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The dealmaker behind Burger King, Heinz, and Budweiser is now the richest person in South America

jorge paulo lemann
jorge paulo lemann

3G Capital's Jorge Lemann is worth $25 billion.

Of the 50 wealthiest people in the world, only one hails from South America: Brazilian business magnate

Jorge Paulo Lemann, who's worth $25 billion.

Brazil's wealthiest man ranks as the 26th richest person in the world, according to data provided to Business Insider by Wealth-X, a company that conducts research on the super-wealthy, as featured in our recent list of the 50 richest people on earth.

Lemann took an unorthodox path to affluence. He worked as a journalist and professional tennis player — he played at Wimbledon — before buying a small brokerage in Brazil for $800,000 in 1971. Lemann and his partners modeled the firm after Goldman Sachs, eventually building it into a powerhouse and selling to Credit Suisse in 1998 for $657 million.

In 2004, he cofounded investment firm 3G Capital, where he’s built a reputation for orchestrating huge mergers and acquisitions, often alongside friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett. At the end of 2014, Lemann created a fast-food giant, with the help of Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, by merging Burger King with Canadian brand Tim Hortons in a series of deals worth over $11 billion.

Then last March, 3G and Berkshire Hathaway teamed up again to invest $10 billion into the megamerger of Kraft and Heinz, which created the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world with combined revenues of $28 billion.

And in November, 3G's Anheuser-Busch InBev orchestrated a mammoth $108 billion deal to take over SABMiller, becoming the most dominant beer producer in the world. The megamerger puts brand-name beers like Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Leffe all under one roof, and it puts Lemann one step closer to his lifelong dream of controlling the beer market.

Lemann, who also has a home in Zurich, Switzerland, remains notoriously private when it come to his personal life, choosing to let his business performance do the talking.

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