Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is officially the world’s richest person, but much of his obscene wealth — now standing at nearly $95 billion dollars according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index — is tied up in his company’s stock. That means that, every once in a while, Bezos converts that stock to cash, noting the amount in a Form 4 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
This past week, starting on Wednesday and ending today, Bezos did another stock conversion. Yet this time, it was a bit different: for the first time, Bezos sold more than $1 billion in stock. Bezos has sold stock periodically over the last six years, typically amounting in the 900,000 to 1 million-share range. (Bezos still owns nearly 80 million shares). He did this most recently in May 2017 when he sold $940.7 million worth of stock. But thanks to stellar earnings reports these past couple of quarters, Amazon stock has only gone up. Shares of the company have see a year-to-date rise of 48 percent, and shares are up 18 percent since September alone. That’s made Bezos’ stock sale even more lucrative.
We don’t have a window into Bezos’ personal spending, and he does not operate a philanthropic arm at the scale of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates’ foundation or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (Bezos’ parents Jackie and Mike Bezos oversee an educational foundation that gives away modest amounts and is not dedicated to channeling their son’s Amazon fortune.). So it remains a bit unclear how Bezos plans on spending his mounting wealth.
The Amazon chief did say in June of this year that he wants to become more involved with philanthropy, and he polled the world for ideas in a rare Twitter post. Then again, Bezos could simply be stockpiling some cash to transfer to his rocket company Blue Origin — Bezos said in April that he plans to funnel about $1 billion per year into the venture going forward — or The Washington Post, which Bezos purchased in 2013. Either way, the world’s richest man just took home a 10-figure paycheck. A good way to kick off the weekend, you might say.