Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans puts Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page at #13 and #14 with a net worth of $15.9 billion for Brin and $15.8 billion for Page.
That’s a bit less than the $20 billion I estimated for the U.S. newspaper industry as whole. But I was being generous and not subtracting out non-newspaper assets.
For example, only 21% of The Washinton Post Co.’s revenue comes from the newspaper division. (Despite the name, it’s mostly a test prep company.) More than half of Belo’s revenue comes from television operations. Belo’s television segment also generates more than double the income. Gannett also has significant broadcast operations.
If you take out those assets, it’s safe to say that each Googler is worth as much the entire U.S. newspaper industry.
Bill Gates could buy the industry several times over with his $57 billion net worth. As could Warren Buffett. He already has a head start: Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns 18% of the Washington Post Co.
Disclosure: I went to high school with Larry. He was talking about googol even back then.
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