Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Inc. (Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg)

Bezos Seizing Title of World's Richest Person on Amazon Gain

(Bloomberg) -- Jeff Bezos is on track to become the richest person on the planet. Inc. shares surged Friday, lifting its founder’s net worth by $7.8 billion to $91.3 billion as of 10 a.m. in New York, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The stock climbed 10 percent to $1,070.59, after the retailer reported results that beat Wall Street estimates. If the share gains hold through Friday’s close, Bezos will top the index for the first time.

His wealth briefly surpassed that of Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates on an intraday basis on July 27, but Amazon shares ended the day lower, leaving Bezos at No. 2.

Gates ended Thursday with a net worth of $88 billion, $4.5 billion ahead of Bezos on the Bloomberg index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. Gates, 61, has been the world’s richest person since 2013.

Bezos also led the way on a morning that lifted the fortunes of some of the richest technology billionaires in the U.S. by a combined $17 billion. Alphabet Inc.’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer all added more than $2 billion in the first 30 minutes of trading. Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg added $2.1 billion. Gates, who has sold most of his Microsoft stake, added $600 million.

Bezos, 53, has added $18.1 billion to his fortune this year. Gates’s net worth rose by $5.6 billion, even after he donated $4.6 billion of Microsoft stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in August.

Gates has given away almost 700 million Microsoft shares and $2.9 billion of cash and other assets since 1996, according to an analysis of his publicly disclosed giving. He would be worth about $150 billion if he hadn’t made the donations.

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