Be­zos’s for­tune hits high just a year af­ter big­gest-ever di­vorce bill

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Michael Cog­ley

THE for­tune of Jeff Be­zos, the Ama­zon founder, has surged to a new record high af­ter the tech be­he­moth boomed in lock­down – just a year af­ter he agreed the world’s big­gest ever di­vorce set­tle­ment.

Mr Be­zos is now worth an es­ti­mated $171bn (£137bn) af­ter Ama­zon shares climbed 4.4pc to a record $2,878 on

Wed­nes­day. That tops his pre­vi­ous high of $167bn, set on Sept 4 2018, ac­cord­ing to the Bloomberg Bil­lion­aires In­dex.

The 56-year-old’s for­mer wife Macken­zie Be­zos was handed a 4pc stake in Ama­zon as part of the cou­ple’s record $38bn di­vorce set­tle­ment last year af­ter Mr Be­zos had an af­fair with US news an­chor Lau­ren Sanchez.

Macken­zie Be­zos’s wealth has also surged due to the share price jump as droves of shop­pers flocked to Ama­zon when stores closed world­wide.

She now has an es­ti­mated $57bn for­tune, up al­most $20bn this year, and is the world’s sec­ond-wealth­i­est woman – ahead of the likes of Alice Wal­ton and sec­ond only to L’Oreal’s Françoise Bet­ten­court Mey­ers.

Mr Be­zos has gained $56bn this year alone, a fig­ure that some say shows the grow­ing wealth gap in the US as many strug­gle to sur­vive fi­nan­cially.

The com­pany has faced crit­i­cism from some em­ploy­ees over safety con­cerns re­lat­ing to coro­n­avirus, but has in­sisted its ware­houses have rig­or­ous safety rules. Ama­zon said it would hand out $500m in a one-off “thank you” bonus scheme to its work­ers glob­ally.

Mr Be­zos owns about 11pc of Ama­zon’s stock, which ac­counts for the bulk of his wealth. The com­pany’s val­u­a­tion now sits at about $1.44 tril­lion.

The ty­coon was one of a sev­eral tech bosses to en­joy a bumper start to 2020. The net worth of Bill Gates, the world’s sec­ond-rich­est man be­hind Mr Be­zos, has climbed by $483m to $114bn.

Face­book’s Mark Zucker­berg is now val­ued at about $90bn, up $11bn this year. Fur­ther down the list, the for­tune of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has jumped by al­most $26bn to $53bn af­ter he se­cured the first pay­outs un­der an enor­mous bonus plan.

Among the other win­ners from lock­down is Zoom founder Eric Yuan, whose wealth has nearly quadru­pled to $13bn.

The to­tal value of the world’s 500 rich­est peo­ple now stands at $5.93tril­lion, up from $5.91tril­lion at the start of 2020.

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