Ambani's deals have helped make India a bright spot
On July 23, 2020, Mukesh Ambani officially became the world’s fifth-richest man with a net worth of $77.4 billion.
For years, the world’s five wealthiest people hardly changed. It comprised of Americans, Europeans and occasionally a Mexican.
However, that changed when Ambani overtook Steve Ballmer.
The Indian businessman’s wealth rose a further $3.5 billion, bringing him closer to Mark Zuckerberg.
The jump in ranking is just the latest milestone for Ambani whose fortune has increased by $22.3 billion since the beginning of 2020.
The Reliance Industries chairman has moved up nine places on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index since January as shares of his conglomerate have risen 145% from a low in March, kept afloat by investments from firms like Facebook, Silver Lake and BP Plc.
Ambani’s deals have helped make India a bright spot for mergers and acquisitions during an otherwise unproductive year.
It was reported that Amazon is in early talks for a stake in Reliance’s retail division.
In June 2020, Ambani made the top 10. He quickly overtook Warren Buffet and just days later, he surpassed Elon Musk and Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
While Mukesh Ambani is the wealthiest Asian, the second richest is Tencent Holdings Ltd co-founder Pony Ma, who currently ranks 18th.
Billionaires from the region have outperformed their peers from elsewhere in 2020, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand.
While Ambani has risen significantly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has surged the most in 2020, adding $64 billion to his wealth.
Following Ambani’s surge, his company also became the second-largest energy company. Investors have piled into Reliance Industries as a result of its digital and retail ventures.
Reliance gained 4.3 per cent, adding $8 billion to take its market value to $189 billion, while Exxon Mobil lost around $1 billion.
Reliance’s shares have jumped 43% in 2020 compared with a 39% drop in Exxon’s shares as refiners across the globe struggled with a plunge in fuel demand.
Aramco is the world’s biggest energy company, with a market capitalisation of $1.76 trillion.
While the energy business accounted for about 80 per cent of Reliance’s revenue in the year ended March 31, Mukesh Ambani’s plan to expand the company’s digital and retail arms has helped him attract $20 billion into the Jio Platforms unit.
That, in turn, helped add $22.3 billion to Ambani’s wealth this year and subsequently propelled him to the fifth spot in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Mr Ambani’s deal-making has lured investments from Google to Facebook Inc. into his digital platform in recent months.
The tycoon has identified technology and retail as future growth areas in a pivot away from the energy businesses he inherited from his father.