Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is hot on the heels of Bill Gates for richest man in the world title
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, has a net worth of £65.24 billion ($ 85.2 billion) – just £2.9 billion ($ 3.9 billion) less than the richest man in the world Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
With the gap between the two fortunes rapidly shrinking, according to Bloomberg Data, Mr Bezos probably won’t have to wait too long to knock Mr Gates off the top spot, with Amazon set to show sizeable earnings in its next report, due out on July 27.
Bloomberg says the majority of Mr Bezos’s fortune is derived from his 17 per cent holding in Amazon.com.
He is also the sole owner of space exploration company Blue Origin.
Mr Gates, 61, gave up his CEO title three years ago to focus solely on his philanthropic activities while Mr Bezos continues to be dedicated to Amazon, treating the company with the same passion of a start-up.
Nine years ago, Microsoft’s stock was trading at around £23 ($ 30) – down 50 per cent since its peak of £46 ($ 60) in 1999.
In 2014, when Mr Gates finally relinquished the CEO position, the company’s stock was trading at about £35 ($ 46) – still considerably lower than its 1999 high.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post
Mr Bezos’ net worth is largely tied up in 78.9 million Amazon shares, leading his net worth to sky rocket by £14.78 billion ($ 19.3 billion) in just six months thanks to strong earnings and growing investor confidence.
To that effect, Amazon’s stock has rallied 35 per cent since the start of the year.
Wall Street analysts remain relatively positive that Amazon shares have the potential to hit £860 ($ 1,123) within the 12 months.
The company has seen its stock spike over 1,200 per cent over the last nine years as the company single-handedly changed the retail market to omnichannel with their dominance of the online sector.
According to papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Amazon accounted for 43 per cent of all online sales in 2016, and accounted for 53 per cent of all online sales growth for the year.
Mr Bezos became the world’s second-richest person after surpassing the £64.72 billion ($ 84.5 billion) fortune of Inditex Corporation’s Amancio Ortega, Warren Buffett’s £57.2 billion ($ 74.7 billion) Berkshire Hathaway empire, and eclipsing the £49.63 billion ($ 64.8 billion) made by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates gave up his CEO title three years ago
While hugely successful, Amazon is not the only feather in Mr Bezos’s cap.
Private space flight company Blue Origin, founded by Mr Bezos in 2000, is involved in developing technologies to help private individuals access to space.
Mr Bezos also has an interest in media, and bought The Washington Post, which he wished to transform into a most powerful national and even global publication, in 2013.
Amazon itself has also forayed into the entertainment segment, with its Amazon Prime membership offering subscribers access to popular movies, TV shows, over two million songs, thousands of playlists and stations, gaming content, books and magazines.
Amazon expanded into the UK market in 1998 – four years after being established
Through an investment arm, named Bezos Expeditions, Amazon has picked up stakes in startups belonging to different segments, both listed and private unicorns such as Airbnb, Uber and Nextdoor.
After several years of deliberations, the company has also made concrete moves toward expansion into the multi-billion dollar pharmacy market, according to media reports, with the company reportedly looking for a CEO.
And Amazon’s recent agreement to buy Whole Foods Market opening the door to grocery retailing, with the company’s expertise in logistics and supply chain likely to create huge disruptions within the grocery industry.