October 28, 2012, 7:28 PMComment
The Billionaires Club
By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY
The cover of the December issue of Bloomberg Markets.
As the rich grow richer, so does the coverage of their fortunes.
Later this week, Bloomberg Markets, the 375,000-circulation magazine distributed mainly to Bloomberg terminal subscribers, is publishing a “World’s Richest People” December issue. The issue features 200 billionaires, including a few previously undiscovered billionaires and China’s richest man, Zong Qinghou.
The latest issue is part of Bloomberg’s broader plan to capture a reporting thread that Forbes has dominated for decades. Last year, Matthew G. Miller, former global wealth editor at Forbes Media, said that at Forbes he had been struggling to cover the wealthy with a rapidly diminishing pool of reporters. When he moved to Bloomberg last year, he suddenly had its 1,600 journalists spread across 72 countries to help him cover the world’s billionaires.
In March, Bloomberg started publishing on its terminal a ranking of the world’s billionaires that it updates daily based on how their fortunes are doing. Mr. Miller said that since he came on board last year, Bloomberg reporters have discovered more than 40 hidden billionaires. These billionaires include several women that the Forbes list had not uncovered like Elaine Marshall, a major shareholder of Koch Industries, and Dirce Camargo, Brazil’s richest woman, who is worth $13.4 billion.
“Our reporters are essentially billionaire-hunters,” said Mr. Miller. “Our reporters are constantly calling these billionaires. Some of them are on speed-dial.”
Bloomberg executives stressed how important this coverage is since these billionaires control so much of the world’s wealth. Ronald Henkoff, Bloomberg Markets’ editor, said the 200 billionaires on the Bloomberg list have a net worth of $2.7 trillion, which is about the gross domestic product of France. Matt Winkler, the editor in chief of Bloomberg News, said he planned to build on this coverage.
“Like everything that we’ve started at Bloomberg, once we’re committed to it, we see it as ever expanding,” Mr. Winkler said. “That certainly applies to this subject.”