Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has overtaken his old boss Bill Gates as the world’s seventh richest person. Ballmer’s current net worth sits at $83 billion according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Gates comes in at $82 billion after his wealth took hits from his divorce settlement and donations. Ballmer previously trailed Gates since leaving Microsoft’s helm in 2014.
Ballmer’s ascent primarily stems from his smart early investment in the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. He purchased the franchise in 2014 for $2 billion. The Clippers are now estimated to be worth $3.9 billion if sold today.
The Clippers will also be launching their own arena in Inglewood in 2024. Ballmer privately financed the $1.8 billion project. The state-of-the-art complex is expected to further boost the team’s value.
Ballmer has seen his Clippers bet pay off handsomely. He’s gained an estimated $700 million in wealth just since the start of 2022. Meanwhile, Gates’ wealth has declined $24 billion over the same period after transferring stock and resources to Melinda French Gates per their divorce agreement.
Gates also remains dedicated to philanthropy. He’s donated $5 billion this year alone to causes tackling climate change and global health. The reshuffling of the billionaires list reflects the diverging financial fates of Microsoft’s two iconic former leaders.
While Gates continues his focus on philanthropy, Ballmer has seen his Clippers franchise value and arena complex investment appreciate. The passage underscores Ballmer’s savvy in branching beyond Microsoft and diversifying his wealth sources by getting in early on a fast-rising NBA franchise in a major media market.