News World Amazon’s Jeff Bezos briefly world’s richest man

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos briefly world’s richest man

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos briefly pipped Bill Gates as the world's richest man before Amazon's stock sent him back to No.2 spot. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly became the world’s richest man in Forbes magazine’s tracking of wealth, as stock in his e-commerce company hit an all-time high.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates reclaimed the lead by Thursday afternoon, as Amazon’s stock fell nearly 1 per cent for the day to $US1046.

Amazon shares have been trading at a record high. They hit $US1083.31 about noon on Thursday. According to securities filings, Bezos owns about 80 million shares, or 17 per cent; those shares were valued at more than $US87 billion ($A109 billion) at the peak.

Bezos also owns The Washington Post through a holding company.

Forbes said Bezos’ net worth was about $US90.6 billion when the market opened on Thursday. Gates had $US90.1 billion.

Forbes said Gates would have been the undisputed leader had he not given billions of dollars away to various philanthropic causes.

Bezos issued a request for philanthropic ideas in a tweet in June, just before Amazon announced a $US13.7 billion deal for organic grocer Whole Foods.

The changes in Bezos’ fortune coincided with Amazon’s report of a 77 per cent decline in quarterly profit on heavy spending.

Shares fell another 2 per cent in after-markets trading as the company missed Wall Street’s expectations on profit.

Amazon said it earned $US197 million, or 40 cents per share, in the second quarter, down from $US857 million, or $US1.78 per share, a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Zacks investment Research were expecting earnings of $US1.40 per share on revenue.

Revenue grew 25 per cent to $US38 billion, compared with $US30 billion a year ago.

But Amazon has long been known for investing the money it makes back into its businesses. For the second quarter, Amazon reported operating expenses of $US37 billion, a 28 per cent increase from a year earlier.