Entrepreneurs

Zuck passes Buffett: For the first time ever, the world’s 3 richest made their money in tech  

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on May 1, 2018 in San Jose, California.
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on May 1, 2018 in San Jose, California.

When Mark Zuckerberg finally surpassed Warren Buffett in terms of personal wealth on Friday, the Facebook CEO turned the top three spots on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index into a club for tech founders for the first time ever. Zuckerberg, 34, now trails only Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has ballooned by more than $8.8 billion this year alone, reaching $81.6 billion on Friday to pass Buffett’s $81.2 billion net worth, according to Bloomberg. On Friday, Facebook’s stock price hit a new all-time high, soaring nearly 5 percent on the day after analysts predicted better-than-expected revenue growth for the company. The social networking giant’s market value is now nearly $575 billion, making it the fifth-most-valuable public company in the world.

The stock bump comes even as Facebook still deals with the fallout of a massive data scandal that saw 87 million users’ personal information harvested without their knowledge by a consulting company. That Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal caused Facebook’s stock to fall as low as $157.20 on April 2, but the company’s shares have since rebounded and are now trading above $204.

Nearly 97 percent of Zuckerberg’s wealth, or about $79 billion, comes from his Facebook stock, according to Bloomberg, while he also has nearly $2.5 billion in cash. Zuckerberg also owns roughly $175 million in real estate assets, including a $9 million home in Palo Alto, California, and land in Hawaii that’s estimated to be worth $100 million.

Meanwhile, Buffett’s net worth has declined by over $4 billion in 2018, with Bloomberg noting that the billionaire investor’s holdings have diminished mostly due to his charitable giving. In fact, Buffett has donated roughly 290 million shares of his holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, to charity over the past decade or so.

Buffett announced in 2006 that he would give away much of his fortune to charity over time, and Facebook’s Zuckerberg has followed suit, with the young tech billionaire and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledging to eventually give away 99 percent of their Facebook stock.

The tech giants ahead of Zuckerberg on Bloomberg's index have also seen their fortunes grow in 2018, with Bill Gates’ total net worth increasing by over $2.4 billion this year to reach $94.2 billion. Gates has also pledged to give away a large portion of his fortune, and he’s already donated over $50 billion to charity in total.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s Bezos has added a whopping $42.7 billion to his net worth this year, bringing the total to $142 billion. Bezos passed Gates to become the world’s richest person in October 2017, but his wealth has continued to skyrocket as Amazon’s stock price has jumped by nearly 48 percent since the end of last year.

Bezos has been criticized in the past for not being as committed to philanthropy as some of his fellow billionaires atop the “world’s richest” rankings. In June the Amazon founder teased plans for new charitable giving efforts that he says he’ll reveal by the “end of the summer.”

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