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Gates falls from top of world's rich list

The drop in the value of Microsoft shares after Yahoo rejected its bid has seen Bill Gates fall to third place in global wealth rankings
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Written by Natasha Lomas on

Microsoft's unsolicited $44.6bn (£22.1bn) bid to take over Yahoo not only led to the ignominy of public rejection when the search giant snubbed the offer, the rejection also rippled loudly and publicly through Microsoft's share price.

But now the bid has caused something else to take a tumble; the drop in the value of Microsoft shares has knocked Bill Gates off his perch atop Forbes' rich-list, ending his unbroken 13-year run as the world's richest human.

According to Forbes, Microsoft shares fell 15 percent between 31 January — the day before it announced its bid for Yahoo — and 11 February, when Forbes took its snapshot of share prices for the 2008 World's Billionaires list.

Forbes believes the outgoing Microsoft chairman is now worth $58bn — up $2bn from a year ago and enough to take bronze in the global fat-cat stakes. Top of the list is Warren Buffett, Gates' sometimes bridge partner and chairman of holdings company Berkshire Hathaway, who has a fortune estimated at $62bn, up $10bn from a year ago.

Number two in the world is Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos Silm Helu, worth an estimated $60bn. The rest of the top 10 includes metal moguls, an Indian real-estate giant and the founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad.

Oracle chief Larry Ellison made it to number 14 on the list, with $25bn to his name. Ellison has dropped three places since last year, despite being $3.5bn richer.

Setting out his own stall on billionaire's row is Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of social-networking site Facebook.

Zuckerberg earned the accolade of being the world's youngest billionaire, with his relatively modest $1.5bn at 23 years of age. Forbes speculated that Zuckerberg "might just be the youngest self-made billionaire in history", adding that 2008 is "a record-breaking year for young billionaires".

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