In trying to take advantage of a 75-percent surge in Amazon’s value this year, Bezos has accelerated his stock sales—in August, he offloaded more than $3.1 billion, and in February, he sold more than $4.1 billion.
The most recent sale lifts his total cash out this year to more than $10.2 billion. For comparison, last year, he only sold $2.8 billion worth of shares.
However, Bezos, the world’s richest person, still owns more than 53 million shares of his company—worth nearly $170 billion. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he is worth about $191 billion, an increase of $76 billion since January.
The multibillionaire didn’t explain why he sold so many shares this year, but he is known to regularly sell off his stock to fund his Blue Origin space company and other ventures. He also recently launched a $10 billion Earth Fund to combat the effects of climate change, which will issue grants to scientists, activists, and other organizations.
Last week, Amazon reported a 37 percent revenue growth for the third quarter, largely driven by increased demand for essential goods, groceries, and household items due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon is anticipating even greater customer demand heading into the holiday season, which should bode well for Bezos’ net worth.
The company said sales in the fourth quarter are expected to be between $112 billion and $121 billion, which comes out to growth of 28 percent to 38 percent from a year earlier.
“We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season,” Bezos said in a statement.
Bezos also applauded Amazon’s recent efforts in job creation and its treatment of warehouse workers, which long has been a subject of scrutiny during the pandemic. He emphasized Amazon’s commitment to a $15 minimum wage and challenged other employers to do likewise.
“Two years ago, we increased Amazon’s minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees across the United States and challenged other large employers to do the same. Best Buy and Target have stepped up, and we hope other large employers will also make the jump to $15. Now would be a great time,” he said.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.