Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person, got billions richer in minutes Thursday as Amazon shares soared in extended trading on news of a killer quarter driven by strong holiday sales.
Bezos’ fortune shot up about $13 billion. At $2,100 a share, the Amazon CEO is now worth about $129.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Fourth-quarter revenue and profit crushed Wall Street estimates. Amazon said its profit grew 8% to $3.3 billion for the three months that ended in December. Earnings per share were $6.47, wildly exceeding $4.04 per share analysts were expecting, according to research firm FactSet. Revenue surged 21% to $87.44 billion.
The winning streak has helped Bezos leapfrog Bill Gates as the wealthiest person on the planet.
MacKenzie Bezos, former wife of the Amazon founder, has unloaded about $350 million worth of Amazon shares, about 1% of her Amazon stock, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As part of the couple’s divorce settlement last year, MacKenzie Bezos got a 4% stake in Amazon, or about 19.7 million shares.
Amazon.com scored more than just good financials in the fourth quarter. The online retailer reported it now has more than 150 million Prime members, up 50% from the last time Amazon released the number in 2018.
"Amazon blew all expectations out of the water during the holiday quarter," eMarketer analyst Andrew Lipsman said in a statement.
Sales got a big boost from the rollout of next-day Prime delivery, but the real surprises were increased profits in the face of higher costs and competitive pressures in Amazon's cloud business, he said.