Sir Leonard Blavatnik is the richest person in the UK, according to the new edition of The Sunday Times Rich List.
The 76-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine reveals the wealth of the 250 richest people in Britain in its 33rd annual edition.
Blavatnik is the richest of the record-breaking 171 billionaires in the UK recorded this year, up 24 from 2020, a year-on-year increase that is also a record. The combined wealth of the 171 UK billionaires is £597.269bn, up £106.582bn, or 21.7%, on the total wealth of the billionaires in last year’s Rich List.
Blavatnik tops the Rich List with a fortune put at £23bn, which is more than £7bn up on last year.
It is the second time he has topped the Rich List wealth rankings, a feat he last achieved in 2015. London-based, he was born in Odessa, moving to New York in his early 20s. His many business interests include Warner Music, in which he sold a £1.377bn stake when it was floated last year.
Last year’s No 1, Sir James Dyson and family, are £100m up this year to stand at £16bn, but he drops to fourth, overtaken by the vast gains of Blavatnik, David and Simon Reuben, and Sri and Gopi Hinduja.
The vast gains of those at the very top of the Rich List stand in stark contrast to the economic difficulties faced by so many in the past year with millions furloughed and their jobs at risk, while nearly 128,000 have lost their lives to Covid-19.
The same pandemic created opportunities for internet fashion retailers, computer games tycoons and technology entrepreneurs who have delivered their products direct to front doors.
There are also more unicorns – start-up businesses with a valuation in excess of $1bn – to be found in the Rich List than ever before. These include Farfetch, the luxury online fashion retailer, whose founder Jose Neves debuts in this year’s Rich List with a £2bn fortune, ranking 82=, and Cazoo, the online car dealing service, founded by Alex Chesterman, who makes his first appearance worth £750m in 215th position.
Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, ranked fifth in the UK, has seen the biggest rise in wealth of any Rich Lister in the past 12 months, with gains of around £7.9bn, largely derived from the rise in value of his ArcelorMittal steel-making business.
The 171 billionaires in this year’s Rich List beats the record of 151 set in 2019. Overall, the richest 250 in Britain this year are worth £658.089 billion, compared to £565.67bn last year, a 16.3% gain.
Robert Watts, compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, said: “This year’s Sunday Times Rich List found a record number of UK billionaires – up 24 in just 12 months. The global pandemic created lucrative opportunities for many online retailers, social networking apps and computer games tycoons. The fact many of the super-rich grew so much wealthier at a time when thousands of us have buried loved ones and millions of us worried for our livelihoods makes this a very unsettling boom.
And he sounded a note of caution around the durability of the gains made this year. “The valuations of many Rich Listers’ companies have soared over the past year – especially the pack of tech businesses known as unicorns. I worry about the strength of the foundations. No-one wants to see a re-run of the Dotcom boom and bust of 20 years ago.”
THE SUNDAY TIMES RICH LIST 2021 – THE 20 WEALTHIEST UK BILLIONAIRES
|Name||Source of Wealth||2021 Wealth||Rise/Fall|
|1||4||Sir Leonard Blavatnik||Investment, music and media||£23bn||Up £7.219bn|
|2||2=||David and Simon Reuben||Property and internet||£21.465bn||Up £5.465bn|
|3||2=||Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family||Industry and finance||£17bn||Up
|4||1||Sir James Dyson and family||Household goods and technology||£16.3bn||Up
|5||19||Lakshmi Mittal and family||Steel||£14.68bn||Up £7.899bn|
|6||7||Alisher Usmanov||Mining and investment||£13.406bn||Up
|7||6||Kirsten and Jorn Rausing||Inheritance and investment||£13.bn||Up
|8||12||Roman Abramovich||Oil and industry||£12.101bn||Up £1.945bn|
|9||9||Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho||Inheritance, brewing and banking||£12.013bn||Up
|10||8||Guy, George, Alannah and Galen Weston and family||Retailing||£11bn||Up
|12||10||The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family||Property||£10.054bn||Down
|13||13||Marit, Lisbet, Sigrid and Hans Rausing||Inheritance||£9.49bn||Down £100m|
|14||14||Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli||Pharmaceuticals||£9.2bn||No change|
|16||21||François-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek||Fashion and films||£8.675bn||Up
|17||16||Denise, John and Peter Coates||Gambling||£8.448bn||Up
|18||24||Michael Platt||Hedge fund||£8bn||Up
|19||20||John Fredriksen and family||Shipping and oil services||£7.831bn||UP