Compared to the UK and the US, Australia has an unusually large number of billionaires who hold the majority of their wealth in public companies listed on the ASX.
After 50 years of wheeling and dealing, Kerry Stokes is near the top of the pile given that his 58.5% stake in Seven Group Holdings is now worth $4.59 billion. The Australian’s Rich List valued him at $7.26 billion earlier this year.
Stokes is unique in many respects, particularly given that he was an orphan whose wealth is entirely self made. He’s also the only Australian billionaire who has a $1 billion-plus personal investment in more than one public company, courtesy of the $1.7 billion stake that Seven Group Holdings owns in Boral.
Virtually all of the other billionaires on the following list were founders, whereas Stokes never started a business that floated on the ASX. He prefers to successfully launch raids on public companies, such as Seven, WA News, Beach Energy and now Boral.
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Most valuable stakes owned by individuals in ASX listed companies
Fortescue Metals: Twiggy Forrest’s 36.25% stake is worth $24.1 billion
Reece: the Wilson family’s 67.7% stake is worth $8.8 billion
Seven Group Holdings: Kerry Stokes’ 58.5% stake is worth $4.59 billion
WiseTech: Richard Wise’s 44% stake is worth $4.11 billion
Crown: James Packer’s 36% stake is worth $2.95 billion
Harvey Norman: Gerry Harvey’s 31.5% stake is worth $2.25 billion
Afterpay: Antony Eisen and Nicholas Molnar each own 17.95 million shares worth $2.18 billion
TPG: David Teoh’s 17.12% stake is worth$1.874 billion
Premier Investments: Solly Lew’s 42.43% stake is worth $1.57 billion
Vicinity Centres: John Gandel’s 15.2% stake is worth $1.02 billion.