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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may be the world’s richest man again

The battle for the title of ‘world’s richest man’ has taken a fresh twist.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, 53, may have pipped Bill Gates, 61, to the title after he added $6.5 billion (£5 billion) to his vast fortune yesterday.

The jump came thanks to soaring Amazon share prices after its third quarterly earnings report beat expectations.

Bezos now has a net worth of $90 billion (£69 billion), based on data from the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

Microsoft founder Gates still held the title at the market’s close yesterday, with a net worth of $88 billion (£67 billion), according to the index.

It’s unclear if Gates’ fortune has made a significant leap since then, meaning Bezos may have taken top spot.

Bezos may have overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates (pictured) as the world's richest man thanks to soaring Amazon share prices after its quarterly earnings beat expectations

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (left), 53, may have pipped Bill Gates (right), 61, as the world’s richest man after he added $6.5 billion (£5 billion) to his vast fortune yesterday. The jump came thanks to soaring Amazon share prices after its third quarterly earnings report beat expectations

AMAZON MOVES INTO PHARMACEUTICALS

The retailer’s quarterly results came the same day it was revealed the firm has gained approval from a number of US state pharmaceutical boards to become a wholesale distributor.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the rumours on Thursday, citing public records.

An Amazon spokesperson said it doesn’t comment on rumours or speculation.

Earlier this month, a source-based report by CNBC said Amazon would decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online.

The ecommerce giant is reported to be in talks with mid-market pharmacy benefit managers and has been hiring talent to assess the drug retailing market for its entry, brokerage firm Leerink had said.

The Amazon founder has already overtaken Gates as the world’s richest man once this year, though he held the spot for less than a day.

Investor optimism leading up to the firm’s second quarterly earnings report in July boosted Bezos’ net worth to $91 billion (£69.5 billion).

But the firm’s earnings dropped short of expectations, meaning the business and media mogul quickly slipped back down to second place.

Bezos’ net worth is tightly tied to his 16.6 per cent stake in Amazon which he founded in 1994, initially running the online retail site from his garage in Seattle.

Amazon’s shares soared Thursday after it boosted revenue from its fresh acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods and an expanded line-up of devices tapping into its digital assistant Alexa.

Profit for the third quarter was $256 million (£195 million), up slightly from $252 million (£192 million) a year ago while revenue jumped 34 per cent to $43.7 billion (33.4 billion).

The Seattle-based company has grown from its online retail roots to cloud computing, streaming video, artificial intelligence and more.

Amazon shares rallied nearly eight per cent to $1,050 (£803) in after hours trade on the stronger-than-expected results.

In its earnings statement, Bezos focused on Amazon’s fast-growing digital assistant Alexa.

The AI software is included in Amazon’s connected speakers and third-party products ranging from appliances to automobiles.

Amazon's shares soared Thursday after it boosted revenue from its fresh acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods and an expanded line-up of devices tapping into its digital assistant Alexa 

Amazon’s shares soared Thursday after it boosted revenue from its fresh acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods and an expanded line-up of devices tapping into its digital assistant Alexa 

‘In the last month alone, we’ve launched five new Alexa-enabled devices, introduced Alexa in India, announced integration with BMW, surpassed 25,000 skills, integrated Alexa with Sonos speakers, taught Alexa to distinguish between two voices, and more,’ Bezos said.

‘Customers have purchased tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices… With thousands of developers and hardware makers building new Alexa skills and devices, the Alexa experience will continue to get even better.’

Along with its growing influence, Amazon has become one of the most valuable companies on the planet alongside US tech rivals Apple, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet.

Amazon said that for the fourth quarter, it expects revenues in a range of $56 (£43 billion) to $60.5 billion (£46.2 billion), representing growth of 28 to 38 per cent compared with last year.

Independent tech analyst Rob Enderle said the fact that Amazon did so well in the quarter leading up to the prime holiday shopping season suggests the firm will ‘knock if off the rails’ as the year comes to a close.

Bezos previously overtook Gates as the world's richest man in July, though he lasted less than a day. The 53-year-old's net worth is tightly tied to his 16.6 per cent stake in Amazon, which he founded in 1994 and initially ran from his garage in Seattle

Bezos previously overtook Gates as the world’s richest man in July, though he lasted less than a day. The 53-year-old’s net worth is tightly tied to his 16.6 per cent stake in Amazon, which he founded in 1994 and initially ran from his garage in Seattle

Neil Saunders of the research firm GlobalData called the Amazon results ‘stellar.’

He noted that Amazon has been able to drive growth from online sales with its Prime subscription service, which offers free delivery, video and other extras.

‘Overall, Amazon is in very good shape,’ Mr Saunders said in a research note.

The retailer’s quarterly results came the same day it was revealed the firm has gained approval from a number of US state pharmaceutical boards to become a wholesale distributor.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the rumours on Thursday, citing public records.

An Amazon spokesperson said it doesn’t comment on rumours or speculation.

Earlier this month, a source-based report by CNBC said Amazon would decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online.

The ecommerce giant is reported to be in talks with mid-market pharmacy benefit managers and has been hiring talent to assess the drug retailing market for its entry, brokerage firm Leerink had said.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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