Baku, July 3, AZERTAC
Great fortunes don't always last. New technology trumps the old, trends wane, management stumbles. Yet a few of the families who made FORBES second annual ranking of America's Richest Families –we capped the list at 200 members this year — have withstood such challenges. Some, like the Huber family, have survived for six generations, dating back to the 1800s. Each of these clans is worth at least $1.2 billion. Collectively, they're worth $1.3 trillion. Thirty-three newcomers join the ranks, including the Sackler family, whose company makes pain drug OxyContin; the Greenberg family behind Skechers shoes, and the Trincheros, owners of the fourth largest U.S. wine company.
The Walton family is the wealthiest family in the U.S. for the second year in a row. Six heirs of Wal-Mart founders Sam Walton and James "Bud" Walton together own about 54% of the global retailer. Forbes estimates their fortune at $149 billion — down from $152 billion last year due to a dip in Wal-Mart's stock price. They are followed by the Koch family: two of the four Koch brothers, Charles and David, are politically active and run conglomerate Koch Industries, the second largest private company in the country. Coming in third: the Mars family, owners of the world's largest candy company, maker of M&Ms and Milky Way, share an estimated $80 billion fortune. Frank Mars started selling candy from his kitchen in Tacoma, Washington in 1911.
Many of these families are behind well-known brands – Gore-Tex, Campbell's soup, Estee Lauder cosmetics, Coors and Budweiser beer, Comcast cable TV, to name just a few. Some of the companies started by families on the list — like Publix Super Markets and Wegmans, benefit from a loyal customer base; those two supermarket chains are also partly owned by employees. Other fortunes lied in publicly traded companies. Still others are 100% family-owned businesses. Success comes in many forms.