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.
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