COVID-19 Profiteer: Jeff Bezos Now Worth Record…

Amazon stock gained about 1.2% to close at $3,346 per share on Tuesday and continued to climb on Wednesday. The rally pushed Bezos’ fortune higher again, and his net worth now stands at a record $199.7 billion.

Jeff Bezos might just become the first person ever to be worth $200 billion. Bezos already is the richest man on the planet but now, he may become the richest ever. On Tuesday, the shares of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN), which Bezos founded in 1994 and leads as chief executive finished 1.18% higher making Bezos’ net worth rise by $2.2 billion, to a record of $199.7 billion. At the time of writing the shares were growing in premarket trading by 0.12%. Since Bezos owns such a large piece of this tech behemoth, even the slightest moves in the stock price can add or deduct billions from his fortune.

The record comes just a week after Bezos, who has an 11.1% stake in the $1.68 trillion (market capitalization) company, reached a net worth of $197.8 billion, the highest fortune Forbes had recorded since it started tracking billionaires back in 1982.

The fact is, while pandemic made most of the businesses (and their owners) suffer, Amazon made quite a profit. Since the outbreak in mid-February, Amazon stock has grown by over 55%, mostly thanks to a rising need for online shopping due to shelter-in-place orders. Bezos’ fortune has risen nearly $86 billion in less than a year. Back in 2019, he was worth $114 billion.

Divorce Costs, Bezos Knows

Also, we shouldn’t forget that Bezos would probably surpass this $200 billion benchmark if the guy didn’t decide to go through, what is now known, as the priciest divorce in history. Just for a reminder, back in July 2019, Bezos decided to pull the trigger and end his 25-year marriage so he decided to give a quarter of his Amazon shares to his now ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, who currently owns an estimated 3.8% of the company.

Still, unlike Bezos, Scott signed The Giving Pledge in 2019 and has promised to give away more than half her wealth. In July, she announced that she had given approximately $1.7 billion to 116 nonprofits confronting issues such as racial and gender equity, economic mobility and public health. While she has promised to donate “until the safe is empty,” her net worth has grown more than $25 billion since the 2019 Forbes 400 list. She is currently worth $63.4 billion.

According to Forbes research, Bezos is also a huge philanthropist himself. He donated around $360 million to charity as well. In 2018, his Bezos Day One Fund gave $97.5 million to two dozen organizations helping homeless families. On August 14, documents filed with the Securities Exchange Commission showed that Bezos gave 2,941 Amazon shares, worth $9.3 million at the time, to an undisclosed nonprofit.

Pandemic as a Home Run

Perhaps we should all take a look at the Bezos’s 1997 letter to shareholders.

“Nine times out of ten, you’re going to fail. But every once in awhile, you’ll hit a home run that in business terms is more like one thousand runs. Given a ten percent chance of a one hundred times payoff, you should take that bet every time,” said he.

Pandemic might be one of his home runs but Bezos certainly is not the only billionaire that has seen his fortune skyrocket during the pandemic. According to a recent study by the U.S.’ Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the 12 top richest Americans – including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk – have seen their combined wealth jump by 40 percent to reach more than $1 trillion.

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