8 of America’s richest people have added billions more to their wealth in 2020 — even during the coronavirus pandemic

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Elon Musk’s net worth fell by $US3.1 billion in mid-March, but has since grown by $US8.1 billion. John Raoux/AP Images

Some of America’s richest have been able to overcome the stock market crash in March.

Of the wealthiest 170 American billionaires, 34 have seen their total net worth increase by tens of millions of dollars during 2020, according to the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies’ new “Billionaire Bonanza” report, citing the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

And of these 34, eight have experienced wealth gains exceeding $US1 billion from January 1 to April 2020, the report found.

Some saw their net worths dip after the crash, but recovered their wealth thanks to their companies’ rising popularity during the coronavirus pandemic or by getting their companies involved in pandemic-related efforts. In particular, billionaires with ties to video conferencing companies have seen an uptick in their wealth as more people have been using such communication tools to stay connected.

Here are the eight billionaires who have already made billions in 2020, listed in order of increasing gains.


8. Rocco Commisso

Net worth:
$US8.3 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US1.09 billion

Position: Founder and CEO, Mediacom Communications

Industry: Telecom

Commisso originally saw a net loss of $US800 million during the March stock market crash, but his net worth rose again when Mediacom secured a financing deal on March 23, according to the Billionaire Bonanza report. He also owns Italian soccer club ACF Fiorentina.

Commisso has led coronavirus relief efforts in Italy.


7. Joshua Harris

Net worth:
$US5.2 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US1.72 billion

Position: Cofounder and Senior Managing Director, Apollo Global Management

Industry: Finance and investments

Apollo is a major private equity firm that sees more than $US300 billion in assets, according to Forbes. Harris owns a stake in several sports teams, including NHL’s New Jersey Devils, the English Premier League’s Crystal Palace Football Club, and the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. The latter team has more than quintupled in value since Harris purchased it in 2011 with a consortium for $US290 million.


6. John Albert Sobrato

Net worth:
$US9.6 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US2.07 billion

Position: Chairman emeritus, Sobrato Organisation

Industry: Real estate

Sobrato Organisation’s portfolio includes the Silicon Valley office spaces of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Apple, tech giants continuing to perform well during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the report.


5. Steve Ballmer

Net worth:
$US62.4 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US2.2 billion

Position: Former CEO, Microsoft

Industry: Tech

Ballmer is still a significant shareholder of Microsoft. The company’s two online video conferencing platforms, Skype and Teams, have seen daily activity increase in March, according to the report. He donated $US25 million towards organisations fighting the coronavirus outbreak, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Ballmer also owns the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.


4. Eric Yuan

Net worth:
$US8.7 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US2.58 billion

Position:
Founder and CEO, Zoom

Industry: Tech

Zoom went public in 2019. At the time of the IPO, Zoom was valued at $US9 billion, of which Yuan owned 22%, according to Forbes. Zoom has become widely popular during the pandemic – more people used the video conferencing tool so far this year than in all of 2019, according to the report.


3. MacKenzie Bezos

Net worth:
$US47.5 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US3.5 billion

Position: Shareholder, Amazon; Writer; Philanthropist

Industry: Tech

MacKenzie is one of the 25 richest billionaires and one of the five richest women in the world. After finalising her divorce with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in July 2019, MacKenzie walked away with 25% of Jeff’s Amazon stake, or 4% of the company.


2. Elon Musk

Net worth:
$US37.8 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US5 billion

Position: CEO, Tesla; Founder, SpaceX

Industry: Automotive

Musk’s net worth fell by $US3.1 billion in mid-March, but has since grown by $US8.1 billion after he he helped address shortages of critical medical equipment, according to the report. SpaceX partnered with medical device company Medtronic to help increase the firm’s capacity to produce ventilators. Meanwhile, engineers at Tesla are creating prototypes from used car parts.


1. Jeff Bezos

Net worth:
$US145 billion

2020 wealth gains: $US10 billion

Position: Founder and CEO, Amazon

Industry: Tech

The crash decreased Bezos’ net worth to $US105 billion on March 12, the stock market’s lowest point, according to the report. But his net worth has been climbing as government shutdowns of small businesses have left many people turning to Amazon to get goods.

In the beginning of April, Bezos donated $US100 million to food banks dealing with shortages due to the coronavirus outbreak.