I Guarantee You – Guarantee – That Jeff Bezos Does Not Have $150 Billion

Amazon’s share price has been surging, Jeff Bezos owns a lot of the stock of Amazon. Thus we have the reports that Jeff Bezos is now worth $150 billion, the richest man of modern times therefore. This isn’t actually true for people just aren’t counting right.

Moneycontrol News
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos net worth went past $150 billion to become the richest person in modern history.

Well, yes, but no, but yes, butvickypollard. It depends on how you do the counting:

Bezos crossed the threshold as Amazon was preparing to kick off its 36-hour summer sales event, Prime Day, which got off to a rocky start as glitches struck the firm’s website and mobile app.

Shares of the company, which had climbed to a record $1,841.95 earlier Monday, pared gains on the news, closing up 0.5 percent at $1,822.49. Bezos’s stay above $150 billion may be short-lived. The stock slipped below $1,800 in extended trading after Netflix Inc. posted disappointing results, rattling tech investors.

And that’s one way to do it. He’s got assets which have a market price of x, he’s worth x. And that’s also not the right way to do it:

His net worth has soared by $52 billion this year, which is more than the entire fortune of Mukesh Ambani, the newly crowned richest person in Asia. It also puts Bezos’s personal fortune within spitting distance of the Walton family’s $151.5 billion, which is the world’s richest dynasty.

There’s a very large difference between those two fortunes. And that’s what makes there a right and a wrong way to count them.

The Walton family, I think one of them’s still on the board. But no one really does think that the fortunes of Walmart rest, in any manner, upon the Walton family any more. They may have a lot of that fortune, but they’re not influencing the price. If they all announced they’re dumping the stock in its entirety then sure, the price would fall, simple supply and demand. But if they all dropped dead and the kiddies inherited then there’d be pretty much no change.

Now consider what the death of Jeff Bezos would do to the price of Amazon stock. Hmm, yes, it would crater, wouldn’t it? So too would an announcement from him that he was diversifying his investments. He can sell a percentage point or three now and again but there’s no way he’d be able to shift, say, 50% of his holding. Not without cratering that stock price.

The price of something is what someone will pay for it. And the price of Amazon stock is what someone will pay for it in the knowledge that Bezos remains fully invested. That price would be different if it were Bezos selling $150 billions’ worth – therefore, Bezos doesn’t in fact have $150 billion.

Yes,of course, pendantry. But then such is important.

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

And for that reason people lucky enough to be in the position of Bezos often take out loans against their stock (for ‘spending money’ etc). These ‘rich lists’ count assets (which are often easily identifiable) but rarely consider debts (which are frequently hidden). Maxwell was ‘worth’ £400 million, until he went overboard. Then it turned out he wasn’t.

Spike
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The “rich lists” exist to feed the notion that Bezos’ success caused me to fail. The obligation for large shareholders to report their holdings to government, on which the “rich lists” are based, exists for the same reason, then to ply that notion into support for new countermeasures against the successful.

Christian Moon
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Christian Moon

The valuation at $150bn is a discounted future income one.

The Bezos that’s worth $150bn is Bezos together with his stake in Amazon. This combination really is worth the $150bn, even if he couldn’t swap that for cash tomorrow.

The drop in value if he did try to convert it all to cash arises because it destroys the combination – he would only be selling Amazon, and not the combination of him and Amazon.