Jeff Bezos just snuck past Warren Buffett to become the third richest person on Earth.
The Amazon.com founder’s net worth was US$65,05bn on Thursday (R923bn at the time of writing), topping Buffett by $32m on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. With the gain, Bezos’s wealth has increased by $5,4bn this year, marking a resurgence after it fell to as low as $43 billion in February amid turbulent global markets.
Most of Bezos’s wealth is tied to Amazon, which has benefited from robust demand for quick-turnaround delivery, cloud services and gadgets like the Kindle and Echo. In April, the Seattle-based company posted its biggest-ever net income and said first-quarter sales climbed 28%, including a 64% rise at its cloud computing division. The shares are up 54% since hitting a low of $482,07 on 9 February.
Bezos’s rise in the billionaire ranking has been helped by Buffett’s philanthropy. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman donated about $2,2bn worth of stock this month in his annual gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Even so, the 85-year-old has still seen his net worth rise by $2,7bn in 2016, with Berkshire’s Class A shares up 9,4%.
Bezos, 52, now lags only Spain’s Amancio Ortega, the Inditex founder, who has a $73bn fortune, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, the world’s richest person, with $89bn.
Bezos’s rank could climb higher. Carlos Kirjner of Sanford C Bernstein & Co set his Amazon price target at $1 000 in May, 34% above Thursday’s close of $744,43. With the stock at that price, Bezos’s fortune would be about $86bn, just under Gates’s current level. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP
- Reported with assistance from Jack Witzig