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The Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have joined the $100bn club of super-rich people with 12-digit fortunes after a surge in the share price of the tech firm’s parent company, Alphabet.
Page and Brin, who co-founded Google in 1996, joined a group of six others with paper fortunes of more than $100bn (£73bn), according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.
The eight men on the list, most of whom also made their money from technology companies, hold fortunes of more than $1tn and have added $110bn combined to their personal wealth this year because of the surge in tech firm share prices during the coronavirus pandemic.
Page, 48, has seen his fortune increase by $21bn so far in 2021, to $103.6bn before the market opened on Monday, making him the sixth-richest person in the world.
The rise is mostly because of the increase in Alphabet shares, which have risen by 32% in 2021. The shares dipped slightly (1.3%) when US trading began on Monday, leaving Page on the verge of slipping out of the $100bn club again.
Brin, 47, had a $100.2bn fortune – and increase of $20.4bn this year – before the market opened on Monday. However, he slipped out of the exclusive $100bn club, as Alphabet’s shares traded lower.
Together, Brin and Page control 51% of a special class of Alphabet’s voting shares, giving them ultimate control of the company’s future direction. They own 11.4% of the $1.5tn company.
In 2019 the pair stepped down from day-to-day management of the company to assume the role of “proud parents – offering advice and love but not daily nagging”.
Page and Brin’s decision to hand over control of Google, and its parent company, Alphabet, to the longstanding lieutenant Sundar Pichai was seen as the end of an era for the search engine giant, which had been built in their image and followed their personal values.
The Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was the first person to achieve a $100bn fortune in 1999 but his wealth slumped considerably when the dot-com bubble burst. He only regained the title centibillionaire in 2019 and is currently the world’s third-wealthiest person, with an estimated $145bn fortune.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos hit the $100bn mark in 2017 and has seen his wealth almost double since then to $197bn.
Elon Musk, the co-founder of Tesla, is the world’s second-richest person, with a $175bn fortune.
Others in the club are: Bernard Arnault, the majority shareholder of the luxury goods empire LVMH, with $132bn; Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who is sitting on a $118bn fortune; and the veteran investor Warren Buffett, with $104bn.