The Microsoft co-founder held the title of the world’s richest person in the world every year from 1995 to 2017. In October 2017, he was overtaken by Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, who in turn was recently knocked off his perch by Tesla and SpaceX boss, Elon Musk.
Bill Gates could have been richer than Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk combined, Bloomberg reported citing its own analysis. According to the outlet, the software developer-turned-philanthropist would have easily bagged the title The World’s Richest Individual had he not sold the vast majority of Microsoft shares he owned in 1998.
Back then the tech firm became the world’s most valuable company. In recent years this title went to Microsoft’s rival Apple, but on 29 October Gates’ company reclaimed it.
According to Bloomberg’s analysis, had the software developer kept the equivalent of his 2.06 billion shares in 1998 they would have been valued today at about $693 billion, making him more than twice as rich as Elon Musk, who is now the world’s richest person worth $271 billion (numbers provided by Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires list).
Musk has recently elbowed out Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos after Tesla’s share price rocketed, rising 18 percent since the start of the year. So far the eccentric entrepreneur’s wealth has grown by $66.5 billion this year alone thanks to the success of his companies.
French billionaire Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVHM, the world’s largest luxury goods company, comes third with $193.3 billion after Jeff Bezos ($205.7 billion). Bill Gates is fourth with a net worth of $138.3 billion.
Billionaires suffered huge losses at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. However, stock markets later rebounded allowing billionaires to recover losses and even see their wealth grow. According to a report conducted by Oxfam, the wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 3.9 percent during the pandemic.