Jeff Bezos’ net worth surpassed its previous high, even after giving up a quarter of its stake in Amazon.com Inc. in a divorce settlement last year.
Shares of the Seattle-based retailer jumped 4.4% to a record $ 2,878.70 on Wednesday, bringing the founder’s fortune to $ 171.6 billion. This exceeds its previous high of $ 167.7 billion, established on September 4, 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index.
Its gains – $ 56.7 billion this year alone – highlight a widening wealth gap in the United States during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Initial public offerings and vibrant stock markets have supported mega fortunes, even though tens of millions of people have lost their jobs. This week, after receiving complaints about the end of the pandemic risk bonus, Amazon said it would spend around $ 500 million to give one-time bonuses of $ 500 to most front-line workers.
The company declined to comment on the wealth of its founder.
Amazon is tearing itself apart, the pandemic accelerating the transition of consumers to retail e-commerce. Bezos holds 11% of the stock, which constitutes the bulk of its fortune.
Most of those with the largest wealth gains also come from the technology sector. These include Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk, who has added $ 25.8 billion to his fortune since January 1, and Zoom Video Communications Inc. founder Eric Yuan, whose wealth almost quadrupled to $ 13.1 billion.
Mackenzie Bezos, who acquired a 4% stake in Amazon after the couple split, has a net worth of $ 56.9 billion and climbed 12th in the Bloomberg ranking. She recently passed Alice Walton and Julia Flesher Koch to become the second richest woman in the world, and now only hangs L’Oréal heiress, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers.
Not all billionaires came out on top this year. Spaniard Amancio Ortega, the titan behind fast-fashion brand Zara, lost $ 19.2 billion, the largest number of all in the Bloomberg index. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. president Warren Buffett lost $ 19 billion and French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault lost $ 17.6 billion.
But most have weathered the slowdown. The collective net worth of the world’s 500 richest people now stands at $ 5.93 trillion, up from $ 5.91 trillion at the start of the year.