Owner of Zara Briefly Passed Bill Gates As The Richest Person On Earth

Bill Gates briefly relinquished his title as the world’s richest man to Spanish retail giant Amancio Ortega Friday morning. Ortega’s net worth hit $80 billion as stock in his holding company Industria de Diseño Textil reached an all-time high of 33.99 Euros per share. Gates quickly reclaimed the top ranking after Ortega’s shares slipped slightly to 33.80 Euros as of 10:52 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The two billionaires will likely swap the title of world’s richest man in the coming days, as shares of Inditex , Microsoft MSFT +9.43% and their other holdings continue to bounce up and down.

Industria de Diseño Textil, or Inditex, is the parent company to brands Zara , Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti. The $20 billion (sales) enterprise is the envy of the retail world, with its fast-fashion model that can design, make, ship and sell a piece of clothing in days. That allows Inditex to react quickly to changing customer demands and keep its stores stocked with the latest trends.

Inditex shares are up more than 50% in the last year. Ortega’s gains in the billionaire ranks are even more impressive since Forbes measures fortunes in dollars, and the value of the Euro has fallen from $1.27 a year ago to $1.10 today.
The son of a railway worker, Ortega cofounded Zara with his wife Rosalia Mera in 1975, selling bathrobes and lingerie. He still owns 59% of the company today. The couple divorced years ago, and daughter Sandra Ortega Mera inherited Rosalia’s stake when her mother died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage in August 2013. Sandra is now the second-richest person in Spain, with a fortune of $7.3 billion.

Got the drop on Forbes . . .

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