MANILA, Philippines – Amazon founder Jeff Bezos overtook Bill Gates’ riches and became the world’s wealthiest man on Thursday, July 27 – for a few hours at least.
A rise in the share price of the US tech giant enabled him to jump from 2nd place to the top spot, with a net worth of $90.5 billion compared to Gates’ $90 billion, according to Forbes estimates. But as trading progressed, the share price dipped, and Bezos found himself again second to Gates.
Forbes’ real-time wealth tracker shows Bezos’ net worth at $88.7 billion at the time of publication (9 am, July 28).
Earlier in the day, Amazon shares were up 1.7% at $1,070.72 but dipped to $1,010.50 in after-market trades. The drop followed the release of Amazon’s earnings figures for the second quarter of 2017, which fell bellow Wall Street expectations. (READ: Amazon sales surge to $38-B, but spending bites into profit)
Over the past 4 months, the company’s stock has seen an estimated rise of 24%, which added some $17 billion to Bezos’ net worth. The 53-year-old owns around 17% of the equity of Amazon.
The online retail giant has been diversifying its portfolio, delving into cloud computing with Amazon Web Services (AWS), online video with Amazon Video and Amazon Prime Video, artificial intelligence with its Alexa assistant, and computer hardware. It has also announced that it’s looking to acquire US grocer Whole Foods, and has recently registered a trademark in the US for a meal-kit business.
The potential Whole Foods acquisition alone has one analyst predicting that it could catapult Amazon stock to $2,000 per share, nearly double of what it is now – and just may entrench Bezos as world’s richest.
Amazon has also been strengthening its presence in Southeast Asia. AWS set up shop in the Philippines in May 2016 while express delivery service Prime debuted in Singapore on Thursday, July 27 – marking the first time the service is available in the region.
Bezos also owns the private space firm Blue Origin and the Washington Post newspaper
According to Forbes, Gates has been the richest person in the magazine’s annual rankings in March for the past 4 years, and for 18 of the past 22 years. Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim overtook Gates from 2010 to 2013.
Among the billionaires gaining ground is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has an estimated worth of some $71.3 billion according to the real-time Forbes estimate. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com