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Bezos Sells $3.1 Billion of Amazon Shares After Wealth Surges

  • One million shares of Amazon.com Inc. was sold by Bezos for more than $3.1 billion.
  • The proceeds are a fraction of the amount that Bezos’s holdings have increased this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay at home and created a surge in demand for Amazon’s e-commerce services.
  • He is $70 billion wealthier than the world’s second-richest person, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.
  • Visit The Financial Today’s homepage for more stories.

The figures are eye-popping: 1 million shares of Amazon.com Inc. sold for more than $3.1 billion. And yet it barely makes a dent in his stake in the e-commerce giant for Jeff Bezos.

The disposals, disclosed Wednesday in Securities and Exchange Commission filings, add to a $4.1 billion sale earlier this year. The proceeds are a fraction of the amount that Bezos’s holdings have increased this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to stay at home and created a surge in demand for Amazon’s e-commerce services.

This year has been a reversal of years of relative caution in reducing his interest in Amazon. Bezos still owns more than 54 million shares, valuing $189.8 billion, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index says. His net worth rose this year by $74.9 billion, with Amazon ‘s stock increasing by 73%.

The impressive gains for Bezos and other titans have put Big Tech under heightened scrutiny. Bezos, along with the chief executives of Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., and Alphabet Inc., appeared to defend their power and influence before Congress last month. It also emphasizes widening income inequality with the US economy facing its worst decline since the Great Depression.

“In the 19th century, we had the Robber Barons. In the 21st century, we’ve got the ‘Cyber Barons,’” Representative Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, told the CEOs at the July 29 hearing. “And we want to make sure that the extraordinary power and wealth that you’ve been able to amass is not used against the interests of democracy and human rights around the world and not against the free market at home.”

In his opening statement before Congress, Bezos, who was born to a single mother and adopted by his Cuban-immigrant father when he was four, referenced his humble upbringing: ”I was born into great wealth, not monetary wealth, but as said the wealth of a loving family, a family that fostered my curiosity and encouraged me to dream big.”

His divorce last year has been the biggest hit to Bezos’ wealth. His ex-wife MacKenzie Scott, as part of the split, received a 4 percent stake in Amazon. Scott is the 13th-richest individual in the world, now worth $61.6 billion.

Scott, 50, recently donated around $1.7 billion to numerous causes including racial equity, climate change, and public health. The novelist has committed to giving away much of her money.

Many of the wealthiest people in the world became richer in 2020, but Bezos is moving far ahead of the pack. He is $70 billion wealthier than the world’s second-richest person, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates.

Bezos is now on the cusp of another record: a fortune exceeding $200 billion.

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[Bloomberg]

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