Amazon’s Jeff Bezos became the world’s richest person today when shares of Amazon jumped $15 per share overnight.
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According to Forbes and Bloomberg, the Amazon CEO had a net worth of over $89 billion as of the close of markets Wednesday, while Bill Gates had a net worth of just over $90 billion.
If the stocks hold up today, Bezos — who owns around 80 million shares of Amazon — will add more than $800 million to his fortune. That would put him past Gates, assuming the valuations of their non-stock holdings haven’t changed.
Of course, Amazon stock could pull back, or Microsoft could rally. But even if Bezos doesn’t end the day as the richest man, he will likely take the crown from Gates more permanently in the coming days and weeks.
When he hits the mark, Bezos, who started selling books from his garage 22 years ago, becomes the first man to bump Gates from his perch in seven years and is only the sixth man to hold the “richest person” title in the past 30 years, according to Forbes.
This development presents a new face of outsized wealth to the world and heralding a new kind of billionaire who is skeptical of philanthropy and has massive reach in culture, technology and media. Bezos will be a stark contrast to his fellow Seattle-area resident Gates, who has topped the list for much of the past quarter-century and devotes his time and money to philanthropy.
Over the past two years, as Amazon’s stock has soared, so has Bezos’ fortune. He owns 79.9 million shares, or just under 17 percent of the company. His net worth has grown by $70 billion over the past five years, surging by $45 billion in the last two years alone — possibly the largest wealth-creation surge in history.
Soon after the stock market opened, shares of Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, spiked 1.8 percent — pushing Bezos’ net worth to $90 billion, surpassing Gates’ $89 billion.
But Bezos’ reign lasted only four hours, and by the 4 p.m. close of the market, his net worth had slumped to a meager $88.7 billion, dropping him below Gates — who had topped the list since 2013 — at $89.8 billion.
Source: New York Post