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World’s super-rich cash in after global prices surge

Most of the world’s biggest self-made fortunes are tied up in a single asset. Take Jeff Bezos: shares represent $US169 billion of his $US183 billion net worth. Mark Zuckerberg’s 13 per cent stake in Facebook Inc. makes up almost all of his fortune, while Amancio Ortega’s holding in Zara owner Inditex SA accounts for the bulk of his, even with a $US17 billion property empire.

Malaysian billionaire Lim Kuang Sia, founder of Kossan Rubber Industries, also sold shares late last month, collecting more than $US30 million from a stake in the latex glove company that has surged during the pandemic. Billionaire Leslie Wexner offloaded $US89 million of his L Brands in August, highlighting a month in which stock sales from executives, board members and large shareholders in US-listed firms reached their highest levels this year.

“Stockmarket valuations have climbed considerably regardless of fundamentals,” said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities in Seoul. “Volatility has been increasing.”

While some billionaires are selling stock, others are doing the opposite. Japan’s Masayoshi Son and French media magnate Patrick Drahi are looking into taking their companies private after recent wild stock swings. Hong Kong real estate tycoon Peter Woo and the family behind Li & Fung, the world’s biggest supplier of consumer goods, are among those who took their firms out of the market spotlight earlier this year.


Thiele’s sale will support his other investments, according to terms seen by Bloomberg, similar to the explanation given for a previous reduction of his majority stake in Knorr-Bremse this year. Adyen’s founders offloaded their shares to diversify their holdings and reduce single-stock risk, the company said in a statement.

The Rales, who spun out Fortive from Danaher in 2016, didn’t disclose a reason for their sales. A Fortive representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


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