BUSINESS

World’s Richest Person: Trump Nemesis Jeff Bezos Briefly Overtakes Bill Gates

Contrary to Trump's assertions, Amazon is not a money-losing business.

07/27/2017 11:13 EDT | Updated 07/27/2017 16:31 EDT

A personal enemy of Donald Trump was the world's richest person, for a few hours, on Thursday.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon and the owner of the Washington Post, took the crown from Microsoft founder Bill Gates after a spike in Amazon's share price.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated Bezos' net worth at US$90.9 billion, just over Gates' US$90.7 billion after Amazon's stock spiked early Thursday, after a prominent analyst's prediction it could become the world's first "trillion dollar company" — the first company to reach a stock market value of US$1 trillion or more.

But the company's share price fell after reporting its second-quarter earnings, putting Bezos' net worth slightly below Gates' once again. Amazon earnings came in well below analysts' expectations. The 40 cents per share in profit Amazon earned in the second quarter was far below analysts' consensus estimate of US$1.42.

Amazon shares have jumped more than 40 per cent in the past year. They were trading at US$1,046 per share as of market close Thursday. The company's market value is around US$500 billion.

Yahoo Finance

Bezos has become one of U.S. President Donald Trump's favourite attack targets on Twitter, with the president repeatedly accusing the "Amazon Washington Post" of peddling "fake news" about him, and accusing Amazon of being a tax cheat.

Most recently, he disputed the facts in a Post story on the president's apparent decision to cancel a program to arm and train rebels fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The spat between the two has often gone both ways. In December 2015, Bezos tweeted the hashtag #senddonaldtospace in response to a series of tweets in which the then-candidate accused Bezos of using the Washington Post as a tax shelter for his Amazon windfall.

As Trump came closer to the White House, Bezos' assessment of the candidate became more sober.

"He's not just going after the media, but threatening retribution to people who scrutinize him," Bezos said in October, 2016, after numerous attacks by Trump on the Washington Post.

"He's also saying he may not give a graceful concession speech if he loses the election. That erodes our democracy around the edges. He's also saying he might lock up his opponent. These aren't appropriate behaviours."

Though Trump has repeatedly suggested that Amazon is a money-losing business, the company has turned a profit for the past eight straight quarters. It had sales of US$136 billion last year.