The Top 10 Richest Families in the World

Celebrity Money, World Money

Who are the richest families in the world? Names like Rockefeller, Rothschild, Ashton and Oppenheimer will always ring the bell. The Waltons and Kochs are also extremely wealthy, though each sibling now has a family of their own already.

So based on Forbes magazine’s ranking, here now is a list of the top 10 richest families in the world.

10. Iris Fontbona and family – $17.4 billion


When Chilean billionaire Andronico Luksic passed away in 2005, he left his entire business to his family, namely his wife Iris Fontbona, and their three sons, Jean-Paul, Andronico and Guillermo. The family controls one of the largest copper miners in the world, a company called Antofagasta. The family also holds the majority of the shares of Quinenco, a consumer packaging and beverage producing company with stakes in the banking, energy, port services and transportation sectors. They also own two beach resorts in Croatia.

9. Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez and family – $18.2 billion


The family of Mexican billionaire Alberto Bailleres Gonzalez has a stake in various sectors and industries through its holding company called Grupo Bal Gonzalez is the Chairman of the largest silver miners in the world called Industrias Penoles. The family also controls Grupo Palacio de Hierro, a department store chain; Grupo Nacional Provincial, an insurance company; and Grupo Profuturo, a pension fund company. Gonzalez also has a stake in FEMSA, a bottler of Coca Cola.

8. Theo Albrecht Jr. and family – $18.9 billion


Theo Albrecht Jr. is the lone surviving son of Theo Albrecht, the man who built up a large grocery chain in Germany and the rest of the European mainland in the 1960’s. After the elder Albrecht died, he left his fortune to his two sons, Theo, Jr. and Berthold. Berthold, however, passed away in November 2012, leaving behind his wife Babette and five children. As all the businesses are controlled by a foundation that gives out dividends to family members, all of them still have a stake in the various companies. Among them are Aldi Nord, the German discount supermarket chain; and Trader Joe’s, an American discount grocery retailer.

7. Thomas & Raymond Kwok and family – $20 billion


Thomas and Raymond Kwok are property tycoons from Hong Kong. They now control, along with their mother Kwong Siu-hing, Sun Hung Kai Properties, the dominant player in the country’s real estate industry. The family patriarch Kwok Tak-Seng, who passed away in 1990, founded the company. The two brothers, however, are currently involved in a $4 million corruption scandal that is awaiting trial.

6. David Thomson and family – $20.3 billion


The Thomson family has a private holding company called Woodbridge, which is controlled by David Thomson and his brother Peter. The family owns 55 percent of the media information company called Thomson Reuters. David chairs the board of this firm, as well as the Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada. The family also has shares in IHS, a company that deals with analytics, and Strategic Hotel and Resorts, a real estate investment trust company.

5. Michele Ferrero and family – $20.4 billion


After Pietro Ferrero died in the 1950’s, his entire chocolate business was taken over by his son Michele Ferrero. Michele was able to expand the business into one of the largest confectionery makers in the world, with products and brands that include Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolates, Nutella and Tic Tac. The Italian group has more than 70 affiliated companies and 15 production plants. It also employs about 22,000 people around the world. The company is particularly strong in places like the United States, Russia and Brazil, three of the biggest countries in the world. He has two sons, Pietro and Giovanni, but the former passed away in 2011. Giovanni is now the Chief Executive Officer of the entire Ferrero group.

4. Christy Walton and family – $28.2 billion


Christy Walton is the surviving wife of John Walton, one of the sons of Sam Walton, the co-founder of the massive Wal-Mart chain. After Sam died, his children took over with shares in the company. John, however, died in 2005 in an airplane crash, leaving behind Christy and one child. Christy and her family inherited John’s wealth, including dividends from Wal-Mart that amounted to $430 million in 2012 alone. A side investment in First Solar also pushed her net worth more than the other Walton siblings.

3. Bernard Arnault and family – $29 billion


Bernard Arnault is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the luxury line Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, or LVMH. The family also has shares in Christian Dior. The Frenchman, however, has attracted controversy in the past years after he applied for citizenship in Belgium. A lot of people believed it was related to the high tax regime being proposed in his native France. The move sparked a lot of debate on the government’s plan on further taxing the rich. Before the year ended, Arnault was also knighted in the United Kingdom.

2. Liliane Bettencourt and family – $30 billion


The Bettencourt family inherited its fortune from the family patriarch who owned 30 percent of L’Oreal, a French cosmetic giant. The family, however, is at odds with one another. While Liliane, at 90 years old, is currently the richest woman in the world, she has suffered from dementia, forcing her daughter and grandson to take action with the grandson Jean-Victor replacing Liliane in L’Oreal’s board. Liliane was also reported to have given a billion dollars in gifts to a photographer and artist named Francois-Marie Banier, which the daughter claims was done unscrupulously.

1. Carlos Slim Helu and family – $73 billion


Carlos Slim Helu is the head of the richest family in the world. The family owns Grupo Financiero Inbursa, a financial company, and Grupo Carso, an industrial and retail firm. He also owns America Movil, a mobile phone company operating across Latin America and that has stakes in KPN of the Netherlands and Telekom Austria. The family also has interests in infrastructure, mining and real estate. His sons, Carlos, Marco Antonio and Patrick, are now in charge of some of the companies.