- This list keeps a track of biggest winners and losers among the billionaires in 2019 featuring Jeff Bezos, Azim Premji, Mark Zuckerberg.
The richest of the rich are still getting richer. Yes, for an affluent group of the richest in the world, it has been a fantastic year. 2019’s top five winners contributed nearly $112 billion to their fortunes. That’s well over double the leap in 2018 when the wealth of the top five winners increased by just over $48 billion. Such audacious returns were driven by outperforming stocks, not only in the U.S., where equity markets hit record highs but also in other parts of the world.
France’s Bernard Arnault, president of the luxury goods giant LVMH, is the biggest winner from a landslide this year. He is the third richest person on the planet, worth more than a year ago $40 billion, and is now one of only three men with 12-figure fortunes. His huge profits in 2019 are almost $18 billion more than anyone else on earth. Coming in second is the notorious president of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who was the biggest loser of last year. He is $22.1 billion wealthier in a complete reversal of fortunes after losing $18.7 billion in the previous year
Likewise, Jeff Bezos, the biggest winner of last year, is now one of the biggest losers because of his $30 billion divorce settlement with his 25-year-old wife, MacKenzie Bezos. His fortune dropped only by approximately $13 billion, as Amazon’s stock rose 18%, counteracting much of the drop.
Here are the 3 winners & 3 losers from 2019-
- Mark Zuckerberg– As the U.S. presidential elections are on the horizon in 2020, Zuckerberg continues to attract detractors from presidential candidates to fellow billionaires like Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who is a drastic change in October removed all political ads from his website. Yet with the same month’s quarterly results, Facebook continued to surpass the expectations of analysts. Several new initiatives, including Facebook News and Facebook Dating, were also introduced in 2019. “Surely this is a historic moment of social tension, and I see our company’s important role as protecting free expression,” Zuckerberg said in a November earnings call. The stock price of Facebook has risen by 48%
- Amancio Ortega– The share price of Amancio Ortega’s Inditex, best known for its popular clothing chain Zara, grew almost 34 percent this year after a less-than-stellar 2018. The company announced in an interim report in November that it had cut operating expenses while increasing the global presence of Zara, launching online stores in South Africa, Colombia, the Philippines and Ukraine. Ortega has a 60% interest in Inditex, including Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Bershka as well.
- Azim Premji– In mid-March, Indian tech tycoon Premji revealed that he had transferred to his charitable foundation a $7.5 billion stake in his IT outsourcing company, Wipro Limited. According to his foundation, the move took his lifetime giving to $21 billion. After the death of his father, Premji fell out of Stanford in 1966 to take over the cooking oil business of his family. He moved the company to a software and extended the business to Wipro’s $8.5 billion (income for 2019). Eventually, in 2000, he graduated from Stanford.
- Jeff Bezos– In January 2019, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, revealed that after 25 years of marriage they were divorcing. Amazon founder and CEO Bezos sold 25 percent of his stake in the company to MacKenzie as part of the divorce deal, which now controls about 4 percent of the e-commerce giant. Forbes estimated that Bezos ‘ net worth fell by $36.8 billion after the deal was completed in July. Amazon’s stock has risen since that time, negating much of the decline.
- Subhash Chandra– Chairman of the Essel Group Indian media conglomerate, Chandra’s 2019 rough. A news report in January reported that Essel was linked to a business being prosecuted for suspicious transactions by India’s Serious Fraud Investigation Office; the claims were refuted by Essel. The share price of Zee Entertainment Enterprises, one of Essel’s media companies, has fallen 41 percent since the beginning of January. Another business of the Essel Group, Dish TV India, was struggling and at the same time, its stock price was down 65 percent. In July, the company, which divested some of its properties to repay lenders, sold an 11% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprises to the Invesco Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund.
You can access the full Forbes list here.