Sale: Amazon CE Jeff Bezos crossed the threshold just as Amazon prepares to kick off its 36-hour summer sales event. Picture: REUTERS
Sale: Amazon CE Jeff Bezos crossed the threshold just as Amazon prepares to kick off its 36-hour summer sales event. Picture: REUTERS

New York — Jeff Bezos is the richest person in modern history.

The Amazon.com founder’s net worth broke $150bn in New York on Monday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That is about $55bn more than Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, the world’s second-richest person.

Bezos, 54, has now topped Gates in inflation-adjusted terms. The $100bn mark that Gates hit briefly in 1999 at the height of the dotcom boom would be worth about $149bn now. That makes the Amazon CE richer than anyone else on earth since at least 1982, when Forbes published its inaugural wealth ranking.

Bezos crossed the threshold just as Amazon prepares to kick off its 36-hour summer sales event, Prime Day. The company’s share price was $1,825.73 in late-morning trading in New York, extending its 2018 gain to 56% and giving Bezos a $150.8bn fortune.

His net worth has soared by $52bn in 2018, which is more than the entire fortune of Mukesh Ambani, the newly crowned richest person in Asia.

It also puts Bezos’s personal fortune within spitting distance of the Walton family’s $151.5bn, which makes it the world’s richest dynasty.

"It’s hard to even put it in perspective," said Michael Cole, CEO of Cresset Family Office. "It’s such a staggering number."

A Federal Reserve report found the top 1% of US families controlled 38.6% of wealth in the US in 2016, compared with 22.8% held by the bottom 90%.

Oxfam International found in 2017 that more than 80% of earnings went to the top 1% of the world population.

Behind Bezos on the Bloomberg index is Gates, with a $95.5bn fortune, followed by Warren Buffett with $83bn.

Gates would have had a net worth of more than $150bn if he had held onto assets that he has given away, largely to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has donated almost 700-million Microsoft shares and $2.9bn in cash and other assets since 1996.

Bloomberg

Please sign in or register to comment.