Thursday, July 27, 2017

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos becomes world's richest man as the company's stock price soars



Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has overtaken Bill Gates to become the world's richest person, worth $91.4bn (£70bn).A 2.5% rise in Amazon shares on Thursday means Mr Bezos's wealth has now eclipsed the Microsoft co-founder by $1.4bn, according to Forbes.Mr Bezos, 53, owns about 17% of the shares in Amazon, whose value has now exceeded $500bn.The online retailer reports second quarter results after Wall Street closes on Thursday.For the first three months of this year Amazon's sales jumped 23% to $35.7bn. The company expects a rise of 16% to 24% for the quarter to June.In recent years Mr Bezos has focused on his Blue Origin space rocket business and the Washington Post newspaper, which he bought in 2013.Soaring technology stocks have fuelled huge growth in the worth of entrepreneurs such as Mr Bezos and Facebook founder Mark Zuckberberg, 33, who is now worth $72.6bn according to Forbes.Just over two decades ago Jeff Bezos started selling books online from his garage. Today, the Amazon CEO is the richest person on Earth.Bezos's net worth topped $90 billion on Thursday, allowing the Amazon founder and CEO to narrowly dethrone Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) co-founder Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, according to Forbes and Bloomberg. If Amazon stock holds steady through trading Thursday, Bezos will officially bump Gates, who has been No. 1 since 2013, from the the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Bezos has been hailed as the smartest guy in business for turning a bookselling platform into a disruptive force that has flipped traditional retail on its head.His world's-richest-man milestone was made possible because of Amazon (AMZN, Tech30)'s surging stock price. The e-commerce juggernaut's market value surpassed $500 billion this week for the first time ever.The vast majority of the Bezos fortune is tied up in Amazon stock, of which the CEO owns nearly 17%. That stake alone is worth $83 billion, meaning Bezos could just as quickly lose his new title as the world's richest man should Amazon's stock decline, or Microsoft's value rise.In recent years, Bezos's fortune has whizzed past that of legendary investor Warren Buffett, Spanish retail magnate Amancio Ortega and Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Bezos added more than $24 billion in net worth since January 2017, according to Bloomberg.Bezos founded Amazon in the mid-1990s from a garage, originally as an online bookseller. But over the years Bezos has deftly steered Amazon into hardware, cloud services, music and streaming shows. All along the way, Amazon used technology and sheer force to ruthlessly cut prices. Customers in turn have flocked to Amazon, which raked in a stunning $136 billion in sales last year alone.The Amazon boss's bold vision was on full display again in June when he shocked Wall Street and the business world with a $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods (WFM). The surprise deal instantly made Amazon a major bricks-and-mortar player and sent a wave of fear through traditional grocery stores and food companies.Bezos has used his fortune to purchase The Washington Post in 2013 and launch his own rocket company, Blue Origin.



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