Amazon founder Jeff Bezos just had one of those days that we all have from time-to-time. He officially became the second richest human on the planet and he shut down a business that was founded by one of his bitter rivals.
Bloomberg reports that Bezos' personal fortune increased by a cool $US1.5 billion ($2 billion) today following a big jump in Amazon's stock price. The $US18.32 ($23.93) rise in the online retailer's value was fuelled by the announcement that it will acquire the Dubai-based Souq.com, a deal that Goldman Sachs called "the biggest-ever technology M&A transaction in the Arab world".
From the report:
Bezos has a net worth of $75.6 billion [$AU99 billion] on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, $700 million [$AU914 million] more than Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s Buffett and $1.3 billion [$AU1.7 billion] above Ortega, the founder of Inditex S.A. and Europe's richest person.
Amazon's founder has added $10.2 billion [$AU13.3 billion] this year to his wealth and $7 billion [$AU9 billion] since the global equities rally began following the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president on Nov. 8. The rise is the third biggest on the Bloomberg index in 2017, after Chinese parcel-delivery billionaire Wang Wei's $18.4 billion [$AU24 billion] gain and an $11.4 billion [$15 billion] rise for Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg.
That makes two reasons that Bezos can be happy about Trump being in the White House. Not only have the markets been making rich people richer in anticipation of a big tax cut, but the Bezos-owned Washington Post has been thriving with so much scandal to report on. According to Politico, "The Post has seen a 75 per cent increase in new subscribers since the first of the year and says it has doubled digital subscription revenue over the year." That goes against every trend in the newspaper industry.
But for every winner in the world of business, there has to be a loser. Today, that loser is Marc Lore, the founder of Quidsi. The company operated sites like Diapers.com and Soap.com — charmingly descriptive brand names that call back to an earlier online era. Lore and Bezos had a vicious feud in the aughts that was fuelled in part by a price war over nappies. Amazon cut its prices continuously and eventually forced Quidsi to agree to a buyout in 2010. Lore worked at Amazon for a couple of unhappy years and is now trying to defeat Bezos once again with Jet.com. Today, Amazon announced that Quidsi will end its operations and 263 people will be laid off.
It might seem odd to think it's a good thing for the Amazon CEO to shutter a company he paid $US545 million ($712 million) to buy, but you have to understand the minds of petty men. For Silicon Valley tycoons, the businesses they start are like their children. Lore saw his child executed today and he's currently running a business that was almost destroyed by Amazon until Wal-Mart jumped in and bought it.
Today, Jeff Bezos has crushed his enemies and seen them driven before him. But he's still only number two. He'll need another $US10.4 billion ($13.6 billion) to catch up with Bill Gates. Watch your back, Bill.