He may have failed in his bid to block Dell Inc.'s management buyout, but the last 12 months have been very good to Carl Icahn, all the same.
Icahn's net worth soared nearly 40% to $20.3 billion, making him the richest alternative investments honcho in America, according to Forbes magazine. Icahn placed 18th on the annual Forbes 400 ranking of the richest Americans, topped once again by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, who is worth $72 billion.
Icahn displaced last year's top hedge fund manager, George Soros, who fell to 19th place on the list with $20 billion—a mere $1 billion more than last year.
Icahn's recent nemesis, Michael Dell, who in addition to running his namesake company also boasts a namesake hedge fund, MSD Capital, is 25th on the list with $15.9 billion.
The top 100 features many familiar names, including Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio ($12.9 billion), Renaissance Technologies founder James Simons ($12 billion), John Paulson ($11.4 billion), Appaloosa Management's David Tepper ($7.9 billion), the Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarzman ($7.7 billion) and Apollo Management's Leon Black ($5.2 billion). Despite all of his legal troubles, SAC Capital Advisors founder Steven Cohen increased his fortune to $9.4 billion—which by the end of the year will make up substantially all of SAC's assets under management as outside investors have fled the firm, which faces criminal insider-trading charges.
Just one new name entered the list from the alternatives world this year: Blackstone's Hamilton James with $1.3 billion. John Henry returned to the list after falling off last year with a fortune of $1.7 billion. Failing to make the list was Blackstone real-estate chief Jonathan Gray, whom Forbes cited as a future 400er last year; Saba Capital Management's Boaz Weinstein, also tapped, didn't make the cut, either. This year, Forbes is predicting that ValueAct Capital's Jeffrey Ubben, whose fortune now stands at just $400 million, will one day be among the select.
A number of impressive names did drop from the list, which required members to be $200 million richer than last. Elliott Associates' Paul Singer, Highbridge Capital Management's Henry Swieca, T. Boone Pickens (worth less than $1 billion for the first time in eight years) and Chilton Investment Co.'s Richard Chilton all failed to make that cut.