For the first time, the three richest people in the world are all tech moguls. On Friday, Facebook Inc. (FB) stock continued to make a comeback after reaching lows in March, leading founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to surpass legendary investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett in terms of net worth.
With an estimated net worth of $81.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Zuckerberg, 34, eclipsed Buffett, the 87-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A), by about $373 million. (See also: How Jeff Bezos Got to Be the World's Richest Man.)
Closing up 2.4% on Friday at a record high of $203.23, Facebook stock reflects a 15.2% gain year-to-date (YTD), outperforming the S&P 500's 3.2% return in 2018. In March, the Palo Alo, California-based tech titan faced its worst day in four years, losing tens of billions in market capitalization over the course of a few weeks as investors feared regulatory backlash following its headline-making Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
A Fifth of $5 Trillion in Wealth Controlled by Tech
The Bloomberg index, updated after the close of each trading day in New York, tracks over $5 trillion in wealth and has been increasingly dominated by the technology sector, with industry fortunes accounting for about one fifth of the wealth. In March, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos became the richest person that ever lived, eclipsing that of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) co-founder Bil Gates.
It's important to note that Buffett, once the world's wealthiest individual, has given away a significant portion of his earnings to charity over the past decade plus. The value investing guru has donated approximately 290 million Berkshire Class B shares to charity, which are now worth over $50 billion, according to Bloomberg, with a large sum going to Bill and Melinda Gates' philanthropic foundation. Buffett and Gates launched a "Giving Pledge," to enlist their fellow billionaires to give away at least half of their wealth, either during their lives or in their wills. Buffett himself has pledged more than 99% of this own wealth to charitable causes.
Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook stock over his lifetime. (See also: Buffett: I Was Wrong on Amazon, Google.)