Jeff Bezos is selling more Amazon stock to fund his space venture
In a week, Amazon Founder-CEO Jeff Bezos has offloaded shares worth $2.8 billion from his retail empire. All that goes into Blue Origin, his space exploration company and most ambitious venture to date.Sohini Mitter
Jeff Bezos is on a stock-selling spree.
Less than a week after he offloaded $1.8 billion worth of Amazon stock, the world's richest man sold additional shares of $990 million in early August, revealed filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The transactions were a part of a pre-arranged trading plan.
Bezos has stated in the past that he intends to liquidate $1 billion worth of Amazon stock every year to fund Blue Origin, an aerospace company he founded in 2000.
“The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel," he told the media last year.
"Blue Origin is expensive enough to be able to use that fortune,” he added.
The Amazon Founder-CEO continues to own nearly 12 percent in the software-to-retail behemoth. His ex-wife Mackenzie Bezos is the second-largest individual shareholder in the company with shares worth $37 million.
After this recent stock sale, Bezos's net worth stands at $110 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Microsoft Founder Bill Gates is next with a fortune of $104 billion.
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Blue Origin, which was launched in Texas, is touted as Bezos's most ambitious venture. The company is building rocket engines that will fundamentally change the way humans explore space. Bezos even plans to colonise the moon with Blue Moon Lunar Lander, which he unveiled in May.
The vehicle will be used to land moon rovers and astronauts on the lunar surface, and is expected to ferry its first human cargo by 2024. "We will go back to the moon, this time to stay," Bezos was quoted as saying during its launch.
Blue Origin also plans to roll out space tourism initiatives shortly with the 'New Shepard' rocket, which has been tested for commercial operations. The rocket can send passengers up to more than 65 miles above the Earth into outer space.
Once operational, New Shepard will directly compete with Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic in the space tourism sector.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)