Gates Divorce Settlement, Tech Stock Swings Shake up World’s Richest Rankings

bill and melinda gates
Melinda Gates and Bill Gates speak on stage during The Robin Hood Foundation’s 2018 benefit at Jacob Javitz Center on May 14, 2018 in New York City. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Robin Hood

The ranking among the world’s richest handful has never been closer.

Jeff Bezos, once the wealthiest person on Earth by a wide lead, was dethroned from the top spot on Friday after Amazon shares tumbled nearly 9 percent following a disappointing second-quarter earnings report. Meanwhile, a solid weeklong rally of Tesla stock boosted the net worth of its CEO Elon Musk, who had become the world’s new richest person (again) by the end of last week.

At press time, Bezos and Musk are both valued at $193 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, leading the world’s third richest, French fashion mogul Bernard Arnault, by a margin of $15 billion.

The ranking after No.3 also saw a game changer in the past few days as the Gates divorce reached a settlement. On Monday, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates officially finalized their divorce with a filing with the King County Superior Court in Washington. The settlement came three months after the couple announced the plan to end their 27-year-long marriage.

It’s unclear exactly who will get what.According to the filing, the couple’s divorce agreement was pursuant to a separation contract, which is not public. As of Monday, Gates was the world’s fourth richest person, with a net worth of $152 billion. If he and French Gates had agreed to a 50-50 split, his post-divorce paper worth would put him out of the world’s top 10 richest.

Since the divorce was announced, Gates’ personal investment firm Cascade Investment has transferred a number of sizable company holdings, including AutoNation and Deere shares, to French Gates.

When Bezos divorced his longtime ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, in 2019, Scott walked away with a quarter of the couple’s shared fortune under a separation agreement—without changing Bezos’ wealth rank.

Just two years ago, there were only three “centibillionaires,” or people with a fortune of over $100 billion, in the world. A global pandemic later, that number has grown to 10, thanks to a booming stock market during the otherwise most tumultuous period of modern history.

They are:

1. Elon Musk: $193 billion

2. Jeff Bezos: $193 billion

3. Bernard Arnault: $177 billion

4. Bill Gates: $151 billion

5. Mark Zuckerberg: $131 billion

6. Larry Page: $121 billion

7. Sergey Brin: $117 billion

8. Steve Ballmer: $102 billion

9. Larry Ellison: $101 billion

10. Warren Buffett: $101 billion Gates Divorce Settlement, Tech Stock Swings Shake up World’s Richest Rankings