Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has become the world’s richest person after soaring Black Friday sales and a banner year for his company. Bezos has once again knocked Bill Gates off the top spot.
Online sales on Black Friday were up 18.4 percent year-on-year, and Amazon alone may have accounted for half of all online sales on Black Friday according to one estimate, reports The Verge. Black Friday sales propelled the retailer's shares up by over two percent, Bezos being the owner of roughly 17 percent (78.9 million shares worth $93.6 billion) of the company he founded in his garage in Seattle 1994.
Putting it into context, Bezos made $2.4 billion on Friday, enough by itself to propel a person into Forbes top 1,000 richest people on the planet.
Bezos surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the richest person on the planet back in October before dropping back, but he has now solidified his position as the wealthiest person on earth. Bill Gates was the first to achieve a 12-figure net worth back in 1999.
However, Gates has a current net worth of $86.8 billion but would far outrank Bezos had he not given away 700 million shares in Microsoft, in addition to $2.9 billion in cash and other assets to charity. Were he more selfish, Bloomberg estimates Gates could currently be worth $150 billion.
Bezos hasn't given or pledged as much to charity as his billionaire contemporaries like Gates or Warren Buffett. He has, however, given away Amazon shares worth $500 million (at current share price) since 2002. He has also requested ideas for philanthropic ventures on Twitter.
The 53-year-old Amazon founder bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million and founded the aerospace company Blue Origin, a rival to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, in 2000.
In a stark reminder of wealth inequality in the US, it emerged this month that the combined fortunes of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos (roughly $248.5 billion) exceeds the net worth of 160 million Americans, or 53 million US households.