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Jeff Bezos' net worth tops $170bn - breaking pre-divorce settlement record

The Independent logo The Independent 02/07/2020 Louise Hall
Jeff Bezos holding a glass of water © Provided by The Independent

Jeff Bezos has broken his own personal net worth record after his fortune reached $171.6 billion - as shares of Amazon surged by 4.4 per cent.

The shares of the online retailer jumped to $2,878.70 on Wednesday, pushing the CEO's financial gains $56.7 billion this year alone, according to Bloomberg.

The new net worth tops Mr Bezos' previous high of $167.7 billion, set on 4 September 2018, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The record-breaking increase comes even as Mr Bezos gave up a quarter of his stake in Amazon as part of a divorce settlement last year, leaving him with 11 per cent of the company's stock,

The CEO's ex-wife, Mackenzie Bezos, saw her own net worth jump to $56.9 billion after receiving the 4 per cent stake in the technology company.

Mr Bezos' increasing worth underpins the ever-widening wealth gap in the US during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The expansion of the Amazon founder's fortune comes as unemployment continues to cripple millions of Americans across the country, with more than 19 million people receiving jobless aid amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Current unemployment rates of 11.1 per cent are more than three times higher than the 3.5 per cent unemployment rate in February before the outbreak gripped the nation.

Online retailers have benefited from the public health crisis with consumers shifting to online shopping as many shops were forced to close and residents aimed to stay inside as part of stay-at-home orders.

A number of other technology billionaires have also profited after the change in consumer landscape including Tesla’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk who gained an extra $25.8 billion since January, and Zoom’s founder Eric Yuan, who had quadrupled his wealth to $13.1 billion, Bloomberg reported.

While some billionaires have been significantly affected by the pandemic, the collective net worth of the world’s 500 richest people has still seen an increase of 20 billion, rising from $5.91 trillion to $5.93 trillion since January.

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