THE CHANGING FORTUNES OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST
hares of big tech companies have been driving the surge in the stock market during the pandemic. But this week heavyweights Amazon, Google and Facebook took a hit when faced with the prospect of increased regulatory scrutiny. Big tech stocks—and their founders’ fortunes—fell after two separate antitrust lawsuits were announced against Facebook this week.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s two cofounders—Larry Page and Sergey Brin—are a combined $8.5 billion poorer in the week through Friday, December 11.
The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced that it would sue Facebook for “illegal monopolization,” calling for the company to unwind its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram. That same day, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a separate antitrust lawsuit against the social media giant—joined by 47 other state and regional attorneys general—on similar grounds. Facebook’s stock dropped 3.5% since the lawsuits were announced.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 posted their first weekly declines in three weeks, falling 0.6% and 1%, respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index dropped 0.7%. Shares of major tech companies, however, fell by more: For the week, Facebook was down 2.2%, Amazon lost 1.5% and Google-parent Alphabet declined 2.7%.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, saw his fortune shrink $2.4 billion this week to $182.2 billion, Forbes calculates. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, meanwhile, was down $2.2 billion since last week; he’s now worth $100.5 billion. Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin also took a hit, with their net worths dropping by $2 billion and $1.9 billion, respectively. Page is now worth $78.2 billion and Brin is worth $76 billion, according to Forbes.
Despite tech’s drop, the billionaire whose fortune fell the most in dollar terms over the past week was Spain’s Amancio Ortega, the world’s wealthiest clothing retailer. In 1975, he cofounded Inditex, known for its Zara fashion chain, shares of which dropped 3.7% this week. He now has a net worth of $74.4 billion—$3.1 billion less than last week.
Other notable billionaires who saw their fortune take a hit this week include famed investor Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson, CEO and chairman of Las Vegas Sands. Shares of Buffett’s investing conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, dropped 2% since last week, shaving $1.8 billion off of his net worth, which now sits at $85.5 billion. Adelson, meanwhile, saw his fortune drop by $1.5 billion, to $35.1 billion, after shares of Las Vegas Sands fell by 5.2% this week.
HERE ARE THE BILLIONAIRES WHOSE FORTUNES DECREASED THE MOST THIS WEEK.
The net worth change is from close of markets Friday, December 4 to Friday, December 11.