Jeff Bezos’ net worth has broken through his previous record, even though he gave up a quarter of his share in Amazon.com Inc. last year as part of a divorce settlement. Seattle-based retailer shares rose 4.4 per cent to Wednesday’s record $2,878.70, raising the founders’ world-leading fortune to $171.6 billion. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, that tops his previous high of $167.7 billion set at Sept. 4, 2018
His earnings — this year alone $56.7 billion — reflect a widening income gap in the US amid the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Initial public offerings and booming stock markets have raised mega fortunes, even though tens of millions have lost their jobs. Upon fielding feedback this week about ending the pandemic threat compensation, Amazon announced it would spend about $500 million on giving the most front-line employees one-time $500 bonuses.
The company had declined to comment on the wealth of its founder. Amazon was on a tear, with the pandemic accelerating the shift from brick-and-mortar retail to e-commerce. Bezos owns 11 per cent of the stock, the bulk of his fortune. The majority of those with the highest gains in income even come from the tech industry. They cover Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who has added $25.8 billion to his fortune since January 1, and founder Eric Yuan of Zoom Video Communications Inc., whose wealth has nearly quadrupled to $13.1 billion.
Mackenzie Bezos, who after the couple split acquired a 4 per cent stake in Amazon, has a net worth of $56.9 billion and managed to climb to No. 12 in the score of Bloomberg. She recently leapfrogged to become the world’s second-wealthiest woman Alice Walton and Julia Flesher Koch, and now trails only L’Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers.
So, this year, not every billionaire came out ahead. Also, Amancio Ortega of Spain, the billionaire behind the fast-fashion chain of Zara, has lost $19.2 billion. Most of whom is on the Bloomberg index. Hathaway, Berkshire Inc. Chairman Warren Buffett dropped $19bn, while French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault dropped $17.6bn. But most have had the downturn weathered. The collective net worth of the 500 richest people in the world. He now stands at $5.93 trillion, compared with $5.91 trillion at the start of the year.