Jeff Bezos once again becomes the richest man in the world

According to the latest update of Bloomberg’s index of the world’s richest men, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has dislodged Elon Musk from the top spot. The head of Tesla, SpaceX and X is now in second place. A crossroads for two entrepreneurial geniuses.

Bloomberg, oh Bloomberg, am I the richest man in the world?

No, Elon (Musk), you’re not…because Jeff (Bezos) is.

The story shouldn’t turn melodramatic like Snow White. But Bloomberg’s latest index of the world’s richest men, updated on March 5, has delivered its verdict.

With a fortune of $197.7 billion, Elon Musk, head of carmaker Tesla, astronautics company SpaceX and social network X (formerly Twitter) is no longer the planet’s No. 1 billionaire. He has been overtaken by Jeff Bezos, with a net worth of $200.3 billion. It’s the first time in over nine months that Elon Musk has fallen from the top of the podium.

At the top of the Bloomberg rankings

This is the first time that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com Inc., has topped the Bloomberg rankings since 2021, when the index was created. Before the index was established, Jeff Bezos had already won the title of richest man in the world in 2017, ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The list was compiled by Forbes magazine.

Jeff Bezos, the Space Cowboy © Getty Images

 

In January 2021, according to the first Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Elon Musk had become, at the age of 49, the richest man in the world, with a fortune then estimated at $251.3 billion.

The movement that has once again lifted Jeff Bezos into first place ahead of Elon Musk is in line with that of the shares of their respective flagships, Tesla for the former and Amazon for the latter. Although they operate in very different sectors (electric cars and online sales), both are part of the “Magnificent Seven” (which lists the main drivers of stock markets across the Atlantic) and have stood out from the outset for their disruptive, high-tech approach.

According to a Forbes estimate, 99% of Elon Musk’s fortune is made up of Tesla and SpaceX shares. While Jeff Bezos derives most of his wealth from his position as the largest shareholder in Amazon (9% of the capital), which he founded in 1994 but ceased to run in mid-2021.

Contrasting stock market trends

However, since 2021, Amazon and Tesla have moved in opposite directions on the stock market. While Amazon’s shares have more than doubled since the end of 2022, Tesla’s have lost around 50% since their peak in 2022, and 25% in the last year.

But the current fortunes of both billionaires could be trimmed somewhat before long.

Jeff Bezos recently sold $8.5 billion worth of Amazon shares. And he will have to pay a capital gain tax, which could cost him his first place on the Bloomberg podium, according to the Wall Street Journal.

For his part, Elon Musk also has a pebble in his shoe. At the end of January, a Delaware judge overturned a $55 billion stock compensation plan granted to Elon Musk in 2018 as Tesla CEO. A shareholder of the automotive brand had taken legal action against this outrageous program. However, the options included in the cancelled plan represent a significant proportion of the totals realized by Bloomberg…

If the cards have been reshuffled, the new deal could benefit France’s Bernard Arnault. In the latest Bloomberg Index, the founder and CEO of Lvmh, the number one luxury goods company, retains third place, thanks to his $197 billion fortune. But according to Forbes magazine’s rankings, Bernard Arnault was the world’s richest man in 2023, ahead of Elon Musk.

The billionaire match

If the billionaire match is hard to decide, it’s clear that the world’s richest men have had very different itineraries on the two sides of the Atlantic. Bernard Arnault, the representative of old Europe, managed to become a billionaire by building on the fashion and luxury heritage of the old continent, while the two Americans (South African-born and Canadian for Elon Musk) built their wealth on today’s technologies.

 

In the wake of Elon Musk and his SpaceX launching a Tesla into orbit in 2018, Jeff Bezos has also embarked on space conquest.

 

But while Jeff Bezos, 60, and Elon Musk, 52, have much in common, they have also diverged in many respects.

Jeff Bezos (and no doubt Elon Musk, too) has a gifted profile. The latter has also declared that he has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, which would explain the unusual “way” in which his brain works and communicates.

Both were precocious children, showing their entrepreneurial talents from an early age. At the age of 12, Elon coded a small video game which he sold for $500 to a specialized magazine. While Jeff was still in high school when he set up his first business, a summer camp for children.

Wrist strength and genius

Both were made by sheer force of will and, above all, their genius.

While Elon Musk’s father was a wealthy engineer and property developer in South Africa, the young man preferred to study in Canada and then the USA, against the advice of his ancestor. He therefore had to finance his (brilliant…) studies himself, before obtaining a scholarship to Stanford University.

For his part, Jeff Bezos, born in the United States, could not count on his own father to help him get started. His father, a high school student, abandoned him at birth. On the other hand, the future billionaire was able to rely on his adoptive father, Miguel Bezos. As a result, he graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Computer Science.

