Thursday, July 24, 2014
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America's richest got a lot wealthier, says Forbes

Billionaires with Philly ties were part of the rising tide.

Tesla Motors and Space-X founder Elon Musk, a Penn grad, saw his fortune more than double over a year, according to Forbes´ 2013 ranking of the 400 richest Americans. Photo was taken in Las Vegas at title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tesla Motors and Space-X founder Elon Musk, a Penn grad, saw his fortune more than double over a year, according to Forbes' 2013 ranking of the 400 richest Americans. Photo was taken in Las Vegas at title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Tesla Motors and Space-X founder Elon Musk, a Penn grad, saw his fortune more than double over a year, according to Forbes´ 2013 ranking of the 400 richest Americans. Photo was taken in Las Vegas at title fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Gallery: Richest Americans With Philly Ties

The rich got richer over the past year, and that includes a couple of dozen billionaires with history in the Philadelphia area.

According to Forbes’ annual list of the wealthiest Americans, the top 400 saw their collective wealth rise about $300 billion, or about 750 million each.

That average gain is bigger than any Powerball jackpot ever.

 “The 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02 trillion, roughly equivalent to the GDP of Russia.” writes Luisa Kroll of Forbes.

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  • That means the overall rate of increase was a whopping 15 percent.

    New to the list are Michael Rubin, an online retail-services mogul who lives in Bryn Mawr, and brewmeister Richard Yuengling Jr. of Pottsville, Schuylkill County. Since Rubin’s debut on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires in February, his estimated wealth has risen from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion. Rubin, who has a financial stake in the Sixers, owns nearly three-fourths percent of online clothing retailer Fanatics, which “was recently valued at $3.1 billion in a venture round,” according to Forbes. Yuengling’s number bubbled up from $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion, or by about $100 million.

    Richard Hayne, the Philly resident who founded Urban Outfitters, is now worth $1.8 billion, way up from $1.1 billion just a year and half ago, finally back to the valuation estimated in October 2008, says Forbes.

    Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, the Campbell’s Soup Heiress who lives in Coatesville, is the richest area resident. Her worth rose to $3.1 billion, also up about $700 million from a year ago.

    Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie made the Forbes list two years ago, but not after his last year’s divorce. On the list, though, are Joshua Harris, the most visible of the Sixers owners and a Wharton grad, with $2.5 billion (up $900 million) and ex-Eagles owner and Temple grad Norman Braman, with $1.9 billion (up $300 million).

    See gallery: "Richest Americans With Philly Ties"

    Sixty-one billionaires couldn't even make the list, because the cutoff rose to $1.3 billion. That’s how Valley Forge-born designer Tory Burch could be on the February billionaires list, but not among the Forbes 400.

    The person who gained the most in the last 12 months was investment titan Warren Buffet, who attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School for a couple of years in the late 1940s.  His worth went up by $12.5 billion, though he still finished No. 2, with $58.5 billion, well back of Bill Gates’ $72 billion.

    Some other big gainers with local ties:

    No. 15, candy company heiress Jacqueline Mars, a Bryn Mawr College grad, is worth $20.5 billion, up from $17 billion a year ago.

    No. 27, investor/philanthropist Ronald Perelman, a graduate of Cheltenham High, Penn and Wharton, is valued at $14 billion, up from $12 billion.

    No. 54, Blackstone Group co-founder and CEO Stephen Schwarzman, who was student council president at Abington High, is worth $7.7 billion, up from $5.2 billion.

    No. 61, Tesla Motors and Space-X inventreprenuer Elon Musk, a Penn grad, is worth $6.7 billion, way up from $2.4 billion last September. He recently made headlines by proposing a HyperLoop high-speed transport system in California.

    Also profiting greatly were two Princeton grads, Amazon chairman Jeff Bezos (No. 12, up $4 billion to $27.2 billion) and “activist investor” Carl Icahn (No. 18, up $5.5 billion to $20.3 billion).

    Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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