On Friday, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates overtook Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s richest people.
This is the first time that Gates has taken the top spot in the Bloomberg list in over two years. He had gone past Bezos last month after Amazon reported that profits for the three months ending September was almost 28% lower than the corresponding period the previous year. But Gates did not stay at No. 1 for long.
According to the Index, as of November 16, the net worth of Gates was $110 billion, while Bezos's was $109 billion. The world's two richest men -- both American technology titans -- were followed by Frenchman Bernard Arnault ($103 billion), the chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy, and Americans Warren Buffet ($86.6 billion), the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, and Mark Zuckerberg ($74.5 billion), CEO of Facebook.
Mukesh Ambani, with a net worth of $56.7 billion, is No. 14 on the Bloomberg list. Azim Premji ($19.3 billion) is at No. 57, and Shiv Nadar ($15.7 billion), at No. 81. Uday Kotak ($14.2 billion, No. 95) is the other Indian in the top 100 list.
Bloomberg explains that "the index is a dynamic measure of personal wealth based on changes in markets, the economy and Bloomberg reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day after the close of trading in New York. Stakes in publicly traded companies are valued using the share's most recent closing price."
Gates: Pushed by Pentagon
In an analysis, Bloomberg said that Gates may have been given a leg up by the Pentagon’s surprise decision on October 25 to award a $10 billion cloud-computing contract to Microsoft ahead of Amazon. Shares of Microsoft have since risen by 4%, whereas Amazon’s stock has gone down about 2%, Bloomberg said.
Gates now owns about 1% of Microsoft. The rest of his fortune is managed through Cascade Investment, which controls stakes in dozens of publicly traded companies.
Microsoft shares have surged 48% this year, increasing the value of Gates's stake.
Bezos: Set back by divorce
Bloomberg said Bezos would be far richer if he and MacKenzie Bezos had remained together. The couple, who married in 1993 and have four children, announced on Twitter in January 2019 that they were divorcing.
In July, MacKenzie, 49, received a quarter of the couple's Amazon holdings.
MacKenzie's net worth fell to $35 billion on Friday, Bloomberg said. At the time of the divorce, she had been the fourth-richest woman in the world, and remains one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet.
Gates: Sharing with the world
As far as Gates is concerned, analysts have pointed out that it is possible he would have never surrendered his numero uno position to Bezos if he had not given away his wealth in philanthropy.
Since 1994, he has donated more than $35 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Bloomberg report said.