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Jeff Bezos' wealth hits new high of $171bn

Michael Cogley
·2-min read
Jeff Bezos is now valued at around $171.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index - BRENDAN MCDERMID /Reuters
Jeff Bezos is now valued at around $171.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index - BRENDAN MCDERMID /Reuters

The fortune of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has surged to a new record high after the tech behemoth boomed in lockdown - just a year after he agreed the world's biggest ever divorce settlement.

Mr Bezos is now worth an estimated  $171bn (£137bn) after Amazon shares climbed 4.4pc to a record $2,878 (£2,299) on Wednesday.

That tops his previous high of $167bn, set on September 4, 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The 56-year-old's former wife Mackenzie was handed a 4pc stake in Amazon as part of the couple’s record $38bn divorce settlement last year after Mr Bezos had an affair with US news anchor Lauren Sanchez.

Mackenzie's wealth has also surged due to the share price jump as droves of shoppers flocked to Amazon when physical stores closed worldwide.

She now has an estimated $57bn wealth pile, up almost $20bn this year, and is the world’s second-wealthiest woman - ahead of the likes of Alice Walton and Julia Flesher Koch and second only to L’Oreal’s Francoise Bettencourot Meyers.

Bezos has gained $56bn this year alone, a figure that some say shows the growing wealth gap in the US as many struggle to survive financially during the pandemic.

The company has faced criticism from some employees over safety concerns relating to coronavirus, but has insisted its warehouses have rigorous safety rules. Amazon said it would hand out $500m in a one-off “Thank You” bonus scheme to workers globally.

Mr Bezos owns around 11pc of Amazon’s stock, which accounts for the bulk of his wealth. The company’s valuation now sits at about $1.44 trillion.

The tycoon was one of a several tech bosses to enjoy a bumper start to 2020. The net worth of Bill Gates, the world's second-richest man behind Mr Bezos, has climbed by $483m to $114bn.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is now valued at about $90bn, up $11bn this year.

Further down the list, the fortune of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has jumped by almost $26bn to $53bn after he secured the first pay-outs under an enormous bonus plan.

Among the other winners from lockdown is Zoom founder Eric Yuan, whose wealth has nearly quadrupled to $13bn.

The total value of the world’s 500 richest people now stands at $5.93 trillion, up from $5.91 trillion at the start of 2020.