Buffett rises to top as Microsoft boss’ stock holdings are hit by Yahoo bid

By Matthew Miller

March 05, MSNBC

Warren Buffett is the richest man on the planet.

Riding the surging price of Berkshire Hathaway stock, America's most beloved investor has seen his fortune swell to an estimated $62 billion, up $10 billion from a year ago. That massive pile of scratch puts him ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who was the richest man in the world for 13 straight years.

Gates is now worth $58 billion and is ranked third in the world. He is up $2 billion from a year ago, but would have been perhaps as rich — or richer — than Buffett had Microsoft not made an unsolicited bid for Yahoo! at the beginning of February.

Microsoft shares fell 15 percent between Jan. 31, the day before the company announced its bid for the search engine giant, and Feb. 11, the day we locked in stock prices for the 2008 World's Billionaires list. More than half of Gates' fortune is held outside of Microsoft shares.

Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú is the world's second-richest man, with an estimated net worth of $60 billion. His fortune has risen $11 billion since last March.

Buffett, whose fortune is estimated based on his stake in Berkshire Hathaway and assets he holds outside the company, refused to comment on his net worth.

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photo: Microsoft boss Bill Gates was the world's richest man for 13 years. Don't cry for him, he's still worth an estimated $58 billion according to Forbes (Ted S. Warren / AP file)