Jeff Bezos ousts Bill Gates as world's richest man

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on Friday replaced Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, a development directly attributed to the uptick in Amazon shares registered on Wall Street.

 
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos  

Bezos is now the richest person on the planet after a bounce in company stock value floated his net worth to a massive $93.8 billion by the end of business on Friday. Two hours after the stock market opened on Friday, Amazon shares were up 11.9 per cent, on the first day since it announced its third-quarter results at the close of trading on Thursday.

Microsoft shares had climbed close to 7 per cent at the same time, also as a result of its third-quarter earnings announced on Thursday at Wall Street's closing bell.

But according to Forbes magazine, which closely follows the world's greatest personal fortunes, taking into account, among other aspects, the value of their stock market assets, Bezos surpassed Gates on Friday as the richest person in the world.

According to Forbes, the fortune of Amazon's founder reached some $90.6 billion, compared with the $90.1 billion that the online edition of the magazine attributes to Gates.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Bezos ended the day $5.1 billion richer than Gates.

Gates, 61, with a fortune of $88.7 billion as of Friday, had previously held the top spot since 2013 - except for a few hours.

Bezos owned nearly 80 million shares in Amazon as of August, according to the most recent available data from FactSet. He made more than $10 billion from the one-day stock surge and is now worth well over $90 billion.

At the end of trading on Thursday, Gates occupied the top spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $88 billion. Bezos had $83.5 billion, and his big day on Friday was more than enough to close the gap.

But Gates also got a boost as Microsoft stock rose 7 per cent. Gates owned 103 million shares as of September, according to FactSet. Microsoft stock climbed about $6 a share, so Gates added almost $600 million to his personal wealth.

This is not the first time that Bezos has outpaced Gates - it previously happened on 27 July when Amazon shares hit a historic high, though Gates took back the lead hours later.

Jeff Bezos has been on the Forbes list of the richest billionaires since 1998, a year after his e-commerce giant went public.

Amazon stock rocketed 13 per cent on Friday, the biggest jump in 2.5 years, fattening Bezos' portfolio by an extra $10.4 billion in a matter of hours. The booming stock performance followed a strong third-quarter earnings report that exceeded analyst expectations for the company, Bloomberg noted.

Earlier this year, Amazon acquired Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its largest acquisition to date.

Gates first hit the big time in 1995 when he was 39 and his $12.9 billion fortune put him on top of the billionaire ratings. He dropped down in 2007 and didn't make it to the top again until 2017, largely because he gave away tens of billions of dollars to various causes. Bezos has said he wants to give more money to charity.

Warren Buffett was third in the latest ratings, with $88 billion in assets, followed by Amancio Ortega, Spain's Zara clothing tycoon, with a $77.2-billion fortune, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg with $75.4 billion.