggest bull market gainer in the music industry in 2014, earning five times more than his nearest rival. He took home US$620 million before taxes, the biggest single-year earnings of any musician in history. This was primarily due to the highly publicized and talked about sale of his Beats headphones empire (which he co-founded) to Apple for US$3 billion.
Beyoncé, bringing in record-breaking wealth, ranked the second largest gainer in the music industry in 2014, earned US$115 million on her Mrs. Carter world tour, along with her new innovative marketing sensation of creating virility in online album sales.
Third biggest gainer in the music industry in 2014 is The Eagles, who earned US$100 billion throughout the year. According to Forbes, that’s more than Lady Gaga, Kanye West and Miley Cyrus combined.
Rounding out the list of top-ten ultra-high net-worth wealthiest bull market gainers in the music industry worldwide in 2014 (as shown in the above chart) are:
#4 Bon Jovi (US$82 million)
#5 Bruce Springsteen (US$81 million)
#6 Justin Bieber (US$80 million)
#7 One Direction (US$75 million)
#8 Paul McCartney (US$71 million)
#9 Calvin Harris (US$66 million)
#10 Toby Keith (US$65 million)
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