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Jeff Bezos sells $2 billion in Amazon shares with ‘world’s richest man’ title in reach

Feb 12, 2024, 7:52 AM | Updated: 11:51 am

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Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sánchez speak onstage during7 the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards on October 23, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

(Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

For the first time since 2021, Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos unloaded shares of Amazon.com Inc. stock last week — this time 12 million shares, netting him just over $2 billion, according to filed documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Amazon’s company report stated the sale is subject to conditions and won’t be completed until January 31, 2025.

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While Bezos hasn’t sold company stock each year, he has gifted approximately $200 million in shares to several nonprofits. Bezos owned 988 million shares, nearly 10% of Amazon, by the end of December 2023 before the shedding of stock began.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon disclosed that Bezos plans to sell as many as 50 million shares of Amazon over the next 12 months. Shares of Amazon soared earlier this month, according to Nasdaq, after the company delivered better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings, beating estimates on the top and bottom lines. The stock rose 6.8%, according to Nasdaq.

The fourth quarter earnings, ballooned by the holiday season, finished 14% higher than originally estimated, giving the company an additional approximate $4 billion in revenue.

If Bezos completes the sale of 50 million shares of Amazon stock, posting those sales in Miami — where his new primary residence is located — would save him more than $600 million. Miami does not have state tax while Washington recently imposed a new 7% capital gains tax on sales of stocks or bonds of more than $250,000.

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Bezos’ estimated $200 billion net worth has him at the No. 2 spot on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, just $9 billion behind Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and current owner of X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Musk first held the title of richest man in the world in September 2021, and reclaimed the title last June when he surpassed Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, in overall net worth.

Bezos’ 50 million Amazon shares is worth approximately $8.4 billion. If Bezos completes this sale, his net worth could propel past Musk, allowing him to reclaim his spot as the world’s wealthiest person. Bezos was the wealthiest from 2017 to 2021, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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Bezos’ fortune already climbed $22.6 billion in 2023 before the selling of his stock began. Musk’s overall net worth fell by $29 billion in 2023, mostly due to a 27% plunge in Tesla’s stock. Additionally, a Delaware judge struck down Musk’s $55 billion Tesla compensation package after ruling it was unfair to shareholders.

As for what Bezos is spending his money on, the Amazon chairman recently acquired a second mansion, this one sized at 19,000 square feet, on the Indian Creek Island waterfront near Miami for $79 million.

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Jeff Bezos sells $2 billion in Amazon shares with ‘world’s richest man’ title in reach