Amazon’s Jeff Bezos sold $1b worth of stock to fund Blue Origin

ONE of the greatest benefits of owning more than one successful business is that you can distribute the wealth. Case in point: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has recently proven a side hustle (or two) is worth the extra effort.

As reported by Bloomberg, Bezos has just sold around US$1 billion in Amazon’s stock in order to bolster his space exploration company Blue Origin. Bezos still owns 79.9 million shares, which equals to 17 percent of the company.

Apparently, Bezos reportedly spends around a billion on Blue Origin every year, which aims to send tourists on short trips into space so they can “experience weightlessness and get a nice view of the Earth”. He isn’t the only billionaire working on a space tourism side business, as it is also competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.

SEE ALSO: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to tap into space tourism and make travel costs cheaper

At a space conference last month, Bezos revealed selling Amazon shares to fund Blue Origin is actually an annual event. “My business model right now … for Blue Origin is I sell about US$1 billion of Amazon stock a year and I use it to invest in Blue Origin,” he said.

According to Forbes, Bezos sold two million shares of Amazon last year which is worth US$1.4 billion before tax. In 2015, he sold US$534 million’s worth and US$351 million in 2014.

Amazon has just posted record-breaking earnings for the third straight quarter, with its stock up 44 percent. And Vanity Fair points out the strength of Amazon’s online sales and success of its cloud software businesses have taken it to become the fourth most valuable company in the US.

Bezos has also surpassed Warren Buffett to become the world’s third-richest man, trailing only behind Bill Gates and Amancio Ortega.

So while normally selling off shares en masse is usually a sign a company is about to take a nosedive, in Bezos’ case – he’s just leveraging Amazon’s incredible success and using it to grow Blue Origin.