NEW YORK (Web Desk) – Spanish clothes magnate Amancio Ortega has overtaken Microsoft founder Bill Gates for the first time ever.
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.