Amazon shares fell 12.6 percent on Friday afternoon, to $2,527.64, after the company reported its first quarterly loss since 2015, and sales growth slowed for the first time in 21 years.
Bezos owns 11.1 percent of the company’s shares, and the vast majority of his fortune is made up of Amazon shares, which means the billionaire has incurred huge losses on paper as the shares plunge.
The red ink came mostly from a loss of $7.6 billion in the value of its stock investment in Rivian Automotive. But, its e-commerce business also reported an operating loss of $1.57 billion in North America, and $1.28 billion internationally as sales declined after the pandemic surged.
When markets closed Thursday, Bezos was worth about $169 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires IndexAnd his $20 billion wipeout on Friday represented a 12 percent drop in his fortune.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos witnessed a write-off of nearly $20 billion from his net worth as the company’s stock headed for its worst day in the markets in eight years.
Amazon shares fell 12.59 percent at noon Friday, to $2,527.64, after the company reported its first quarterly loss since 2015.
Including Friday’s losses, Bezos has lost about $40 billion in net worth since the start of the year – but he’s still the world’s second-richest person, after Elon Musk.
The losses Bezos incurred are only on paper, which means they can be reversed if Amazon’s stock price rises again before he sells his shares.
A drop in Amazon’s stock price pushed the Nasdaq into sharp monthly drops on Friday, and it looks like US markets are about to end March with the worst monthly performance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday, Amazon surprised Wall Street by reporting a loss of $3.84 billion, or $7.56 per share, in the first three months of the year. A year ago, it reported a profit of $8.1 billion, or $15.79 per share, for the first quarter.
The ocean of red ink in Amazon’s report came mostly from the company’s calculation of a $7.6 billion loss in the value of its stock investment in Rivian Automotive.
However, Amazon’s e-commerce business has also reported an operating loss of $1.57 billion in North America and $1.28 billion internationally.
Amazon has spent billions on new warehouses to meet rising demand, but some analysts warn it may expand too much too soon.
Government data shows online retail spending fell in February and March, and Amazon is now struggling to contain costs after an explosive period of growth during the pandemic.
Amazon has had to raise wages to attract workers, nearly double its workforce since 2020, and is currently battling union efforts in New York that could raise labor costs even more.
The company has also spent billions on new warehouses to meet the growing demand, but some analysts warn that it may have expanded too much too soon.
Also, higher fuel prices are eating up disposable income while making delivery more expensive for Amazon.
Like many others, Amazon is dealing with pressures from inflation and supply chain issues.
Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said inflation-related expenses added nearly $2 billion in additional costs compared to last year, adding that the company also incurred another $4 billion in costs related to lost productivity and other inefficiencies.
Amazon struggles to try to form unions at its Staten Island warehouse, as regulators were seen demonstrating Monday above
“The pandemic and subsequent war in Ukraine have brought extraordinary growth and challenges,” Andy Gacy, Amazon CEO, said in a statement.
Our teams focus squarely on improving productivity and cost effectiveness across our fulfillment network. We know how to do this and we’ve done it before.
To offset rising fuel costs and inflation, the retail giant has added a 5 percent surcharge to the fees it charges third-party sellers who use fulfillment services.
In the last quarter of the year, Amazon also raised the annual Prime membership fee by $20 to $139 per year, the first price increase since 2018.
Despite the higher fees, Olsavsky said millions of new Prime members joined during the quarter.
“Given the pace at which the business has grown over the past few years, this shift is not surprising,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, told Reuters.
It is more of a post-pandemic reset than a catastrophic failure. However, the slowdown raises important questions about how Amazon can regain momentum and regain its leadership position as one of the primary drivers of online growth.