On the Trail With Bloomberg’s Billionaire Hunters

November 4th, 2013  |  Source: DigiDay.com

Last summer, David De Jong caught wind of Gunther Quandt, a German industrialist and Nazi, who founded an industrial empire that today includes BMW. De Jong wasn’t interested in Gunther so much, as his sons Hareld and Herbert. They went on to inherit their father’s empire, but while Herbert’s heirs have remained somewhat in the public eye as BMW’s controlling shareholders, Harald’s heirs have not. The reason? After his parents divorced, his mother married Joseph Goebbels, one of Adolph Hitler’s closest associates, making him Hareld Quandt’s stepfather.

A few clicks and searches later, De Jong stumbled upon what he wanted: an “opaque-looking website” called “Harald Quandt Holding,” which listed the company’s assets at $18 billion. This nondescript website, hiding in plain sight, was the thread that De Jong yanked to unravel the full story behind Harald Quant’s heirs and their hidden fortune. With some diligent digging, De Jong was able break the news that each of Harald’s remaining four daughters is a billionaire, among the richest people in Germany. Hence the headline: “Nazi Goebbels’ Step-Grandchildren Are Hidden Billionaires.”

This is the life of a billionaire hunter, employed by Bloomberg to compile its Billionaires Index. At the time of its launch last year, the Billionaires Index was a static list with 20 names. Today, it’s a live, interactive data set that has grown — thanks to a team of about 20 reporters in nine countries — to include 200 of the world’s known billionaires (minus Michael Bloomberg himself, because it is conveniently the company’s policy to not cover its founder). There’s much work to be done, as Bloomberg Billionaires editor Matt Miller estimates there are some 1,500 billionaires out there, waiting to be found.

Read the rest of the story here: http://digiday.com/publishers/bloomberg-billionaire-index/

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