Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
What do Tom Benson, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have in common? All were named to Forbes’ new list of the world’s billionaires, unveiled Monday. The New Orleans Saints and Hornets/Pelicans owner is listed with a net worth of $1.2 billion.
Benson is the only Louisianan to make the Forbes list, ranking 377th among Americans and 1,175th overall. In September, the magazine and its web site also named Benson to their 400 Richest Americans list.
While mentioning his other local business holdings and philanthropic efforts, the new Forbes profile focuses in on the fact that Benson, 85, expanded his empire in 2012 by purchasing the city’s NBA franchise for $338 million.
“As he did with the Saints, Benson will try to turn the moribund franchise around. He has already changed the team's name to the more regionally-appropriate Pelicans,” Forbes said.
The magazine also mentions Benson’s courtship of The Times-Picayune last year, expressing interest in buying the paper after its owners announced they would scale back publication to three days a week.
Two members of the family that own the newspaper and its parent company, Advance Publications, also make the Forbes list. Donald Newhouse is listed with a $7.3 billion net worth and his brother Samuel “S.I.” Newhouse ranks higher with $8.1 billion. The Times-Picayune changes make up a good portion of Forbes’ profile of Donald Newhouse, who leads Advance Publications’ newspaper division.
“In the face of continued pressures on the newspaper industry Advance began to reduce the number of print editions published each week for a number of their papers. In October 2012 the Times-Picayune reduced its schedule to three printed issues a week, making New Orleans the largest American city without a daily paper,” reads the Forbes profile of Donald Newhouse.
Holding the top five positions on Forbes’ billionaires list are telecommunications executive Carlos Slim Helu ($73 billion); Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates ($67 billion); Spanish fashion executive Amancio Ortega ($57 billion); Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway ($53.5 billion); and Oracle founder Larry Ellison ($43 billion).