Jeff Bezos set to lose his crown as world's richest person to Bill Gates

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (above) took the top spot from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in October 2017. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Jeff Bezos is about to relinquish the title of world's richest person to Bill Gates, as stock tumbled in late trading on Thursday (Oct 24).

Shares of the biggest online retailer dropped 8.1 per cent to US$1,637 in extended trading at 4.24pm in New York.

At that price, Amazon founder Bezos would have a net worth of US$102.8 billion (S$140 billion), ranking him second, and almost US$5 billion behind Microsoft co-founder Gates, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Mr Bezos took the top spot from Mr Gates in October 2017.

The ranking officially updates after the close of each trading day in the United States, so the change won't be official until Friday's market close.

Microsoft, the world's most valuable company, has surged 38 per cent this year, boosting the value of Mr Gates' 1 per cent stake and bringing his fortune to US$107.5 billion.

The rest of his wealth is derived from share sales and investments made over the years by his family office, Cascade.

Mr Gates, 63, remains an aggressive stock investor, with more than 60 per cent of his portfolio in equities, he said last month in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Mr Bezos, 55, would still be ranked No. 1 if he and former wife MacKenzie Bezos had not divorced. The pair announced their split in January, with MacKenzie, 49, receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July.

Her net worth would drop to US$32.9 billion, with Amazon shares priced at US$1,637, but she would remain the world's fourth-richest woman.

Mr Gates, on the other hand, may have never relinquished the top spot were it not for his philanthropy. He has donated more than US$35 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation since 1994.

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