Ortega Is Closing In on Gates to Be the World’s Richest

  • Europe’s richest person ranks No. 2 with $83.3 billion
  • Amazon’s Bezos held the top spot in July for three hours

Amancio Ortega

Photographer: Cabalar/EPA

Spanish retailer Amancio Ortega is the newest challenger to Bill Gates’s position as the richest person in the world.

Ortega, 81, founder of Zara parent Inditex S.A. and Europe’s wealthiest person, is $2.2 billion behind the Microsoft Corp. co-founder with a net worth of $83.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, 53, who held the top spot briefly last month, is ranked No. 3 with $82 billion.

Ortega’s fortune has risen 117 percent since the 2012 debut of the Bloomberg index, compared with a 36 percent rise for Gates. Bezos’s net worth has risen 353 percent.

Gates, 61, who has pledged to give the majority of his fortune to charity, has donated Microsoft shares worth $35 billion since 1994. He made his largest gift since 2000 in June when he gave Microsoft shares valued at $4.6 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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