Jeff Bezos loses $20.5bn to drop to third place on Forbes' wealthy list

Amazon founder's net worth tumbles to $150.1bn as the e-commerce company's shares struggle

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos attends an Action on Forests and Land Use session, during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. AFP
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos slipped to third place in the Forbes' Real-Time Billionaires List with his net worth dropping to $150.1 billion driven by a rout in Amazon shares.

The billionaire saw $20.5bn of his wealth melt away after the e-commerce company's results left investors disappointed. This placed Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury group LVMH, in second place with a personal fortune of $157.7bn, according to Forbes.

In contrast to the Forbes' list, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index named Mr Bezos the world's second richest person with a net worth of $148bn. At his peak this year, the Amazon founder enjoyed a net worth of more than $210bn.

Amazon shares were down 14 per cent on Friday after it reported its first quarterly loss in seven years and the slowest sales growth since 2001 as the largest online retailer struggles to build off the major gains it made early in the pandemic.

The company has been grappling with rising energy, a surge in inflation that may hold back sales, and labour costs, as well as changing shopping habits as people return to pre-pandemic activities.

Mr Bezos, 58, is now the third-biggest wealth loser this year, with his fortune dropping nearly $44bn since January 1, Bloomberg reported.

Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of electric vehicle maker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX, is the world's richest person with a net worth of $246bn, the Forbes data showed.

Mr Musk, who struck a deal to acquire Twitter for $44bn, has sold about $8.5bn worth of Tesla shares in an apparent move to begin funding his buyout of the microblogging platform.

He offloaded about 9.6 million shares of the electric vehicle maker this week, according to regulatory filings made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The billionaire personally guaranteed $21bn of the equity portion of his acquisition of Twitter, which was announced on April 25. A further $12.5bn of the Twitter deal is secured by his stake in Tesla. The transaction is expected to be finalised in 2022.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the world's fourth-richest person, with a net worth of $129.4bn, according to Forbes. He is followed by self-made billionaire Gautam Adani, with a personal fortune of $125.9bn, Forbes data showed.

The Adani Group chairman edged out Warren Buffet, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, on Monday to join the top five billionaires club for the first time, the rich list showed.

In February, Mr Adani, 59, was named the wealthiest person in Asia, with a net worth of $88.5bn and ranked as the 10th-richest person in the world at the time, Bloomberg reported.

Mr Adani is one of the world's biggest wealth-gainers this year, adding more than $40bn to his fortune as shares of his listed companies skyrocketed, according to Forbes.

Mr Buffett, known as the "Oracle of Omaha", has a net worth of $116.6bn.

Top 10 richest people in the world

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani is the world's seventh-richest person, with a net worth of $105.4bn, according to the real-time Forbes index.

The world’s 500 richest people lost a total of more than $54bn on Friday amid the broader market rout, according to the Bloomberg index.

In total, there are 2,668 billionaires in the world, down from a record of 2,755 in 2021, Forbes said in its annual 2022 World Billionaires List. The list was released last month and used stock prices and exchange rates from March 11 to calculate the net worth of the world’s richest people.

“In all, 329 people fell off the billionaires list this year — the most since the 2009 financial crisis,” Forbes said at the time.

“The United States still has more billionaires than any other country, with 735, up from 724 last year,” it added. “China remains second, with 607, including Hong Kong and Macau, followed by India (166), Germany (134) and Russia (83).”

Meanwhile, the combined net worth of the world’s richest people slipped 3 per cent to $12.7 trillion over the past year, from a record $13.1tn in 2021. This was driven by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Covid-19 pandemic and volatile stock markets, Forbes said in the annual report.

Updated: April 30, 2022, 6:58 AM