Bezos becomes world’s richest person, then loses title
SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos on Thursday took something away from a billionaire neighbour in the Seattle area, Bill Gates — the mantle of world’s richest person.
A 1 per cent pop in the shares of Amazon.com — the internet company Bezos founded, which accounts for the vast majority of his wealth — was enough to briefly bump him over the wealth of Gates, the philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder, according to a real-time list of billionaires by Forbes.com, which has tallied the fortunes of the uber-rich for decades.
Forbes estimated the wealth of Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, at $90.6 billion, compared with $90 billion for Gates. But when Amazon’s stock price fell later in the day, Gates reclaimed the title as world’s richest person.
Bezos has added tens of billions of dollars in wealth — at least on paper — over the last year as Amazon shares surged more than 40 per cent during that period. They traded at about $1,063 on Thursday, before the release of the company’s latest earnings report.
According to a filing with securities regulators in April, Bezos holds nearly 81 million shares of Amazon — almost 17 per cent of the company.
Forbes also estimates the value of his other investments — including his ownership of The Washington Post and the rocket company Blue Origin — and cash from the sale of securities as part of its wealth calculations. Bezos has said he sells about $1 billion a year worth of Amazon stock to finance Blue Origin.
Gates has been at the top of the Forbes list of billionaires for 18 out of the last 23 years.
Most of Gates’ wealth originates from Microsoft, which has seen its stock rise to new highs lately. A Microsoft filing from last October said he held nearly 191 million shares of Microsoft which are currently worth about $14.1 billion.
But Gates has spent years diversifying his investments. Kerry Dolan of Forbes said the publication also considers extensive assets Gates holds through his Cascade Investments.