Amazon Chief Bezos Lost $7.4 Billion in Company’s Worst Year Since 2008
Amazon.com AMZN +0.02% turned in its worst year on the market since 2008, taking a big bite out of founder Jeff Bezos’ personal net worth.
Chief Executive Bezos saw his Amazon holdings lose about $7.4 billion in value over the course of the year as the e-commerce giant’s shares fell more than 22%. Still, Bezos’ 84 million shares, equal to 18.3% of the company, will ring in the New Year with a value of roughly $26.1 billion.
Shareholders punished Amazon for its free spending on projects such as the Fire smartphone and other gadgets and a widening network of warehouses close to urban centers. The company has admitted it botched the phone’s rollout, mainly blaming its price for slow sales.
In this year’s third quarter – marked by Amazon’s worst net loss in 14 years – the company took a $170 million charge for the Fire phone and said it had $83 million in inventory. It has dropped the price with a contract to 99 cents.
Amazon continues to add subscribers to its Prime unlimited shipping program, despite a 25% jump in price to $99 annually. And it can boast growing sales in its core e-commerce unit.
Some investors view Amazon has a long-term play due to its growing cloud computing business, known as Amazon Web Services. While Amazon doesn’t break out AWS results, the unit has become the de facto back-end computing provider for startups and a growing cadre of established firms.
Amazon shares plunged 44% in 2008, though that was only its second-worst year as a public company. The shares fell nearly 80% in 2000, the year some analysts speculated the Seattle firm would go bankrupt.
A spokesman for Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.