Jeff Bezos lost almost US$7 billion yesterday, more money than all but 240 of the world’s wealthiest can claim.
Up to that point, he had been the world’s richest man with US$111 billion, thanks to being the founder and chief executive of Amazon, the e-commerce company he founded in 1994.
His downturn is the result of Amazon’s reported lacklustre third-quarter earnings which caused its stocks to drop between seven and eight per cent in after-hours trading, according to reports.
Amazon reported that net sales increased by 24 per cent to US$70 billion in the third quarter, compared with US$56.6 billion in third-quarter 2018. However, its net income dropped to US$2.1 billion, compared to $2.9 in the corresponding period last year. This drop represents the company’s first profit decline in two years.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates will reclaim his title as the world’s richest man should the market movements hold when the markets close today, a distinction he lost to Bezos last year.
During the announcement of the company’s performance yesterday, Bezos said Amazon is “ramping up to make our 25th holiday season the best ever for Prime customers — with millions of products available for free one-day delivery”.
Despite the drop in revenue, some company highlights of the quarter include the introduction of an all-new line up of Echo devices, over 20 new Fire TV products, and new Alexa smart home features and products.
Bezos also saw his net worth decline significantly earlier this year when he transferred a quarter of his stake in the company to ex-wife MacKenzie in the most expensive divorce settlement ever. The separation saw Mackenzie receive approximately $34 billion to become one of the world’s wealthiest people.
Gates has donated significant portions of his personal fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which he has managed with his wife since its creation back in 2000. The foundation has spent an estimated US$36 billion to fund health, education and poverty alleviation work.