Checking in With the 5 Most Influential Businessmen in the US

By Adriaan Brits Tuesday, August 18, 2020

You might naturally think that the richest men in the world would have taken a huge financial hit in recent months. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. With the landscape for business changing around the world, we look at how the five most influential businessmen in the US are doing.

Bill Gates

During the rise of the global pandemic that took the world by storm particularly between March and May, billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, has seen his net worth grow by eight billion dollars or 8.2%. It further rose to 26% by June, his net worth as of the beginning of August 2020 is $113.6 billion. In the middle of March, he resigned from his position as a board member of Microsoft, the company he founded with Paul Allen in the mid-1970s.

In May, through his charitable foundation known as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it was announced that he would be putting in $300 million to fight against the coronavirus pandemic and making it accessible to the needy, funding the research on vaccines and virus detection. Until now, Gates has given away shares from Microsoft valued at $35.8 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is famously considered one of the most successful investors of all time. He had pledged to give away 99% of his wealth, out of which he has already given upwards of $41 billion away through his philanthropic work.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which owns over ninety companies suffered a loss of around $49.7 billion, its most major loss. At the same time, the whole stock market was subject to lose in the first quarter during the rise of the coronavirus pandemic. During the quarter, Buffett, during the decline of Berkshire’s stock, bought back $5.1 billion worth of stock.

In the second quarter, Berkshire gained a profit of $26 billion. Ultimately, at the end of June, Berkshire obtained a record $146.6 billion in cash. The multinational conglomerate then bought $797 million worth of stock in the quarter. Since then, Buffett has invested in some Dominion Energy gas resources for $4 billion and has added above $2 billion of America Corp stock.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s net worth saw a rapid growth since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Musk first ranked as the 35th richest person at the beginning of 2020 and increased by three times throughout the last seven months, placing Musk in the 5th position of being the wealthiest people in the world. Tesla has shown to do better than its competitors during the pandemic. Between March and June, with the upsurge of Tesla’s stock price, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX experienced an escalation in his wealth by 55%, making it more than $38 billion.

As stated by CNBC, Musk obtained his first payout from Tesla worth $700 million, based on his performance. Tesla had amounted to $361.22 at its closing on March 18, and $864.38 on June 4. Musk currently owns approximately 38.7 million Tesla shares. According to Musk, Tesla has begun its work on a fourth car factory close to Austin, Texas. Tesla aims to manufacture 500,000 automobiles this year.

Jeff Bezos

As reported by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, had an increase of nearly $48 billion to his net worth this year from March to June, making him worth $189.8 billion. Amazon had its net profit doubled in amount compared to last year ($2.6 million) despite the coronavirus being at its peak. Bezos had invested over $4 billion to ensure employees’ safety to have them deliver products safely to customers, and this investment worked in their favor.

Bezos’ rising net worth is related to Amazon’s increasing stock price as he happens to be the company’s biggest stockholder, holding more than 55 million shares. The company experienced an increase in demand during the beginning of the coronavirus outspread. They hired more and more people to catch up with the demand. The company closed at $2,483 on June 5.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saw an increase of $25 billion during the lockdown between the middle of March and the middle of May, meaning it rose by 46% in the two months during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. He owns 15% of the Facebook stock, which had its users increased by 12% during the lockdown. The use of WhatsApp and Instagram, which are now owned by Facebook, also rose by 14%.

Through this, the social media platform became one of the most frequently used modes of communication during the outspread of the virus, as more than 3 billion individuals now use a minimum of one of Facebook’s additional apps per month. As of late, Facebook has acquired $58.25 billion in cash and 52,534 workers — 32% more than last year. Although it did not do as well as other tech titans, it still amassed impressive numbers considering the advertiser boycott in July.

About the Author

Headshot for author Adriaan Brits
As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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