Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is now officially the world’s richest man with a net worth of US$200 billion. He is best known for founding his e-commerce giant from a small garage and turned it into a behemoth. Today, Amazon has a net market value of US$570 billion. With so much financial and business success, one must wonder where does Bezos put all his money?
A quick answer would involve the term “divorce settlement”. In the middle of 2019, news reports revealed that Jeff and his wife MacKenzie had been working with family lawyers or counselors and accountants regarding a divorce. After all was said, settled, and signed, Mackenzie received US$38 billion as part of the divorce settlement, which was equivalent to a four percent stake on Amazon stock. They had been married for 25 years and had four children.
Aside from that hefty deal for their uncoupling, Bezos has been investing his war chest on many kinds of businesses, all of which are expected to make it big in the future. Here are some other business interests of the world’s wealthiest person and his holdings show how varied his investment appetite is:
Who would have figured that Bezos would be interested in a footwear and apparelcompany? In fact, the company was one of Amazon’s earliest acquisitions when it bought the e-retailer way back in 2009. Recently, the company amped up its website to make it more shopper-friendly especially for those who are working-from-home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has also launched its new concept called “Customer Service for Anything” which was a hotline to help both customers and non-customers even if they do not make a purchase.
In one instance, a doctor was troubled by the dwindling supplies in the hospital with a lot of COVID-19 patients. After calling the Customer Service for Anything hotline, employees from Zappos were able to locate a supplier for at least 300 pulse oximeters. Perhaps Bezos bought the company not just for its high-quality products but also for the excellent customer and community service culture in Zappos.
Bezos also bought Whole Foods in 2017, making a mark in the onsite and online grocery retail industry. The acquisition was worth more than US$13 billion. The Amazon founder recently visited Whole Foods warehouses to speak to employees and announce a two-week paid leave benefit. He also distributed masks for use by employees as part of their COVID-19 health protocol at work.
The Washington Post
Way back in 2013, Bezos coughed up US$250 million to purchase The Washington Post, one of the most influential broadsheet newspapers in the United States. It has a daily printed circulation of at least 356,000 copies while its digital edition peaks at around one million per day. The newspaper has also received the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism several times.
Despite his many successful acquisitions of strong companies that provide revenue streams in the millions, Bezos dream is to go beyond Earth and conquer space. In September 2000, he founded Blue Origin, a space flight services company. He invested his own money worth $1 billion to start the space-faring firm. The company is now developing various types of rockets that would one day bring human passengers into outer space. The company also has a goal to send a spacecraft to the moon tentatively set in 2024.
Business Never Stops
For men like Jeff Bezos, there is never an end to the quest for finding new opportunities in business. After conquering the e-commerce industry and investing huge sums in other sectors like clothing, food industry, and media, he has set his eyes beyond the horizon, towards the stars.
What is amazing is that even in there were turmoils in his personal life like the divorce he had to go through, he retained the drive, concentration, and desire to do more with his billions. He still wants to be productive and be a disruptive influence on traditional business. With new and literally out-of-this-world goals, he is expected to record another revolutionary success in worlds outside our own planet.
Perhaps, for a man with more than US$200 billion in net worth, having fantastic dreams is never silly and are in fact, doable as long as they follow the normal, scientific way that things are done. His singular vision of bringing human beings deeper into outer space might initially encounter challenges.
Like Elon Musk with his SpaceX project, Bezos, might encounter failure, too. But in the way he has exemplified the entrepreneurial spirit and business leadership, it would not be a surprise if he continues doing business where no man has done business ever before: in space.
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