Jeff Bezos’s folks could net $30bn from Amazon shares
Bet Jackie and Mike Bezos are glad they made that investment way back in 1995
The parents of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos have made one of the most successful investments of all time: the $250,000 they put into the company 25 years ago is now worth $30bn (R396bn).
It is thought the couple may still own about 16.6 million shares (3.4% of the firm), making them the biggest individual owners after their son, according to Bloomberg.
Their return in that case would be about 12 million percent of their original investment.
Jackie and Mike Bezos bought 1.4 million shares from their son’s start-up in 1995, and donated $20m in shares through the Bezos Family Foundation between 2001 and 2016.Mike Bezos, talking at the National Constitution Centre in Philadelphia in 2015, recalled: “We get a phone call from him saying: ‘I’m thinking of opening a book store on the Internet. I need some money’. He had a sweet, sweet job in Wall Street. I said why? And what’s the Internet? We had saved a few pennies so we were able to become angel investors. The rest is history.”
According to Mike, his son had told them how risky the start-up business was before their investment. “He said: ‘I want you to know how risky this is because I want to come home at Thanksgiving and I don’t want you to be mad at me.’ Fortunately, it turned out quite well.”
The Bezos Family Foundation, launched in 2000, focuses on education and invests in research, public awareness and educational programmes. Mike bought 582,528 shares in February 1995, according to the 1997 prospectus. Five months later, Jackie bought 847,716 shares.Last week, Amazon was tipped to be the first company to reach the trillion-dollar market cap as it narrowed the gap with Apple. Amazon’s valuation today stands at about $880bn, compared with Apple’s $956bn. The company's profit surpassed $2bn for the first time in its second-quarter results, as the online retailer continued to benefit from strong growth in its cloud computing and Prime subscription services.
Bezos himself was an early investor in Google. In 1998, the Amazon founder put $250,000 into the search engine, a sum that would now be worth billions. It is unclear whether Bezos still has those shares. When combined, the Bezos family worth of $173bn is seriously close to the Walton (Walmart) family fortune.
– © The Daily Telegraph