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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Bezos dethrones Gates as world's richest person

Amazon chief sees fortune surge by $10bn as shares  rise 13 per cent

Jeff Bezos is now the wealthiest man on the planet. Brent Lewis Getty
Jeff Bezos is now the wealthiest man on the planet. Brent Lewis Getty

A post-earnings surge in Amazon.com shares Friday pushed Jeff Bezos to the top of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for the first time, vaulting him ahead of Bill Gates who had held the top spot as the richest person on Earth for more than four years.

The founder and chief executive officer of the retail juggernaut added US$10.4 billion to his net worth as Amazon shares rose 13 per cent, the most in two and a half years, a day after the company reported quarterly sales and profit that surpassed analysts’ estimates. Profit for the third quarter was $256 million, up slightly from $252m a year ago while revenue jumped 34 per cent to $43.7bn.

Mr Bezos' wealth briefly eclipsed that of Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, on an intraday basis on July 27, but Amazon shares ended that day lower, leaving Mr Bezos in second.

Microsoft reported net income of $6.58bn, or 84 cents per share, up from $5.67bn, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 12 per cent to $24.54bn.

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At the close of US markets Friday, Mr Bezos had a net worth of $93.8bn, $5.1bn ahead of Mr Gates on the Bloomberg index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. Mr Gates had been the world’s richest person since 2013.

Mr Bezos, 53, has added $28.5bn to his fortune this year. Mr Gates’ net worth has climbed by $6.3bn since year-end, even after he donated $4.6bn of Microsoft stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in August.

Mr Gates has given away almost 700 million Microsoft shares and $2.9bn of cash and other assets since 1996, according to an analysis of his publicly disclosed giving. He would be worth about $15bn if he had not made the donations.