But these two entrepreneurial comets took very different paths to the headlines.

 

Jeff Bezos built his empire in 1994 on online book sales. © Paul Souders/Getty Images

 

After having cut his teeth in Wall Street financial firms, Jeff distinguished himself by sensing the potential of ecommerce before anyone else, and by founding Amazon in 1994. Today, the first online bookseller has become a leading generalist platform.

In 2000, he also pushed the exploration envelope even further, by founding Blue Origin, a company specializing in space travel.

Free electron

But Elon is more of a free electron, an insatiable serial entrepreneur, always with one foot in the future.

As a contributor to the development of the online bank X.com in 1999, which became Paypal in 2001, Elon Musk is a member of the famous “Paypal Mafia” alongside Peter Thiel. © Paul Sakuma/AP/Sipa

 

With the notable exception of Tesla, where he invested in 2004 before becoming the majority shareholder, he has almost always founded or co-founded the companies he has led: software company Zip2 in 1995, online bank X. com (later PayPal) in 1999, SpaceX in 2002, solar energy company SolarCity in 2006, now Tesla Energy, The Boring Company, a company that builds tunnels to relieve traffic congestion, and neurotechnology company Neuralink, both in 2016, and artificial intelligence specialist xAI in 2023. In 2008, he founded OpenAI, then a research association promoting friendly artificial intelligence, which he left in 2018.

11 children for Elon Musk

In his private life, Elon Musk is also more dispersed and prolific than his rival. Through marriages (to Canadian novelist Justine Wilson, British actress Talulah Riley, Canadian singer Grime) and affairs (with Shivon Zilis, executive director of his start-up Neuralink), he has a total of 11 (official) children. Logical with himself, he declared at a conference in late 2021 that “low birth rates are one of the greatest risks to civilization”! Not everyone is Elon Musk…

In 2022, Elon Musk was also in the news when American actress Amber Heard was sued by her ex-husband Johnny Depp. The actor accused his ex-wife of having started an affair (later made official) with Elon Musk before they had even divorced.

 

 Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife Lauren Sánchez by fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz, 2023

 

For his part, with only one ex-wife -MacKenzie Scottfrom whom he divorced in early 2019 after 25 years together, three sons and a daughter adopted from China, Jeff Bezos almost pales into insignificance…And it’s not the affair he had with TV presenter Lauren Sánchez, the cause of his separation from his wife, that allows him to compete with the list of celebrities seduced by Elon Musk.

Libertarianism goers

In terms of political sensibility, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk share some ideas… but not all.

Both are followers of libertarianism, an American political movement combining economic liberalism, deregulated capitalism and minimal government intervention, whose ideal is a “society with maximum respect for freedom”.

The two billionaires have also expressed their sensitivity to the ecological cause. In 2020, Jeff Bezos created the Bezos Earth Fund, which he endowed with $10 billion of his own money. He subsidizes projects led by scientists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

For his part, Elon Musk has also indicated his desire to combat global warming, notably through investment or the creation of Tesla or SolarCity (photovoltaic products and services). But his immoderate use of private jets, denounced by flight tracking applications, has been criticized…

Different positions on Donald Trump

When it comes to the American presidential candidates, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are not on the same wavelength.

Elon Musk and président Donald Trump © Donald Trump / Truth

 

 

A supporter of the Republican party, Elon Musk became an advisor to President Donald Trump at the end of 2016 before resigning a few months later when the elected official announced his intention to leave the Paris climate agreement. He then reopened Donald Trump’s Twitter account following a poll of the platform’s users. But he endorsed Ron DeSantis’ candidacy against…Donald Trump for the Republican Party primaries on the eve of the 2024 US presidential election.

And targeting Joe Biden, since 2022 he has been criticizing not only his policies, but also his age (78, the day he took office), denouncing “gerontocracy”. Knowing that Donald Trump himself will be 78 in June 2024…

For his part, Jeff Bezos has a rather cool relationship with Donald Trump. In 2015, the latter, then a presidential candidate, accused him of having acquired the Washington Post in order to “minimize the tax burden on Amazon and its owner”. Jeff Bezos derided the attack. But after Donald Trump’s election in 2016, Jeff Bezos is forced to wish the new president “great success in his service to the country”. But that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from threatening Amazon with an antitrust investigation!

In the run-up to the next elections, the richest man in the world is likely to keep a low profile when it comes to his favorite candidate… It’s better not to insult the future!

Read also > TESLA’S CYBERTRUCK CREATES SPARKS

Featured Photo: © Press

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