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Ken Griffin tops Forbes list of richest Illinois billionaires

Ken Griff44 No. 329 $4.1B hedge funds.

Ken Griffin, 44, No. 329, $4.1B, hedge funds.

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Ranked among Illinois billionaires on the Forbes list.

1. Ken Griffin, 44, No. 329, $4.1B, hedge funds.

2. Sam Zell, 71, No. 329, $4B, real estate, private equity.

3. J. Christopher Reyes, 59, No. 412, $3.3B, food distribution.

4. Jude Reyes, 57, No. 412, $3.3B, food distribution.

5. Jay Robert (J.B.) Pritzker, 48, No. 458, $3B, hotels, investments.

6. Ty Warner, 69, No. 589, $2.5B, Beanie Babies.

7. Thomas Pritzker, 62, No. 641, $2.3B, hotels, investments.

8. Neil Bluhm, 75, No. 670, $2.2B, real estate.

*9. Joe Mansueto, 56, No. 792, $1.9B, investment research.

10. Jean (Gigi) Pritzker, 51, No. 792, $1.9B, hotels, investments.

11. Penny Pritzker, 53, No. 825, $1.85B, hotels, investments.

12. James Pritzker, 61, No. 974, $1.5B, hotels, investments.

13. Patrick Ryan, 75, No. 1161, $1.25B, insurance.

14. Michael Krasny, 59, No. 1268, $1.1B, retail.

15. Eric Lefkofsky, 43, No. 1268, $1.1B, Groupon.

16. Nicholas Pritzker, II, 69, No. 1268, $1.1 B, hotels, investments.

17. David William Grainger, 85, No. 1342, $1B, electrical and industrial equipment.

*Mansueto is an investor in Wrapports LLC.

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Updated: April 6, 2013 6:13AM

Real estate mogul Sam Zell was knocked off the top spot as the richest person in Illinois — replaced by Chicago hedge fund manager Ken Griffin — and Groupon Co-Founder Eric Lefkofsky watched his wealth cut by more than half and his ranking tumble, according to Forbes’ 2013 list of billionaires.

Lefkofsky’s ranking on the annual global list, released Monday, plummeted much like the market value of his online deals company. Among a record 1,426 people on the list, he fell to No. 1,268 from No. 401 on last year’s list. His net worth sank to $1.1 billion from $2.9 billion.

Griffin ranked No. 1 in the state, with a wealth of $4.1 billion, a 37 percent increase from $3 billion last year, moving him to No. 316 on the global list, up from 377 last year. Griffin is the founder of Chicago-based hedge fund firm Citadel. Forbes noted Citadel’s flagship Kensington and Wellington funds blew past their high water marks at the end of 2011, a year in which the funds returned more than 20 percent net of fees, and the funds finished up 25 percent last year.

Griffin moved past Zell, who claimed the No. 2 spot in the state, after having held the top ranking in Illinois the past two years. Zell, the former chairman of the Tribune Co., which emerged from bankruptcy last year, watched his net worth fall more than 18 percent to $4 billion from $4.9 billion. His global ranking fell to 329 from 216 last year. Zell’s net worth is down markedly compared to a year ago primarily because Forbes is using a lower estimate of Zell’s stake in his private investment firm Equity International, the magazine reported.

Seventeen Illinois residents made the list, down from 18 last year. Among them are J. Christopher Reyes and Jude Reyes, beer and food distributors, including for McDonald’s Corp. Both are ranked at No. 412 globally, with net worth of $3.3 billion each and fall right under Zell in Illinois.

Also on the list was Michael Krasny, founder of Computer Discount Warehouse, also ranked 1268 with Lefkosky. Krasny’s net worth is $1.1 billion, the same as last year, but he fell from a ranking of 1,075.

Wrigley chewing gum heir William Wrigley Jr., a board member of Chicago Sun-Times parent Wrapports LLC. who now calls Florida home, ranked No. 670 on the list with $2.2 billion in net worth. That also was the same amount as last year, when he ranked higher at 578.

New to the list this year is David William Grainger, former chief executive officer of electrical and industrial equipment company W.W. Grainger, with a net worth of $1 billion. He ranked 1,342 globally and 17th in Illinois.

The billionaires on the global list collectively had wealth of $5.4 trillion —a record and up from $4.6 trillion last year.

Resurgent asset prices are the driving force behind the rising wealth of the super-rich around the globe, Forbes said. While last year almost as many fortunes fell as rose, gainers outnumbered losers by 4-to-1 this year, the magazine noted.

Mexico’s telecom magnate Carlos Slim was again the richest man on the planet for the fourth year in a row with a net worth of $73 billion. He was followed by Bill Gates at $67 billion. Amancio Ortega of the Spanish retailer Zara ranked no. 3 for the first time and was the biggest gainer adding $19.5 billion to his fortune in one year taking it to $57 billion. It’s the first year since 2000 that Warren Buffet was not among the top 3. He ranked fourth with a net worth of $53.5 billion.

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