NEW YORK (Web Desk) – Spanish clothes magnate Amancio Ortega has overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates for the first time ever.
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Bill Gates briefly relinquished his title as the world’s richest man to the Spanish retail giant 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.
According to Forbes’ real-time tracker, the elusive multi-billionaire founder of European clothes retailer Zara smashed past Gates to become the wealthiest person on the planet, with a fortune of $79.8 billion (€71.83 billion or £51.84 billion).
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.
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.