Multibillion-dollar dynasty

These Texas billionaires rank among America's 25 richest families

These Texas billionaires rank among America's 25 richest families

Alice Walton of Wal-Mart
Alice Walton sold her Millsap ranch for an undisclosed amount last year. Photo courtesy of Wal-Mart

The Bushes and the Kennedys reign as perhaps the two most prominent political dynasties in the U.S. But if you turn to America’s wealthiest families, one dynasty dominates the list — the heirs of Walmart founders Sam and Bud Walton.

new list from Business Insider pegs the net worth of the Walton heirs at $151.5 billion, handing them the title of America’s richest family. 

Among the seven Walton relatives who share that treasure trove is Alice Walton, the world’s richest woman, who calls Fort Worth home and boasts a fortune estimated at $43.7 billion, according to Business Insider. (Forbes assigned a lower net worth — $41.5 billion — to Alice as of June 25.) Alice, 68, is one of Sam Walton’s three children.

“Rather than working in the family company with brothers Rob and Jim, [Alice] went into investment banking before leaving to pursue her passions for art and horses,” Forbes reported in 2017.

Her legendary father once described Alice, a 1971 graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, as “the most like me — a maverick — but even more volatile.”

In 2017, Alice, whose passions include horse breeding, sold her 1,460-acre Rocking W Ranch in the small town of Millsap for an undisclosed amount, according to Business Insider. The initial asking price was $19.75 million, but the price later dropped to $16.5 million, Business Insider reported.

Courtesy of Alice Walton, the Walmart heirs have a strong foothold among Texas billionaires. However, the Waltons aren’t the only family with Texas ties to appear on the Business Insider list.

The Hunt family — owing its estimated $13.7 billion net worth to oil baron H.L. Hunt — ties for 16th place in Business Insider’s ranking of America’s wealthiest families. Hunt’s array of heirs, including more than a dozen children, have gone on to invest in energy, real estate, hotels, and even sports teams (the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls).

Seventy-five-year-old Dallas oil and gas magnate Ray Lee Hunt, the wealthiest child of H.L. Hunt, has a net worth of $5 billion, according to a June 25 estimate from Forbes. Ray Lee is an alumnus of Southern Methodist University.

The Butt family, whose fortune stems from the San Antonio-based H-E-B grocery chain, lands at No. 23 on Business Insider’s list of America’s wealthiest families. The Butts’ estimated net worth: $11 billion.

Florence Butt founded H-E-B in Kerrville in 1905. In the 1920s, her son Howard expanded the company statewide after taking over the reins. Today, Howard’s 80-year-old son, Charles, is H-E-B’s No. 1 shareholder and runs the company. Charles’ siblings and two nephews also own stakes in H-E-B, according to Business Insider.

Forbes estimated Charles Butt’s net worth at $10.7 billion as of June 25.

In May, Charles Butt committed to donating the bulk of his wealth to philanthropic causes. He joins billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in making that pledge.

“The roots of the Spirit of Giving at the company I have headed over the past 50 years are directly traced back to my parents’ decision in 1933 to contribute 5 percent of our pre-tax income to charitable causes. We’ve kept that pledge through changes in tax rates and other variables,” Butt wrote in his letter for the Giving Pledge campaign.

Business Insider used the most up-to-date estimated net worths available from Forbes and Bloomberg to determine their rankings.

Other noteworthy entries on the top-25 list include the Gallo family of wine-making fame (No. 25); the famous Rockefeller family (No. 24); the beer-making Busch family (No. 18); cosmetics' (Estée) Lauder family (No. 11); and the Mars family, with its candy empire (No. 3).

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