Jeff Bezos a US$100b man as Amazon rises on cyber shopping


Forbes' real-time ranking of the richest people had Jeff Bezos on top, with a personal net worth of US$100.3 billion.
Forbes' real-time ranking of the richest people had Jeff Bezos on top, with a personal net worth of US$100.3 billion.PHOTO: AFP

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP, BLOOMBERG) - Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was a US$100-billion man on Monday (Nov 27) as the online retail colossus raked in cash from the holiday weekend's cyber shopping spree.

Forbes magazine's real-time ranking of the richest people had Bezos on top, with a personal net worth of US$100.3 billion.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates saw his net worth climb to a dizzying US$89.4 billion but was relegated to being the second most affluent person on the planet.

Bezos owns almost 17 per cent of Amazon, which he founded in a Seattle garage in 1994 after quitting a hedge fund job to sell books online.

Amazon shares finished the official trading day up just shy of a per cent, and inched up a bit more in after-market trades to top US$1,200.

Based on the share price, Seattle-based Amazon had a market value of some US$576.3 billion.

Market tracker Adobe Digital Insights data showed that online shopping was at a record-setting pace from Black Friday into Cyber Monday and investors are betting the company will take an outsized share of online spending over the gifting season.

As Bezos' wealth flirts with new heights, there's likely to be more questions about what he intends to do with it. Unlike Gates or US investor Warren Buffett, the world's third-richest person with US$78.9 billion, Bezos has given relatively little of his fortune to charity.

Bezos is only just starting to focus on philanthropy, and in June tweeted a request for ideas on how to help people. Since 2002, Bezos has given away Amazon shares worth about US$500 million at current prices, according to a Bloomberg analysis of Form 4 filings. The billionaire said in April that he sells US$1 billion of Amazon stock every year to fund his space business Blue Origin.

Gates, 62, would be worth more than US$150 billion if he hadn't given away almost 700 million Microsoft shares and US$2.9 billion of cash and other assets to charity, according to an analysis of his publicly disclosed giving since 1996. The index numbers are based on the close of trading in New York on Wednesday.