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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Jeff Bezos' fortune tops $100bn

Amazon founder sees his wealth rocket following online sales burst for Black Friday

Jeff Bezos' fortune has now topped $100bn. Brent Lewis/Getty
Jeff Bezos' fortune has now topped $100bn. Brent Lewis/Getty

Jeff Bezos is the world’s newest US$100 billion mogul.

The Amazon.com founder’s fortune is up $2.4bn to $100.3bn, as the online retailer’s shares jumped more than 2 per cent on optimism for Black Friday sales. Online purchases for the day are up 18.4 per cent over last year, according to data from Adobe Analytics, and investors are betting the company will take an outsized share of online spending over the gifting season.

The $100 billion milestone makes Mr Bezos, 53, the first billionaire to build a 12-figure net worth since 1999, when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates hit the mark.

Mr Bezos’ fortune rose $32.6bn this year through Thursday, the largest increase of anyone on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. Amazon have climbed 5 per cent last week alone.

As Mr Bezos’ wealth flirts with new heights, there’s likely to be more questions about what he intends to do with it. Unlike Mr Gates, who was the world’s richest person until Mr Bezos passed him in October, or the US investor Warren Buffett, the world’s third-richest person with $78.9bn, Mr Bezos has given relatively little of his fortune to charity.

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

Mr Gates, 62, who has a net worth of $86.8bn according to the Bloomberg index, would be worth more than $150bn if he hadn’t given away almost 700 million Microsoft shares and $2.9bn 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 Wednesday. Mr Bezos’s fortune and Amazon share data reflect Friday’s closing trading prices in New York.