CASH COWELL; Simon Pop's Top Riser on Rich List

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Byline: By CLINTON MANNING Business Editor

SIMON Cowell is top of the pops after rocketing from 944th to 700th place in Britain's latest Rich List.

The X Factor mogul has swelled his fortune to pounds 100million after banking pounds 40million last year alone.

No other individual from the world of pop has risen up the ranks so much - and the 47-year-old has now eclipsed troubled star Robbie Williams, who only increased his wealth by pounds 5million to pounds 95million.

Dr Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list for almost 20 years, said: "Cowell's extraordinary success as an unlikely TV star has boosted his fortune.

"The X Factor has become a phenomenon here. But the Americans have also gone wild for this rude Brit. He's singing and dancing on all financial fronts."

Most of Cowell's cash comes from the success of X Factor both here and in the US, where the sixth series of American Idol is reaching its climax. He recently signed a new three-year deal with ITV worth pounds 20million and is paid pounds 13million a series for his US appearances.

His earnings are boosted by his role as producer on records by X Factor stars such as Leona Lewis.

By contrast Robbie, who has been in and out of rehab, had a world tour last year but slumped on record sales, with Rudebox shifting only 450,000 copies. The album before, Intensive Care, sold 3.5 million within weeks of release. He is now ranked at 755th.

One of the biggest chart drops by a figure in the music industry will be Sir Paul McCartney.

The Rich List, which is on TV tonight, will reveal his wealth is down to pounds 725million after a pounds 100million provision for his divorce from Heather Mills. …