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Bezos passes Buffett, becomes third-richest person

Amazon.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos speaks during a keynote speech at the Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas

Jeff Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon.com Inc, has become the world’s third-richest person as of the market close for the first time, Forbes magazine said, passing Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Bezos‘ fortune is around $65.3bn, compared with Buffett’s $64.9bn.

Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates remained the world’s richest person, at $77.7bn, while Spain’s Amancio Ortega, who founded the Zara clothing chain’s owner Inditex SA , was second at $72.7bn. Facebook Inc co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg was fifth, at $54bn.

Bezos, 52, owns close to 18 per cent of Amazon. Its stock has risen by roughly 50 per cent since early February, as the world’s largest online retailer continued to upend retailing as more people took to the Web rather than the mall to shop.

Amazon’s share price rose further in after-hours trading, after the Seattle-based company reported better-than-expected second-quarter results.

Buffett, 85, owns close to 18 per cent of Berkshire, but his donation this month of $2.86bn of Berkshire stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities led to his drop to fourth place. He has donated more than $24.3bn to the Gates Foundation and family charities since 2006.

Berkshire is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and has roughly 90 business units including Geico car insurance, the BNSF railroad and Dairy Queen ice cream.

In June, Buffett called Bezos a “classic example” of how a business owner could thrive, by having focused at Amazon on how to “delight” customers, and keep them coming back, rather than simply process their orders.

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