Skip to main content

The Billionaire Winners and Losers From COVID-19

Even the mega-rich have been affected by the global pandemic.

It should come as no surprise that COVID-19 has seriously impacted the balance sheets of the world's wealthiest. Those invested in industries dependent on bricks-and-mortar retail, like Bernard Arnault with his LVMH empire, have lost billions, at least on paper. 

Meanwhile those leaning towards technology, e-commerce and online communications have fared much better, like Jeff Bezos of Amazon or Pony Ma, founder of WeChat.

We take a look at the top five billionaire winners and the top five losers, using data from Bloomberg Billionaires Index over the last twelve months, to the June 8th 2020. 

Top Five Losers


Julia Flesher Koch with late husband David Koch

5. Charles Koch/Julia Flesher Koch

Net Worth: US$54.3bn

YTD Change: -US$7.7bn

Industry: Industrial

New York philanthropist Julia Flesher Koch became one of the richest women in the world after her industrialist husband, David Koch, died in August 2019. Like David's brother, Charles Koch, she now owns 42 percent of Koch Industries. The group, invested in oil manufacturing and commodities trading, has seen its share price fall due to dropping commodities prices. 


4. Bernard Arnault

Net Worth: US$96bn

YTD Change: -US$9.28bn

Industry: Consumer

The French luxury mogul and art collector has seen around a tenth of his net worth wiped out due to Coronavirus. LVMH Moët Hennessy – the world's largest luxury-goods company - has seen sales slide as consumers stay home.


3. Carlos Slim

Net Worth: US$50.8bn

YTD Change: -US$9.47bn

Industry: Diversified

The Mexican business magnate was at one time the richest person in the world, but is now ranked 18. The companies he owns make up an estimated 40 percent of the Mexico Stock Exchange including Telmex, América Móvil, and Grupo Carso. 



2. Warren Buffett

Net Worth: US$79.1bn

YTD Change: -US$10.2bn

Industry: Diversified

The Sage of Omaha has seen shares in Berkshire Hathaway slide dramatically along with his net worth, and has been offloading shares in badly performing stocks, like airlines. 


1. Amancio Ortega

Net Worth: US$64bn

YTD Change: -US$11.5bn

Industry: Retail

Lockdown has dealt a massive blow to industries relying on bricks-and-mortar retail and customer footfall, as people stay home. Amancio Ortega's business Inditex Group, the retail company with fast-fashion brands Zara and Massimo Dutti in its stable, has seen billions wiped off his net worth as a result of COVID-induced lockdown. 

Top Five Biggest Winners


5. Steve Ballmer

Net Worth: US$67.8bn

YTD Change: +US$9.66bn

Industry: Technology

The former Microsoft executive - who remains a shareholder - has benefitted from Microsoft's climbing share price in recent months, especially through launching video conferencing apps like Teams and Skype. 


4. MacKenzie Bezos

Net Worth: US$49.2bn

YTD Change: +US$12.1bn

Industry: Technology

MacKenzie Bezos owns a 4 percent stake in Amazon following her divorce from Jeff Bezos last year, and her wealth has soared along with its share price. She has pledged to give at least half of her assets away through The Giving Pledge.  



3. Elon Musk

Net Worth: US$43.9bn

YTD Change: +US$16.4bn

Industry: Technology

Despite a series of strange tweets, Elon Musk's wealth has soared this year partly down to great performance by Tesla stock, having sold its millionth vehicle in April. Musk also gained kudos for pivoting his factories to produce ventilators and other PPE equipment to help medical teams cope with the pandemic. 


2. Colin Huang

Net Worth: US$36.1bn

YTD Change: +US$16.5bn

Industry: Technology

Shanghai-based Huang is the founder and CEO of Pinduoduo, an e-commerce and discount company which has profited from Chinese shoppers staying home and getting their retail therapy online. 



1. Jeff Bezos

Net Worth: US$150bn

YTD change: +US$34.8bn

Industry: Technology

Unsurprisingly, the king of global e-commerce enjoyed a massive spike in the share price of Amazon, which is now the world's third largest company. Its stock is up 33 percent driven by locked-down online consumer purchases. However it seems that this is not being passed down to its staff, who this week reportedly lost a US$2-an-hour payrise for coming in during the pandemic.