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Science & Tech: Ex Microsoft Ceo Steve Ballmer Is Now Richer

SCIENCE & TECH: Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is now richer than founder Bill Gates

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Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has leapfrogged Bill Gates on the list of world’s richest people — the first time that the company co-founder’s fortune has been eclipsed by one of his former underlings.

Ballmer, the boisterous owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers who succeeded Gates as Microsoft CEO in 2000, moved up to sixth on Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which estimated his net worth at $157.2 billion.

Gates, who has retreated from the corporate board and has focused on philanthropic endeavors, has a net worth valued at $156.7 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, has a net worth of $157 billion, according to Bloomberg. Getty Images

The 68-year-old Gates’ fortune has partly taken a hit from his divorce as well as funneling billions of dollars to build up the $75 billion Gates Foundation, one of the biggest charitable organizations in the world, the outlet noted.

Ballmer, meanwhile, has seen his net worth soar as Microsoft benefits from the artificial intelligence rally that has made it the most valuable company in the world, with a $3.3 trillion market cap.

He is Microsoft’s largest shareholder — owning an estimated 333.25 million shares — or around 4% — of the company.

While 90% of Ballmer’s fortune is linked to his stake in Microsoft, his other main asset is the Clippers, which are valued at around $4.5 billion.

Gates is the second-largest shareholder of Microsoft stock with 102.99 million shares, according to SEC filings.

As of Monday, Ballmer’s net worth was higher than that of his former boss, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Getty Images

He derives around half his wealth from his holding company, Cascade Investment, which owns stakes in several firms spanning a number of industries including hospitality, agriculture, waste management, retail, car dealerships and food.

Last month, Gates was in Wyoming to break ground on the construction of a nuclear power plant that will be built by his energy company, TerraPower.

In 2021, he divorced his wife of 27 years, Melinda French Gates. At the time divorce papers were filed, Bill Gates had an estimated net worth of $130 billion.

The couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement before they wed. Terms of the divorce settlement were not disclosed.

In May, French Gates announced that she was stepping down as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates and Ballmer are seen above at a Microsoft event in 2006. VIA BLOOMBERG NEWS

As part of French Gates’ separation from the charity, she received $12.5 billion from her ex-husband which she plans to use for her own philanthropic endeavor.

The pair divorced following reports of the former’s philandering as well as his highly publicized friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

In 2021, Gates divorced his ex-wife, Melinda French Gates (seen above). REUTERS
Earlier this year, Melinda French Gates stepped down as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. REUTERS

Gates co-founded Microsoft with the late Paul Allen in 1975. He hired Ballmer, his Harvard classmate, five years later, becoming the company’s 30th employee and first business manager.

In the last 12 months, the software giant’s stock price has risen by nearly 35% — outpacing the S&P 500 index and its 23% gain over the last year.

Under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has positioned itself as a leader in cloud computing as well as integration of artificial intelligence systems into its product suite.

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