The stock of e-commerce giant Amazon took another step toward the stratosphere this past week, boosting the net worth of founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to an eye-popping $138.8 billion at the end of trading on Friday, according to Forbes’ Real-Time rankings of the world’s billionaires. That makes the world’s only centi-billionaire $3.3 billion richer than a week earlier.
The uptick in the company’s stock occurred amid a flurry of news: Amazon Prime announced it would live-stream English Premier League soccer games in the U.K; Whole Foods grocery store chain, which Amazon purchased last year for $13.4 billion, expanded its discounts for Prime members; and analysts released bullish reports about the company, which is the second largest in the U.S. after Apple in terms of market capitalization.
Bezos owns 16% of the e-commerce colossus, a stake that accounts for an estimated 95% of his fortune. The performance of Amazon’s stock has a direct, and significant, impact on his wealth. Since markets opened on Monday, Amazon’s share price may have only increased 2%, closing Friday at $1683.99, but for Bezos, that translates into billions of dollars.
The steady rise of Amazon stock this year—it is up 42% year-to-date—made Bezos the richest person in the world on Forbes’ annual Billionaires List for the first time, unseating Bill Gates.
Bezos’ position would have been hard to predict in 1994, when Gates was the richest person in the world and Bezos had just launched an e-commerce bookstore out of his garage in Seattle. In 1997, Bezos took Amazon public at $18 per share. He debuted on the The Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans the following year.
Though Bezos is the richest to see his fortune rise this week, he is not alone. Nike founder Phil Knight’s net worth grew by $800 million this week as retail stocks, particularly those of athletic brands, ticked up. Nike shares rose 3% over the past week.
The shoe company may have not brought Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavs enough luck to beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals, but its success has lifted Knight’s fortune to $32.9 billion.
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