Jeff Bezos overtakes Bill Gates to briefly become the world’s richest man

Written by Neha Monga
July 28, 2017  

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos became the world’s richest man briefly when he overtook Microsoft’s Bill Gates on Thursday morning.

According to Forbes, the net worth of Mr. Bezos topped over $90 billion, after the price of Amazon shares soared early in the day, as compared to Microsoft co-founder Mr.Gates’ $89 billion. However, an afternoon dip in Amazon’s stock price allowed Mr. Gates to regain his top position.

Even though Mr. Bezos didn’t end the day as the richest man, he is likely take the crown from Mr. Gates more permanently in the coming days and weeks.

Mr. Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 when he started selling books from his garage. But over the years he has subtly steered Amazon into hardware, cloud services, music and streaming shows. 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.

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Mr. Bezos became the first person to remove Mr. Gates from the top position and is only the sixth man to hold the “richest person” title in the past 30 years, according to Forbes.

At the start of 2017, Mr. Bezos was ranked fourth-richest in the world, behind Mr. Gates, the investor Warren Buffett and Amancio Ortega, who founded Inditex, the company behind retailer Zara.

Mr. Bezos has been a billionaire for close to 20 years, first making the Forbes list in 1998 after Amazon’s IPO.

Mr. Bezos has investments in real estate — he bought the most expensive home in Washington, D.C., and owns homes in Beverly Hills, California, and New York along with his spread in Medina, Washington — and is one of the nation’s largest landowners, with over 300,000 acres.

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He also owns The Washington Post and founded Blue Origin, the space-travel company.

Mr. Bezos, who is not much of a philanthropist unlike his fellow billionaires Mr. Gates and Mr. Buffet, recently sought ideas on twitter about how to give back to the society.

“I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now – short term – at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact.”

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