Economy. The smell of scandal in the Forbes billionaires ranking
Double Kokoriko. “Forbes” magazine announced the ranking of the world’s richest people in January. Whether it’s a monthly Top 10 or a real-time ranking, Bernard Arnault (LVMH) takes the top spot. First female, 12 years olde place, none other than Françoise Bettencourt (L’Oréal). Seven out of ten billionaires are Americans.
Bernard Arnault is the head of the luxury family group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), which owns about 75 brands such as Christian Dior, Sephora, Loewe, Fendi, Celine, Givenchy, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Dom Pérignon, Ruinart, Bulgari. , Chaumet, Tiffany & Co… The Arnault family has been in Forbes’ Top 5 for a long time.
If you think that the monthly ranking is less important than the annual ranking, that is far from the case here. Because it reflects the numerous scandals and spectacular losses that have occurred in recent months – Elon Musk, the fall of Ghafam – or the last days – Gautam Adani.
So, when we compare it with the 2022 ranking of Forbes, we can observe the fall of only 6 members of the Top 10: Elon Musk (then it was 1).er), Jeff Bezos (2e), Bill Gates (4e), Larry Page (6e), Sergey Brin (7e) and Steve Ballmer.
Elon Musk made a big loss
Elon Musk at the top of the magnificent waterfall. His fortune was estimated at 200.6 billion euros in 2022. Currently, it is 163.3 billion. It is almost twice less than in 2021, which was 293.1 billion euros.
Ever since he bought Twitter, the billionaire has been making risky decisions. This was reflected in the share prices of his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX. But his Tesla shares make up the bulk of his wealth. And from November 2021 to January 31, 2023, they decreased by 50%.
For Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Steve Ballmer (a former Microsoft executive), the crisis facing the tech giants was there. Be it Amazon, Alphabet (Google) or Microsoft, they all announced mass layoffs. Reason ? After two years of “spectacular” growth and comprehensive hiring, the “economic context is different,” marked by high inflation and rising interest rates. However, their wealth is partly made up of their share of the stock market. Hence the decrease in income.
And Mark Zuckerberg? The emblematic boss of Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp…) is gone from 5e On March 23, 2021e place last month. For the same reasons as their counterparts in Silicon Valley.
Gautam Adani, the most surprising autumn
But this week, all eyes are on Gautam Adani. Within a few weeks, the leader of the Indian group Adani Group took the third place in the real-time Top 10 from Forbes. His rise was obvious. But that was before the scandal.
Gautam Adani, 60, has seen his empire grow at breakneck speed, with the share price of Adani Enterprises rising more than 1,000% in the past five years. The tycoon made a fortune in ports and commodity trading. He now heads India’s third-largest conglomerate, with interests ranging from coal mining and edible oils to airports and media.
However, on January 24, American investment firm Hindenburg Research announced a shock investigation accusing the group of accounting fraud and “brazen manipulation of shares and a system of accounting fraud over several decades”. Those who claim they are the victims of a “malicious” attack aimed at damaging the Adani group’s reputation have denied it.
Within a week, the value of the listed companies of the conglomerate lost 104 billion dollars, and Adani’s personal wealth decreased by tens of billions of dollars. On Thursday evening, several courses of its titles are still open.
from 3e on the 17the rise for a week
The group on Tuesday canceled the $2.5 billion subsequent public offering (FPO) of Adani Enterprises shares, which was oversubscribed a day earlier, as the struggling tycoon felt it was “morally wrong to continue the operation”.
The sale was supposed to help reduce the company’s troubling debt levels and restore confidence by expanding its shareholder base. “The fundamentals of our business are very strong, our balance sheet is healthy and our assets are solid,” Mr Adani personally insisted in a video released on Thursday.
However, banks such as Credit Suisse or Citigroup stopped accepting the conglomerate’s bonds as collateral for margin loans to their clients. Put simply, Adani shares can no longer be used as collateral as their future is uncertain.
The effect is also political. India’s parliament had to adjourn early on Thursday after repeated speeches by lawmakers demanding the government’s Adani debate and the level of exposure of public sector banks and financial institutions. Because India fears that the fall of the tycoon will drag the country down with it…
Now, Gautam Adani is gone from 3e 17th in the real-time ranking of billionairese post this Thursday evening. And it should continue its descent. More than ever, Forbes’ world’s 10 richest people reflect tsunamis, not waves, of the global economy.