Jeff Bezos arrives at the Dolce&Gabbana Party during the Milan Menswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 on January 13, 2024 in Milan, Italy. Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Jeff Bezos could be making a play for the title of the world’s richest person after losing it to Elon Musk in 2021. Amazon (AMZN) disclosed earlier this month (Feb. 2) that the e-commerce billionaire will sell up to 50 million company shares over the next year, which could potentially boost his net worth to over $200 billion. 

Bezos already sold 12 million Amazon shares worth about $2 billion on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8, according to a company filing to the SEC on Feb.9. All 50 million shares would be worth over $8 billion, depending on Amazon shares’ market price.

It’s unclear why Bezos is selling such a large chunk of Amazon equity. He owned 988 million Amazon shares worth about $170 billion (just shy of 10 percent of the company) at the end of 2023, according to Amazon 2023 proxy statement.

On Bloomberg’s real-time billionaires rankings, Bezos currently sits behind Musk by a thin margin of $9 billion. The Amazon founder is worth $200 billion, while the Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX CEO is worth $209 billion. Bezos was the world’s richest person from 2017 (overtaking Bill Gates) to 2021 before being dethroned by Musk. French luxury mogul Bernard Arnault, who owns the fashion and beauty conglomerate LVMH (LVMHF), also often traded places with Musk and Bezos in the top ranks. 

The majority of Bezos’s and Musk’s wealth is tied to stock of their respective companies. The recent slump of Tesla’s share price and the sharp rise of Amazon is giving Bezos an opportunity to surpass Musk.

Since the beginning of 2024, Tesla stock is down more than 24 percent, costing Musk about $20 billion in paper wealth. Over the same period, Amazon stock is up 15 percent, adding $23 billion under Bezos’s belt.

Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO in 2021 while remaining as the company’s board chairman. He has been moving about $1 billion a year to fund his space company, Blue Origin, and expanding his philanthropic efforts since then.

Amazon’s Surging Stock Could Soon Make Jeff Bezos The World’s Richest Man Again

Nhari Djan

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