BILLIONAIRES, STILL: If anyone needed reminding that these are tough times for billionaires too, Forbes’ annual billionaire list, which has shrunk from 1,125 to 793, was released Wednesday evening. One of those left out this time? Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, presumably because of shifting valuations of his company amid worries about monetizing social media.
Even those who kept a spot on the list saw their fortunes diminished, however. LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault is number 15 on the list at $16.5 billion, versus the $25.5 billion Forbes estimated on the 2008 list. L’Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt placed 21st on the list, with estimated net worth of $13.4 billion. Last year, the magazine guessed her wealth at $22.9 billion. Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren tied for 224th on the list, with $2.8 billion each, down from $5 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, according to the 2008 list.
This story first appeared in the March 12, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Brothers Donald and S.I. Newhouse Jr., whose holdings include Condé Nast Publications (parent company of WWD), are jointly listed at the 132nd spot, with $4 billion in estimated net worth — half of what Forbes estimated last year. They tied with News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, whose fortune also declined by about 50 percent. William Randolph Hearst 3rd, whose family owns the Hearst Corp., was billionaire number 430, with an estimated $1.7 billion. (Last year, the magazine pegged his fortune at $2.4 billion.)
Gaining a spot in the top 10 was Spanish fashion entrepreneur Amancia Ortega, whose $18.3 billion fortune was partly made from Zara, and who was down only slightly (relatively speaking) from the $20.2 billion estimated in 2008.
— Irin Carmon
WIRED FOR THE U.K.: Condé Nast in the U.K. is pressing ahead with a magazine launch and Web site revamp. The U.K. edition of Wired will debut on newsstands April 2, and the accompanying Web site, wired.co.uk, will go live the same day. David Rowan has been tapped as editor of the magazine, while Michael Parsons will be the Web site’s international channel manager. Condé Nast said Wired would take its editorial cues from the title’s American edition, but its content will be unique to the U.K., looking at “talent in the U.K. [technology] industry.” Alongside the new U.K. Web site, an Italian Web site, wired.it, will also launch in April. The company said the Web site and magazine would allow advertisers to target “a difficult to reach group of early adopters.”
Meanwhile, GQ.com, the site that accompanies the U.K. edition of GQ, has been given a new look. Condé Nast said the Web site (which is accessed outside the U.K. via gq-magazine.co.uk) and the magazine would target what they called “a new breed of male” — whatever that may be. The new Web site features an updated fashion section with trend editorials, men’s shows coverage and a watch gallery, and current advertisers include Alfa Romeo, Renault and Ben Sherman.
— Louise Bartlett