Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Amazon’s Bezos becomes richest man in modern history, with wealth topping $150bn

Amazon’s Bezos becomes richest man in modern history, with wealth topping $150bn

Although Bezos has since fallen back to a measly $145 billion net worth from his peak this morning, his rank as the world's richest person has been on-and-off since July 2017.

Most of Mr Bezos's wealth is tied up in Amazon, which is valued at about £678 billion, making it the world's biggest ecommerce company and the world's second largest publicly traded company after Apple, which is worth about £38 billion more.

Bezos crossed over the $150 billion net worth mark Monday as his shares were lifted in part because of Amazon Prime Day, which concluded Tuesday.

This was however higher than $12.2 billion that he was worth in January this year.

It is believed that Bezos's stay above $150 billion may be short-lived as the stock slipped below $1,800 in extended trading.

Historically, Bezos still trails other wealthy individuals such as oil magnate John D Rockefeller and steel baron Andrew Carnegie, whose inflation-adjusted net worth would be more than $300 billion.

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But 2018 has clearly been Bezos' year, as Amazon shares gained 57 percent in just seven months - quickly adding more than $50 billion to his net worth.

Amazon shares fell later in the day, as news broke of website outages in the middle of Amazon's Prime Day promotion, but recovered again on Tuesday, up 1.3 per cent from Monday's close. That makes Bezos richer than anyone else since at least 1982, when Forbes published its wealth ranking. It also puts Bezos's personal fortune within spitting distance of the US$151.5 billion controlled by the Walton family, the world's richest dynasty.

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

He's been giving to charitable foundations since the 1990s and even founded his namesake Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that works to better healthcare and reduce extreme poverty.

Mr Gates is now in second place with a worth of $95b, having given away 700 million Microsoft shares and $2.9b in cash since 1996.

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