Billionaires: Jensen Huang's net worth soars after Nvidia stock surge

In our fortnightly round-up of the world’s super wealthy, Zara's Amancio Ortega buys a Chicago apartment tower for $232m and shipping tycoon Rodolphe Saadé plans to build a French media empire

Nvidia co-founder Jensen Huang has a personal fortune of $46.1 billion after shares in the chipmaker surged more than 10 per cent. AP Photo
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Jensen Huang

Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang is as much as $4.2 billion richer after the company’s latest earnings and forecast beat estimates.

The shares surged as much as 10 per cent in aftermarket trading, boosting Mr Huang’s total fortune to $46.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The index shows that if that gain can be sustained, Mr Huang is poised to end up among the world’s 25 wealthiest individuals.

Mr Huang’s 3.6 per cent stake, or 86.9 million shares, in Nvidia makes up most of his fortune.

The company’s shares soared during the Covid-19 pandemic – when the cryptocurrency boom drove up usage of its chips for mining – before falling by almost two thirds over a year and shooting back up.

So far this year, they have more than tripled in value with the rise of AI demand.

Mr Huang, Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem co-founded Nvidia in 1993. He helped to transform it from a maker of video-game graphics chips to the now-dominant supplier of accelerators that train AI software.

The company doubled revenue in the last quarter and offered a bullish outlook for growing demand and supply over the coming year. It contracts out its chip fabrication to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics.

Amancio Ortega

The billionaire founder of the Zara clothing chain has purchased a luxury apartment building in Chicago for $232 million to add to his growing US property portfolio.

According to a company representative, Mr Ortega’s family office, Pontegadea, acquired 727 West Madison from a joint venture of Ares Management and F&F Realty.

The purchase adds the 45-storey building to a growing roster of Ortega-owned landmark US properties, including Meta Platform’s headquarters in Seattle and Manhattan’s Haughwout Building.

The striking oval tower contains 492 high-end apartments, with rents from about $2,200 a month for a studio to up to $6,000 for a three-bedroom unit.

Jones Lang LaSalle was hired in 2020 to sell the building in the trendy neighbourhood of the West Loop, where Google has its Chicago offices. According to Crain's Chicago Business, it was expected to fetch $250 million.

Mr Ortega is worth $75 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, largely based on his controlling stake in Spanish clothing retailer Inditex. He has accumulated a property portfolio valued last year at €18.1 billion ($19.7 billion).

Spain’s richest man spent about $1 billion in 2022 buying up US warehouses as he diversified beyond his traditional focus on landmark office and retail space. Some of Pontegadea’s latest acquisitions include a logistics hub near Los Angeles, a warehouse in the Netherlands and an office building in central London.

Pontegadea also owns stakes in energy and telecom infrastructure operators and renewable power generators, including in Portuguese power and gas grid operator Redes Energeticas Nacionais and Spanish electricity transporter Redeia Corporacion.

Rodolphe Saadé

Shipping tycoon Rodolphe Saadé is buttressing his ambitions to build a French media empire with a plan to start a new Sunday paper that will rival a publication controlled by fellow billionaire Vincent Bolloré.

The battle between a clutch of French industrialists for control of the country’s news media has intensified over the past year, with Mr Saadé snapping up a host of outlets, including online business daily La Tribune.

There is a planned October 8 launch of a Sunday newspaper to compete with Mr Bollore’s embattled Le Journal du Dimanche, or JDD, whose staff have been on strike for weeks.

“We’re building our editorial team,” La Tribune president Jean-Christophe Tortora told France Info radio last week. He confirmed reports that the group is hiring journalists from JDD, including Bruno Jeudy, who will head the publication.

The newspaper will be “well-rounded”, carrying articles spanning business, culture and literature and will “respect editorial independence”, he said.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, Mr Saadé and his family’s net worth is $23 billion, while Mr Bolloré’s fortune stands at $9.1 billion.

Bernard Arnault, whose media holdings include Les Echos and Le Parisien newspapers, is the world’s second-richest person with $181 billion.

Daniel Kretinsky

Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, 48, is turning into a serial buyer of French assets, mostly companies that are flailing and badly in need of a saviour. The moves are helping him climb to the top echelons of the country’s business establishment.

In the latest such attempt, Mr Kretinsky, a self-proclaimed Francophile, is offering to take over the legacy assets of Atos, the technology company said. Atos will get €100 million in cash and transfer €1.9 billion in debt to the buyer, it said.

In the past few months, Mr Kretinsky, who built his fortune on energy assets, has jumped into three high-profile French deals involving embattled companies in sectors as varied as supermarkets, IT outsourcing and book publishing.

For Mr Kretinsky – who studied and speaks French – the buying spree is just a way to balance out his European holdings. His Vesa Equity Investment owns stakes in J Sainsbury and Royal Mail, among other assets.

“I note that my group is bigger in Germany and the UK than in France,” Mr Kretinsky said last month in an interview with Les Echos, seeking to explain his interest in supermarket chain Casino.

“Becoming the controlling shareholder of Casino, a major actor, with my friend Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, would help to rebalance that.”

In September, Mr Kretinsky bought a French castle – Château du Marais – for €43 million. He purchased a Paris townhouse that borders the Elysee Palace, the residence of the French president, from Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and his ex-wife in 2020.

Last week, Mr Kretinsky agreed to recapitalise Casino Guichard Perrachon and cut debt in the troubled supermarket operator with the help of partner Fimalac and creditor Attestor Capital.

He will provide most of a €1.2 billion equity injection to bolster the company’s liquidity. More than €1.3 billion of secured debt and €3.5 billion of unsecured debt will be converted into equity.

In June, a subsidiary of Mr Kretinsky’s CMI group signed an agreement with the Mr Bolloré-controlled Vivendi for the purchase of book publisher Editis for a price set between €500 million and €600 million, according to press reports.

Mr Kretinsky’s Vesa Equity Investment also raised its holding in French retailer Fnac Darty to 25 per cent in March.

The billionaire is a minority shareholder of the newspaper Le Monde and TV channel TF1 and owns various magazines, including Elle.

He is one of the rare non-French billionaires to join a club of the country’s media owners, including Mr Arnault, Patrick Drahi and Xavier Niel.

Updated: August 29, 2023, 11:37 AM