Jeff Bezos is now the world’s richest person thanks to an overnight surge of amazon’s shares which jumped by more than $15 a share, and still trading near that level. The amazon CEO had a net worth of over $89 billion as of the close of markets Wednesday, while Bill Gates had a net worth of just over $90 billion.
If the stocks hold up today, Bezos — who around 80 million shares of Amazon — will add more than $800 million to his fortune. That would put him past Gates, assuming the valuations of their non-stock holdings haven’t changed.
Of course, Amazon stock could pull back, or Microsoft could rally. But even if Bezos doesn’t end the day as the richest man, he will likely take the crown from Gates more permanently in the coming days and weeks.
When he hits the mark, Bezos, who started selling books from his garage 22 years ago, becomes the first man to bump Gates from his perch in seven years and is only the sixth man to hold the “richest person” title in the past 30 years, according to Forbes.
What’s most astounding about Bezos’ rise is his recent wealth surge. He has been a billionaire for nearly 20 years, first making the Forbes list in 1998 with a net worth of $1.6 billion after Amazon’s IPO. He chugged along for the following decade, reaching $4.4 billion in 2007, gradually rising to $18.4 billion by 2012, ranking him 26th on the list.
But over the past two years, as Amazon’s stock has soared, so has Bezos’ fortune. He owns 79.9 million shares, or just under 17 percent of the company. His net worth has grown by $70 billion over the past five years, surging by $45 billion in the last two years alone — possibly the largest wealth-creation surge in history.