Amazon's Bezos tops world rich list
A surge in Amazon.com shares before the online retailer's earnings report was unveiled has propelled founder Jeff Bezos past Bill Gates as the world's richest person.
Shares of the online retailer rose 1.3pc to $1,065.92 at 10:10am in New York, giving Bezos a net worth of $90.9bn (€77.9bn), versus $90.7bn for Gates. If that holds, Bezos (53) will leapfrog Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Gates (61) has held the top spot since May 2013.
Investors and analysts, in addition to watching Amazon's progress in taking market share in categories such as apparel and groceries, will be scrutinising how many new subscriptions the retailer sold for its $99-a-year Amazon Prime service, which offers delivery discounts and video and music streaming. Prime shoppers spend more than customers who don't have a membership.
"Amazon Prime is why so much physical retail is going away," said Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities analyst who has a buy rating on the stock and a price target of $1,250.
"Anyone who joins Prime shops in retail stores 10pc less, and that number will keep accelerating as Amazon adds more inventory."
Meanwhile, Facebook's intraday gains have helped pull co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (33) within $200m of Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett (86) who's currently ranked fourth on the Bloomberg index with a net worth of $74.5bn.
Bezos owns about 17pc of Amazon, where shares have surged 40pc this year. (Bloomberg)