Ellison's worth nearly halved, Gates still richest

Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison probably saw it coming, but now it's in print. He dropped two spots on Forbes Magazine's list of the richest people in the world as his net worth plummeted from US$47 billion last year to $26 billion this year.

Ellison seemingly has no chance of catching up with the world's richest man: The top spot for the seventh consecutive year belongs to his arch-rival Bill Gates, co-founder and chief software architect of Microsoft. Gates is worth $58.7 billion, down a mere $1.3 billion from last year, according to Forbes, which published the list on Thursday.

Ellison is now the world's fourth richest man. His misfortune, due to the sharp fall of Oracle stock, put Paul Allen, the other Microsoft co-founder, in third place with $30.4 billion, up from $28 billion in 2000. The world's second richest man, investor Warren Buffet with $32.3 billion, last year took fourth place with $25.6 billion after Gates, Ellison and Allen (in order of net worth).

But it's not all about technology; in fifth place, as last year, are Germans Theo and Karl Albrecht, owners of discount supermarket chain Aldi Inc.

Forbes found 538 billionaires from 46 countries with an average net worth of $3.2 billion. Some 46 percent saw their fortunes increase, while 37 percent watched them decline, according to Forbes.

The Forbes list of the world's richest people can be viewed online at www.forbes.com/2001/06/21/billionairesindex.html

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