Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of e-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), became the world’s richest person last month after shares of the retail titan jumped above $1,100 a share. (See also: Amazon Will Be Top Retailer, Tech Co. by 2025: MKM.)
He recently sold a million shares for $1,097,803,365, according to a Form 4 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, As Bezos’ near $95 billion dollars of wealth is largely tied up in Amazon stock, the company founder has been periodically selling shares to convert his holding into cash. In May, the tech executive sold about $940 million worth of stock.
A Big Check for Philanthropy, or Space?
It is not clear how Bezos plans to spend his rapidly growing wealth. The CEO does not operate a philanthropic initiative on the scale of Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Bill Gates or Facebook Inc.’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg. In June, the Amazon CEO asked his followers for ideas about a philanthropy strategy “that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time—working on the long term.” He wrote that he wants to make an impact “right now.”
Alternatively, Bezos could use his mounting wealth to continue funding his aerospace manufacturing and spaceflight service company Blue Origin LLC. In April, the entrepreneur and investor said he plans to funnel about $1 billion annually into his commercial space venture. Although Blue Origin has yet to complete its first mission, its ultimate goal is to send tourists to the edge of space on a suborbital rocket called the New Shepherd. CEO Bob Smith recently said that he expects the first manned flight to launch by April 2019.
After the recent sell-off, which represented 1.3% of Bezos’ Amazon stake, the company’s founder still personally owns about 16.4% of his 23-year-old company. (See also: Bezos: Amazon Needs Its Own 'Game of Thrones'.)