Zuckerberg on Cusp of Topping Buffett With Facebook at $200

Mark Zuckerberg. (Bloomberg pic)

NEW YORK: Facebook Inc. co-founder Mark Zuckerberg came within a whisker of leapfrogging Warren Buffett as the world’s third-richest person Wednesday.

Zuckerberg, more than a half-century younger than the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman, is now worth $81.6 billion(RM327 billion), gaining $8.8 billion(RM35.2 billion) this year as Facebook shook off a data-privacy crisis that caused its stock to tumble 18%. Its rebound from a low of $152.22 on March 27 to close at a record $202 narrowed the gap with Buffett to $29 million(RM116 million), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The recovery in Facebook shares has rewarded other insiders as well, including Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who’s now worth $1.8 billion(RM7.2 billion), and Chief Technology Officer Michael Schroepfer, whose 0.05% holding is valued at $225 million(RM902 million.

Zuckerberg, 34, also trails Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person with a $144.8 billion(RM580 billion) fortune, and Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, with $92.8 billion(RM372 billion). The Bloomberg index ranks the world’s 500 richest people and is updated after the close of each trading day in New York.

Buffett, 87, once the world’s wealthiest person, is sliding in the ranking thanks to his charitable giving, which he kicked off in earnest in 2006. He’s donated about 290 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares to charities, most of it to Gates’s foundation. Those shares are now worth more than $50 billion(RM199 billion), according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Zuckerberg has pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook stock in his lifetime.