Successful business enterprises are they key to the wealth of the world’s richest families. According to a ranking of Bloomberg data published on Visual Capitalist, three American families top the ranking of the world’s wealthiest. The top 2 – The Waltons and the Mars family – deal in consumer goods, while the Kochs in rank 3 are more of an industrialist clan. The Walton family’s assets come to $215 billion, while the Mars family made a fortune of $120 billion from their empire of brands such as Milky Way, Snickers, M&M’s, Twix and Wrigley chewing gum. Among the business empire owners, the Saudi Arabian Al Saud family is the exception.
The royal family that rules Saudi Arabia is the richest family of monarchs in the world, largely due to their home country’s large oil reserves. The Ambani family, owners of the Reliance Industries conglomerate, comes in rank 5 with a fortune of more than $81 billion. French luxury brands Hermès and Chanel also placed their owners in the top 10, while Germany’s wealthy have made it big with different endeavors. The Boehringer/Von Baumbach family (rank 9) runs pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, while the Albrecht family (rank 10) is famous for their discount store. Aldi.
The Waltons Family
The three most prominent living members (Jim, Rob, and Alice Walton) have consistently been in the top twenty of the Forbes 400 list since 2001, as were John (d. 2005) and Helen (d. 2007) prior to their deaths. Christy Walton took her husband John’s place in the ranking after his death. The majority of the family’s wealth derives from the heritage of Bud and Sam Walton, who were the co-founders of Walmart. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, one of the world’s largest business enterprises in terms of annual revenue, and, with just over 2.2 million employees, the world’s largest private employer.
In 1987, Sam Walton endowed a charitable foundation. The Walton Family Foundation was primarily focused on charter schools, but it later extended its program to include environmental issues, particularly those related to water.
In 2016, Alice and Jim Walton put a $250 million grant towards building charter school facilities, in honor of their parents’ commitment to providing high-quality education. The Walton Family Foundation created the Building Equity Initiative to provide charter schools with access to capital to create and expand their facilities. This initiative was established after the foundation announced in 2016 that it would spend $1 billion over the next five years to expand “educational opportunity” by partnering with charter school operators, researchers, and education reformers.
The Mars Family
The Mars family is an American family that owns the confectionery company Mars, Inc., bearing their name. The family once was ranked as the richest family in the United States of America by Fortune magazine, in 1988. It has since been surpassed by the Walton family and the Koch family, and was ranked as the third richest family in America in 2016.
Upon the death of Forrest Mars Sr., he and his two sons were ranked No. 29, 30, and 31 by Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans, and they each had a worth of approximately $4 billion. In March 2010 the three children of Forrest Mars were tied for 52nd place amongst the world’s richest people according to Forbes, with a net worth of US$11 billion each. One of these sons, Forrest Mars Jr., died in 2016, and his four daughters inherited his wealth, with three of them working for the company as of 2019. As of April 2020 the combined private fortune of the family members was estimated at around $126 billion, making them one of the richest families in the world, more wealthy than even any royal family such as for example the Al Saud dynasty of the absolutistic monarchy of Saudi Arabia.
The Mars family was among 18 billionaire families who lobbied Congress to eliminate the estate tax.
The Kochs Family
The Koch family (/koʊk/ KOHK) is an American family engaged in business, best known for their political activities (donating to libertarian, criminal justice reform, and Republican Party causes) and their control of Koch Industries, the second-largest privately owned company in the United States (with 2017 revenues of $100 billion). The family business was started by Fred C. Koch, who developed a new cracking method for the refinement of heavy crude oil into gasoline. Fred’s four sons litigated against each other over their interests in the business during the 1980s and 1990s.
By 2019, Charles G. Koch and the late David H. Koch, commonly referred to as the Koch brothers, were the only ones of Fred Koch’s four sons still with Koch Industries. Charles and David Koch built a political network of libertarian and conservative donors and the brothers funneled financial revenue into television and multi-media advertising.
The Al Saud Family
The House of Saud is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. It is composed of the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the Emirate of Diriyah, known as the First Saudi state (1744–1818), and his brothers, though the ruling faction of the family is primarily led by the descendants of Ibn Saud, the modern founder of Saudi Arabia. The most influential position of the royal family is the King of Saudi Arabia. The family in total is estimated to comprise some 15,000 members, however the majority of power, influence and wealth is possessed by a group of about 2,000 of them.
The House of Saud has had three phases: the Emirate of Diriyah, the First Saudi State (1744–1818), marked by the expansion of Wahhabism; the Emirate of Nejd, the Second Saudi State (1824–1891), marked with continuous infighting; and the Third Saudi State (1902–present), which evolved into Saudi Arabia in 1932 and now wields considerable influence in the Middle East. The family has had conflicts with the Ottoman Empire, the Sharif of Mecca, the Al Rashid family of Ha’il and their vassal houses in Najd, numerous Islamist groups both inside and outside Saudi Arabia and Shia minority in Saudi Arabia.
The Ambani family
The richest family in Asia is an Indian family that just threw one of the most lavish wedding celebrations in recent memory, which included a private Beyoncé concert and celebrity guests including Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, Hillary Clinton, and Arianna Huffington.
The Ambani family is behind oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries. The company’s chairman and largest shareholder is Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, who is worth an estimated $42.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Mukesh’s daughter, 27-year-old Isha Ambani, married Anand Piramal, 33, heir to a real estate and pharmaceutical business, in December 2018 at the Ambani family home in Mumbai, a 27-story skyscraper that cost an estimated $1 billion to build.