Covid winners: The tech tycoons & money men making a mint

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It is an iron rule on financial markets that no matter how awful a crisis may be, someone, somewhere, is making a profit. 

The current pandemic is no exception – so meet the money men and tech tycoons who are coronavirus winners.

THE TECH TYCOONS

Jeff Bezos

Amazon is expected to report profits of more than £7500 a second, meaning founder Jeff Bezos (pictured with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez) has added billions to his personal fortune

Amazon is expected to report profits of more than £7,500 a second in the first three months of this year when it unveils its results later today.

The online giant has been a big beneficiary of the pandemic. And that means its founder and boss Jeff Bezos has added billions of dollars to his personal fortune.

The 56-year-old was already the world’s richest man, largely thanks to his 11 per cent stake. He is now worth an estimated £116billion, up from £93billion at the start of 2020, according to Bloomberg’s billionaires’ index.

Amazon has been heavily criticised for paying only a small amount of UK tax in relation to the scale of its business here, and this week it came under fire for closing a fraud helpline.

But its service has been a boon for millions of families under lockdown and it is a major investor and creator of jobs in this country.

Love it or hate it, Amazon has come a long way from its beginnings in Seattle 26 years ago to a $1.18 trillion (£956billion) behemoth. Bezos pledged $10billion (£8billion) of his wealth to fight climate change in February.

He was married to ex-wife MacKenzie, 50, until last year, when the couple divorced, very expensively. His partner now is Lauren Sanchez, a TV anchor.

Reed Hastings

Netflix, another US tech stock, is also doing well, as people stuck indoors turn to its online video service.

Shares are up by more than 30 per cent since the start of the year and founder Reed Hastings’ estimated wealth has jumped from £3.39billion to £4.16billion.

The 59-year-old, who is married with two children, still owns 1 per cent of the company, which he co-founded as a mail-order video rental service in 1995.

Tuned in: Netflix shares are up by more than 30 per cent since the start of the year and founder Reed Hastings¿ estimated wealth has jumped from $4.22bn to $5.18bn

Tuned in: Netflix shares are up by more than 30 per cent since the start of the year and founder Reed Hastings’ estimated wealth has jumped from $4.22bn to $5.18bn

Netflix, whose shows include The Crown, now has more than 180m subscribers worldwide and is worth about £150billion – more than 97-year-old Disney.

It added 16m subscribers in the first three months of this year and has told investors it expects to pile on at least another 7m by the end of June.

Hastings has pledged to give half of his wealth to charity, and has also set up the Hastings Foundation, an £81million fund to improve children’s access to education.

Eric Yuan

Due to the crisis, millions of us have become devotees of Chinese-American businessman Eric Yuan’s video conferencing service, Zoom.

The 50-year-old founded it in 2011 and owns around a fifth of the firm, whose shares have rocketed by more than 118 per cent this year. 

With that rise, Yuan’s fortune has surged from £3.2billion to £6.3billion, according to Bloomberg.

Married with three children, he was inspired to seek work in Silicon Valley in 1994 after hearing a speech by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, but was denied a visa eight times by American authorities.

THE MONEY MEN

Pierre Andurand

The slump in oil prices has been a gusher for 43-year-old Frenchman Pierre Andurand, whose financial empire is in London.

The slump in oil prices has meant 43 year old Frenchman Pierre Andrurand's main fund ¿ the Andurand Commodities Discretionary Enhanced Fund - shot up by 63 per cent last month

The slump in oil prices has meant 43 year old Frenchman Pierre Andrurand’s main fund – the Andurand Commodities Discretionary Enhanced Fund – shot up by 63 per cent last month

His main fund – the Andurand commodities fund – shot up 63 per cent last month after he bet on a fall in the oil price due to Covid-19.

A second fund – the riskier Andurand commodities discretionary enhanced fund – soared 153 per cent in March.

Andurand, a former Goldman Sachs trader, has predicted oil prices will struggle until a vaccine is found for coronavirus, which has slashed demand for oil.

He did, however, endure big losses at the start of the year and in both 2018 and 2019.

Home is a large townhouse in Knightsbridge, central London, near his office, bought for just under £10million in 2009.

He has a fistful of degrees from elite French and British universities, is a kick-boxing devotee and former champion swimmer.

In 2011, he married Russian model Evgenia Slyusarenko in a glitzy wedding ceremony in the opulent Catherine palace outside St Petersburg, with Sir Elton John performing for guests.

The couple divorced in 2016 and last July he married Elena Sereda, a stunning blonde 37-year-old Sotheby’s graduate.

Crispin Odey

One of the biggest names in the City, Crispin Odey raked in profits during the financial crisis and Brexit – and it seems to have been a similar story in the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 61-year-old has boasted of making a packet – estimated at £115million – during last month’s stock market carnage, by short-selling shares he thought would be hit by the virus, including shopping centre owner Intu.

The meltdown boosted his flagship European fund by more than a fifth. He has since predicted markets would bounce back.

Odey came to prominence in the financial crisis, along with his wife Nichola Pease, who is a fellow member of the City’s aristocracy.

The couple live in a six-storey mansion in Chelsea and have a country pile in Gloucestershire, where they spent £150,000 on a Palladian-style chicken coop, dubbed Cluckingham Palace.

 

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