Jeff Bezos’s net worth has smashed through its previous peak, even after he relinquished a quarter of his stake in Amazon as part of a divorce settlement last year.
Shares of the Seattle-based retailer surged 4% to a record $2,879 on Wednesday, boosting the founder’s world-leading fortune to $172 billion. That tops his previous high of $168 billion, set on September 4, 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
￼His gains — $57 billion this year alone — underscore a widening wealth gap in the US during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Initial public offerings and buoyant equity markets have bolstered mega-fortunes, even as tens of millions of people have lost their jobs. The company declined to comment on its founder’s wealth.
￼￼Amazon has been on a tear, with the pandemic accelerating the consumer shift to e-commerce from brick-and-mortar retail. Bezos owns 11% of the stock, which comprises the bulk of his fortune.
Most of those with the biggest wealth gains also hail from the tech sector. They include Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Zoom Video Communications founder Eric Yuan.
Mackenzie Bezos, who acquired a 4% stake in Amazon after the couple split, has a net worth of $57 billion and climbed to No. 12 in Bloomberg’s ranking. She recently leapfrogged Alice Walton and Julia Flesher Koch to become the world’s second-wealthiest woman, and trails only L’Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers- AFP.