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Anil Ambani slips on world power list; Mukesh out

Last updated on: September 2, 2009 

Image: ADAG chairman Anil Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters

A sharp erosion in his wealth and a long-running sibling rivalry notwithstanding, Indian billionaire Anil Ambani has retained his position in the list of the world's 100 most powerful people, but is down 30 places since last year, while his brother Mukesh has made a total exit.

Ranked 97th in the latest edition of the annual ranking compiled by British fashion magazine Vanity Fair, Anil is the only Indian in the list, which is topped by financial services behemoth Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Anil was ranked at 67th position jointly with Mukesh in the previous year's list.

The current list, described as 'The New Establishment 2009' by the magazine, also figures names like Apple's iconic chief Steve Jobs and legendary investor Warren Buffett and these 100 people have been described as the world's most powerful in today's information age.

"Ambani was the biggest loser when Forbes published its annual wealth ranking in March: his fortune fell by $32 billion, to $10 billion. But that still left him with plenty of cash to close a Bollywood-meets-Hollywood deal with Steven Spielberg to make a $500 million investment in DreamWorks (along with the rights to distribute its films in India)," Vanity Fair said about Anil.

Anil Ambani slips on world power list; Mukesh out

Image: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
Photographs: Reuters

The magazine further noted that "Anil, 50, and his billionaire brother, Mukesh, (they grew up in a communal building in a distressed neighborhood) foolishly hurt their image by perpetuating a long public feud: they frequently sued each other but rarely talked."

"In one of their biggest battles, Mumbai's high court ordered Mukesh's company to make good on a deal from 2005 (when the two brothers split up their late father's empire) to sell natural gas to Anil's company for 17 years at a price 44 per cent lower than that set by the government. That could mean billions of dollars worth of savings for Anil and losses for Mukesh, who appealed to India's Supreme Court."

In his "latest act of do-goodery," the magazine said, Anil opened a 730-bed hospital in Mumbai.

The magazine, in its last year rankings, had said both Mukesh and Anil together held a large combined net worth and they inherited their father's sprawling industrial conglomerate in 2002, "but never figured how to play together nicely".

India-origin venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has moved up 14 places from the previous year to 78th spot in the list.

Anil Ambani slips on world power list; Mukesh out

Image: RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani.
Photographs: Reuters

Steve Jobs has improved his position to the second spot from last year's fourth place and Amazon's Jeff Bezos is ranked third in this edition.

At the fourth place is Buffett, who has moved up one notch from the previous ranking. Internet giant Google's Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, together have been ranked fifth in this list.

"Since launching Khosla Ventures in 2004, the Sand Hill Road venture capitalist has invested an estimated $500 million of his $1.1 billion personal fortune into 70-plus tech start-ups, most of them immersed in the development of alternative fuel and energy sources," the magazine said about Khosla.

Other prominent names in the list include Hollywood director Steven Spielberg (11th rank), New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (14), Oracle's Larry Ellison (16), Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer (17), French President Nicolas Sarkozy (18) and former US President Bill Clinton (19).

Hollywood actor George Clooney (39), Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu (52) and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman (93) also feature in the list.

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