Georgia lands nine on billionaires list

Nine Georgians made it onto Forbes’ annual billionaire list this year, including what the magazine described as “America’s youngest female self-made billionaire.”

That would be Sara Blakely, the 46-year-old founder of Spanx, the Atlanta company she founded in 2000 to produce and sell slimming undergarments. Blakely’s company now has about $400 million in annual sales, and she has a net worth of $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.

That was enough to rank her at No. 1,795, as of Tuesday, on Forbes’ list of the world’s 2,043 billionaires. She was also the only woman among Georgia’s billionaires.

The magazine’s online billionaire rankings and net worth estimates change daily, depending on market values of stock holdings and other assets.

Forbes said it has been a record year for billionaires, with the number of the super-rich jumping 13 percent from 2015 and topping 2,000 for the first time. The combined fortunes could power a not-so-small country, with almost $7.7 trillion in assets, up 18 percent.

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Highest-ranked among Georgians is Jim Kennedy, with an estimated fortune of $12.2 billion.

Kennedy, No. 105 on Forbes’ list, is chairman of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises. The company’s businesses include cable TV and internet provider Cox Communications; TV, radio and newspaper holdings that include The Atlanta Journal Constitution; and auto-related businesses such as Kelley Blue Book and Manheim auto auctions.

Between Kennedy and Blakely are founders or dynasty members of several well-known Georgia companies, including Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus (Home Depot); Dan and Bubba Cathy (Chick-fil-A); Ted Turner (Turner Broadcasting and CNN); and Gary and Randall Rollins (Orkin pest control).

Their fortunes ranged from Marcus’ $4 billion — which put him at No. 441 — to Turner’s $2.3 billion, at No. 896.

The two richest people in the world are familiar faces: Microsoft founder Bill Gates, at $86.6 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway’s “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffett, at $76.2 billion.

President Donald Trump is at No. 544, with an estimated fortune of $3.5 billion.

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