Friday, March 17, 2006

Holding one of 793 billionaires

Resort owner No. 606 on Forbes magazine's worldwide list

Express Staff Writer

Earl Holding

Sun Valley Resort owner Earl Holding is still part of the world's elite club of billionaires, but that club just isn't as elite as it used to be.

That was the message sent with Forbes magazine's list titled "The World's Billionaires," a compilation published March 9 that provides a catalog of the globe's wealthiest people, from Idaho to India.

The list this year has a record 793 names. Holding, 79, is listed as No. 606, tied with numerous other individuals who have an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion.

The list is topped by software mogul Bill Gates, 50, who has an estimated net worth of $50 billion. Gates is followed by revered investor Warren Buffett, 75, at $42 billion, and communications magnate Carlos Slim Helu, 66, of Mexico, with a personal net worth of $30 billion.

When Forbes first compiled the list 20 years ago, the magazine determined there were only 140 billionaires in the world. However, in the last three years, the number of billionaires discovered by Forbes climbed by more than 300, bringing the global total to nearly 800 The group this year is worth a combined $2.6 trillion, the magazine estimated.

Holding is the owner of Sinclair Oil Co., Sun Valley Resort and several other high-profile properties, including Snowbasin ski area and the 395-unit Grand America Hotel, both in Utah. He also operates a chain of Little America resorts, with the flagship property located along Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming.

Holding and his wife, Carol, maintain a part-time residence in Sun Valley.

Forbes estimated last year that Sun Valley Resort, which Holding bought for approximately $12 million, is now worth more than $300 million.

The magazine last year estimated Holding's net worth at $1.5 billion.

The only full-time Idaho resident on Forbes' billionaire list is John Richard Simplot, 97, the Boise-based potato tycoon who is known for supplying McDonald's restaurants with tons of french fries. Simplot and his family have an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion, Forbes said, placing them 278th on the list.

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