Here are the top 10 richest business families in the world, according to Bloomberg Billionaire Index. The categorisation of family wealth excludes first-generation fortunes and those in the hands of a single heir. Hence, just three Asian families make the list and none of these are from China, which reflects the relative recent wealth boom in the region.
1. Walton family, Walmart | $151.5 billion: The family owns the Walmart Enterprises holding company and the Walton Family Holdings Trust which in turn own half the world’s largest retailer by revenue — Walmart. It has $500 billion in sales from nearly 12,000 stores across the world. Currently, the third generation of the family is running the business.
2. Koch brothers, Koch Industries | $98.7 billion: Four brothers Frederick, Charles, David and William inherited their father’s oil refinery business. Following a family feud in the 1980s, Charles and David stayed in the company and have since grown the conglomerate to an annual revenue of about $100 billion.
3. Mars family, Mars | $89.7 billion: While the company is known for M&Ms, Milky Way and the Mars Bars, around half of their $35 billion revenue comes from pet care products. The business was established by Franklin Clarence Mars in 1911.
4. Van Damme, De Mevius and De Spoelberch families, Anheuser-Busch Inbev | $54.1 billion: The business relations between the three Belgian families dates back to the 14th century. With mergers and acquisitions, the three families have created one of the largest beverage and brewing companies in the world. Stella Artois, Budweiser and Corona remain some of their popular products.
5. Dumas family: Hermes | $49.2 billion: Started by Thierry Hermes in 1837, the company made riding gear for noblemen. However, Jean-Louis Dumas is credited with turning the business into a global leader in luxury fashion. Family members Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Axel Dumas now lead the company.
6. Wertheimer family, Chanel | $45.6 billion: Pierre Wertheimer negotiated a perfume contract and gave funding to fashionista Coco Chanel. The Wertheimer continues to hold a controlling interest in Chanel.
7. Ambanis, Reliance Industries | $43.4 billion: Dhirubhai Ambani started building the business empire in 1957. The conglomerate, founded in 1977, is now run by his son Mukesh Ambani. The conglomerate has interests in petroleum, natural gas, petrochemicals, retail and more recently telecom, among other fields.
8. Quant family, BMW | $42.7 billion: While the automobile giant was founded by Karl Rapp. Herbert Quandt is the person credited with turning around BMW from near-bankruptcy. His children Stefan Quandt and Susanne Klatten continue to run the company.
9. Cargill family, Cargill | $42.3 billion: The company was founded by William W Cargill with one grain storage warehouse in 1865. Cargill remains one of the largest closely held companies in the US with his descendants controlling the company’s interests in food and agriculture.
10. Boehringer, Von baumbach family, Boehringer Ingelheim | $42.2 billion: The pharmaceuticals company was founded in 1885 by Albert Boehringer. After more than a century, the Boehringer family are still in control of the company along with the extended von Baumbachs. (Image: Boehringer Ingelheim). Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.
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