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Who is the richest person in the world?

Who is the richest person in the world?
Image source: Getty Images.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is back to being the world’s richest person six weeks after ceding the top spot to Tesla founder Elon Musk.  

Earlier in January, Musk had become the world’s richest person after Tesla’s share price soared.

But on Tuesday 16 February, Tesla’s shares fell by 2.4%, wiping about $4.6 billion (£3.3 billion) off Musk’s fortune and ultimately knocking him off the top of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.  

Here’s a rundown of the five richest people in the world right now and a brief overview of how they made their fortunes.

1. Jeff Bezos

Current worth: $191 billion (£138 billion)

More than 90% of the outgoing Amazon CEO’s wealth is tied to his 11% stake in the company, which is valued at £174 billion.

Amazon is the world’s biggest e-commerce site. The company witnessed massive revenue growth in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic that has resulted in more people shopping online than offline.

He also owns Blue Origin, a space exploration firm, and the Washington Post newspaper.

2. Elon Musk

Current worth: $190 billion (£137 billion)

Musk is the CEO of electric car manufacturer Tesla whose shares have surged by more than 700% in 2020, making Tesla the world’s most valuable car company. The 170 million shares he owns in the company increased in value by more than $100 billion in 2020.

Tesla’s journey is a testament to the benefits of long-term investing.

Despite plenty of wild swings, those who bought shares in Tesla right from the beginning and held onto their investment have seen its value increase exponentially from $17 per share at its IPO in 2010 to its current price of around $800. That’s an increase of more than 4700%!

Tesla recently revealed that it has invested about $1.5 billion in Bitcoin.

Musk is also the owner and a major shareholder in SpaceX. The company’s fortunes have also risen in recent times after a new round of funding that propelled the value of the company to $74 billion.

3. Bill Gates

Current worth: $137 billion (£99 billion)

Bill Gates has been an ever-present name in the world’s rich list for the last three decades. Much of his money came from his stake in software company Microsoft, which first made him a billionaire in the late 1980s after going public.

Gates has sold much of his stake in Microsoft over the years. Right now, he holds just a little over 1% in the company.

The majority of his current fortune is derived from Cascade Investment, a holding company that was created with proceeds of Microsoft stock sale and dividends. Cascade owns stocks in dozens of public companies around the world.

4. Bernard Arnault

Current worth: $116 billion (£84 billion)

French national Arnault, the richest man in Europe, is the chairman and CEO of LVMH, which is the world’s largest luxury goods company. Brands under LVMH include the likes of Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Hennessey.

The bulk of Arnault’s fortune comes from his 97.5% stake in Christian Dior, the luxury fashion house that also controls 41.2% of LVMH. Together with his family, Arnault also holds an additional 6.2% stake in LVMH.

5. Mark Zuckerberg

Current worth: $104 billion (£75 billion)

Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest social media site Facebook. In fact, much of his fortune comes from his 13% stake in the company that had its IPO in 2012.

Like his fellow tech billionaires, he has seen his wealth soar during the pandemic as more people have gone online, causing the value of companies such as Facebook to rise.

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