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Jeff Bezos becomes the richest man in history as his net worth crosses $150 B

Sohini Mitter
17th Jul 2018
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Jeff Bezos added $52 billion to his fortune this year as Amazon stock soared on the New York Stock Exchange.

Jeff Bezos is now richer than anyone has ever been. The Amazon Founder-CEO’s net worth touched $151 billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index on July 16, which coincided with Prime Day - Amazon’s headlining sales event across the globe.

While Jeff Bezos has topped wealth rankings since late 2017, when he surpassed Microsoft Founder Bill Gates on individual fortune, the $150-billion figure is the highest in modern history, even when adjusted for inflation. Even Gates’ own $100-billion fortune during the dotcom boom of the late 1990s would be about $149 billion today.

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At present, Gates is the second-richest man after Bezos with a personal wealth of $95.3 billion. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Amancio Ortega (Zara) are the others in the top five with fortunes of $83 billion, $82.8 billion, and $74.8 billion, respectively.

The Amazon founder’s wealth has grown $52 billion in 2018 alone taking him a stone’s throw away from the Walton family’s $151.5-billion fortune. The Waltons, who own American retail giant Walmart, are the richest billionaire-clan in the world.

Bezos first breached the $100-billion mark last November just ahead of the holiday season in the US. Blockbuster sales in the next few weeks, including Cyber Monday 2017 that was touted to be the biggest shopping day in history, sent Amazon’s stock soaring. The ecommerce giant accounted for 89 percent of online holiday sales in the US in 2017, and Bezos’s wealth crossed $105 billion.

Since then, it has been a dream run for Bezos, who owns more than 17 percent of Amazon stock. Hence, even minor fluctuations (1 percent) in company stock prices can erode Bezos’ wealth by a few billion dollars in a single day.

Amazon is presently the second-most valued firm in the world at $890 billion, and is closing in on Apple’s $935-billion valuation. Its stock has grown almost 60 percent in less than a year ($1,000 in October 2017 to $1,800 in July 2018).

Besides Amazon, Bezos also owns legacy American media company The Washington Post, which he acquired in 2013, and private space travel firm, Blue Origin. But a lion’s share of his wealth comes from Amazon.

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