Jeff Bezos Became $3.4 Billion Richer Last Month
Countless jobs have been made redundant and the global economy feels the effect of coronavirus, but don’t worry, the world’s richest man just got a little richer.
Jeff Bezos, the empirical CEO of Amazon, has a higher net worth than anybody else on the planet – currently standing at a whopping $117 billion, far ahead of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg.
The coronavirus pandemic hit a significant surge at the turn of March – currently, there have been more than 600,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Whether it be quick-thinking or dumb luck, Bezos has made a pre-crisis financial monetary mountain.
Back at the beginning of February, before the full scale of the COVID-19 outbreak was readily apparent, the 56-year-old figurehead sold off $3.4 billion worth of shares just before the stock price peaked, as per The Guardian – but more importantly, ahead of the market collapse.
On Thursday this week, March 26, Bezos’ fortune even soared by $3.9 billion to a mighty $120 billion after a three-day market rally ratcheted up Amazon’s share price back to a decent $1,920 (just down from the first week of February). He currently owns around 12% of the company’s shares.
There is absolutely no evidence to suggest Bezos had the upper-hand via a tip-off. However, his timing was bang-on-the-money. According to The Wall Street Journal, his share sales on this occasion matched the amount sold throughout the past 12 months, representing around 3% of his total holding.
Please note, the Amazon boss wasn’t the only tycoon to duck out. Larry Fink, the chief executive of fund manager BlackRock, managed to prevent potential losses of $9 million, while Lance Uggla, CEO of data firm IHS Markit, sold $47 million of shares ahead of their price-drop to $19 million.
Bezos recently penned a letter to his employees thanking them for their hard work, while noting he is working closely with the World Health Organization to brainstorm ways of supplying COVID-19 tests around the globe. He also announced that Amazon will be hiring for 100,000 positions to assist those in need of work amid rampant job losses.
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Good call with @WHO Director-General @DrTedros today on the global response to #COVID19 and the ways @Amazon and @AmazonWebServices are helping their efforts. Our current work with WHO includes: increasing capacity and security for the WHO website; providing ML & AI for WHO’s Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources initiative; assisting with the translation and transcription of WHO’s knowledge catalogue; providing logistics support. We also discussed the urgent need for collective action to produce and distribute plentiful COVID-19 test kits. A surplus of fast, effective, easy-to-access test kits would flatten the curve and protect people around the world. I told Dr. Tedros we will continue to help WHO in every way we can in the coming weeks and months.
The letter read:
I’m not alone in being grateful for the work you are doing… your efforts are being noticed at the highest levels of government, and President Trump earlier this week thanked this team profusely.
Across the world, people are feeling the economic effects of this crisis, and I’m sad to tell you I predict things are going to get worse before they get better. We’re hiring for 100,000 new roles and raising wages for our hourly workers who are fulfilling orders and delivering to customers during this period of stress and turmoil.
At the same time, other businesses like restaurants and bars are being forced to shut their doors. We hope people who’ve been laid off will come work with us until they’re able to go back to the jobs they had.
In the five weeks prior to stock market chaos, US business chiefs sold around $9.2 billion in shares, said to have saved them from losses of $1.9 billion.
It’s okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our coronavirus campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization on coronavirus, click here.
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CreditsThe Guardian and 2 others
The Wall Street Journal