2009’s Top 10 Moneymakers (USA Edition)

Google's Founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Google Founders: Larry Page and Sergey Brin

The year 2009 underscored an enormous economic meltdown that brought many United States businesses to their knees. But for some of America’s most famous moneymakers, the year brought enormous luck and vast gains. America’s top 25 stock gainers — composed of large stakeholders in publicly traded companies — made a combined $81.5 billion in 2009, Forbes.com reports.

Check out Forbes’ esteemed list of the ten biggest gainers in 2009:

  1. The founder of Google, Inc., Larry Page raked in a whooping $8.4 billion between January and mid-December 2009. At 36, Mr. Page is ranked as the 26th billionaire in the world and the 11th wealthiest person in the United States. Technology stocks are enjoying broad boost with the economic rebooting, according to Forbes. As such, Google made a rise of 90% since January 2009.
  2. Sergey Brin, the Russian-born American co-founder of Google, Inc. gained $8.2 billion in 2009. The 36-year old Internet titan gets a rebound after losing $11.7 billion in 2008 amid the collapse of Internet companies’ shares.
  3. Oracle Corporation and NetSuite gave 65-year-old founder Larry Ellison a $7.9 billion gain in 2009. He made it to fourth spot of Forbes’ list of richest persons as of September 30, 2009.
  4. Microsoft magnate Bill Gates generated $7.6 billion in 2009. The computer software company he founded with Paul Allen consistently places him on the list of the world’s richest. Over half of Mr. Gates’ fortune, however, is held outside of Microsoft. At 54, Mr. Gates grabbed the top spot overall as the wealthiest person in 2009.
  5. At barely 46 years old, Jeffrey Bezos has made Amazon a household name. The online retail company gained $7.3 billion in 2009 amid a 175% surge during the past 12 months. Amazon’s shares hit an all-time high in early December 2009.

    Microsoft's CEO - Steve Ballmer

    Microsoft’s CEO – Steve Ballmer

  6. In 2009, Steven Ballmer had $4.4 billion in gains based on stock options as Microsoft shares rose 55%. The 54-year-old billionaire derived his fortune as CEO of Microsoft, of which he was neither a founder nor a relative of a founder. In 2008, Mr. Ballmer was 43rd richest person in the world, with an estimated wealth of $11 billion.
  7. With shares of Las Vegas Sands Corp. climbing 1000% since March 2009, CEO Sheldon Adelson raked in $3.9 billion. Mr. Adelson’s stake plunged $24 billion in 2008 amid the recession that battered gaming industry, which made him the biggest loser in 2008. Las Vegas Sands is parent company to Venetian Macao Limited, which operates The Sands Expo and Convention Center and The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino.
  8. Enterprise Products Partners and Enterprise GP Holdings co-founder, chairman and majority shareholder Dan Duncan gained $3.9 billion in 2009. At 76, the energy mogul became the wealthiest person in Houston and the 3rd richest person in Texas as of 2007.
  9. Another Google, Inc. titan, Eric Schmidt, made $2.7 billion, with his shares soaring 90% since January 2009. Like Microsoft’s Ballmer, 54-year-old Schmidt’s wealth is generated from stock options he received as chairman and CEO of Google, and not as its founder or its founder’s relative. In 2006, Mr. Schmidt was ranked 129th in Forbes’ "World’s Richest People" list, with an estimated fortune valued at $6.2 billion.
  10. Sixty three-year-old Harold Hamm gained $2.7 billion in 2009, thanks to Continental Resources’ 100% surge amid a recovery in energy prices. The energy company’s earnings, however, are still at a 50% low, compared to its overall income in July 2008.

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