January 27, 2024

Who Owns Amazon

Read more about How to Invest in Amazon

Despite being the Founder and Executive Chair, Jeff Bezos is only a part owner of Amazon. Who else is behind the company's success?

It's easy to assume that Jeff Bezos is Amazon's sole owner.

He may be the face of Amazon, but the company has other influential players shaping its destiny.

Read on to see which institutions and individuals are behind this massive e-commerce platform.

Who owns 100% of Amazon?

Nobody has full ownership of Amazon, not even Jeff Bezos. Instead, it is owned by many institutional shareholders, private investors, business entities, and corporate insiders. These include private equity companies and venture capital firms.

Although institutional investors own 59.82% of Amazon, anyone who has bought Amazon shares is considered a part owner of Amazon.[1]

At the same time, there are more prominent names and entities whose shares in the company are worth billions of dollars.

How much market cap does Amazon have?
As of January 2024, Amazon has a market cap of $1.64 trillion+. The company made the most money in 2021, with a net income of $33.36 billion.[2] However, after raking in billions for six years straight, it took a hit in 2022, with a net loss of $2.72 billion, its biggest thus far.[3]

Who are the major shareholders of Amazon?

Here are some of Amazon's big-time institutional and individual shareholders:

Jeff Bezos (9.57%)
Being Chair of the Board and Amazon's biggest shareholder, Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest men in the world.

He has almost a billion shares, which translates to a 9.57% ownership of Amazon as of November 2023.[4] Although he's reduced his shares significantly through the years, his remaining Amazon stock is still worth a cool $137 billion+.[5]

Unlike other executives, he has never received stock compensation and has a modest base salary of $81,840 per year. But, as an additional benefit, Amazon pays his security detail, estimated at $1.6 million annually.

Vanguard Group (7.02%)
If you've been around the investment space, you've probably heard of the Vanguard Group.

This company itself is owned by its fund shareholders and has over $7 trillion in assets under management globally.[6]

Although it is the second-largest Amazon shareholder with a 7.02% stake, Amazon is just one of its many holdings in a huge variety of industries.

As of 2023, Vanguard owns 758 million+ Amazon shares worth $111 billion+.

Blackrock (5.91%)
Blackrock is the biggest investment manager in the world, acting as fiduciary to countless investors, big or small. It boasts $10 trillion worth of assets under management, 32% of which cater to pension plans.[7]

As of trading price, the company has nearly 613 million Amazon shares worth $89 billion+.

It is often thrown out there that Blackrock and Vanguard own the world. While it may seem that way, given their enormous holdings in major corporations, it's not entirely true. Remember, Vanguard is owned by its fund investors, while Blackrock is a publicly traded company. But with the voting rights that come with their substantial shares, they would have a bigger voice.

State Street Corp. (3.22%)
State Street Corp. is another major provider of investment services that has significant holdings in various industries such as technology, healthcare, and finance.

As of 2023, State Street Corp.'s 3.22% ownership of 332 million+ Amazon shares is worth $49 billion+.

Fidelity Management & Research Co. LLC (2.71%)
Established in 1946, Fidelity is a Boston-based multinational financial services corporation regarded as one of the biggest asset managers globally.

It has 302 million+ shares in Amazon valued at $44 billion+ and has varied interests in managing equity, fixed income, and balanced mutual funds.

Mackenzie Scott (2.59%)
Mackenzie Scott is a philanthropist and the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos. She's the second-largest individual Amazon shareholder with a 2.59% ownership as of December 31, 2022. This translates to roughly $37 billion based on its current value.

After their divorce in 2019, Scott reportedly got 25% of her husband's Amazon stake of roughly 16%, which was valued at almost $36 billion at the time. Also, part of the deal was to give up her voting power to Bezos, which represents her 265 million+ shares as of 2022.[3]

She has sold a hefty chunk of her Amazon shares with her ongoing philanthropic work. According to her blog, she gave $4.1 billion+ to 384 organizations during the covid crisis in 2020.

Scott also donated $1.7 billion to 116 organizations, prioritizing victims of injustices in the LGBT community. She once said, "I have a disproportionate amount of money to share. My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful."[8]

Andrew Jassy (<1%)
Andrew Jassy became Amazon's CEO in July 2021, replacing Jeff Bezos (who went on to become the Board Chair).

He joined the company in 1997 and founded Amazon Web Services. His promotion to CEO came with restricted stock units worth about $141 million for a vesting period of 10 years (2023-2031). This means, he does not own those stocks until then.

As of 2023, Jassy has accumulated 2 million+ Amazon shares.[9]

Andrew Jassy's unique and long-term restricted stock unit awards are contingent on his continued employment with Amazon during the vesting period. Thus, his total 2021 compensation of $208 million+, for example, was not necessarily paid to him in whole. Instead, most of it only represents the value of his stock in the coming years.

Why doesn't Jeff Bezos own all of Amazon?

Since the company went public on May 15, 1997, at an IPO price of $18, Bezos has sold a substantial amount of his shares worth tens of billions.[10] Thus, he does not have sole ownership of Amazon.

Back then, Bezos owned 41% of Amazon, while his parents had 6.5% held under several trusts.[11]

From August 24, 2022, to October 31, 2023, he disposed of almost 6.5 million+ shares estimated at over $890 million.

Jeff Bezos usually does not sell his Amazon shares on the open market exchange. Instead, he opts for non-open market dispositions, a method commonly used by insiders. In this approach, the buying and selling of shares occurs outside traditional markets. Nonetheless, any purchase or sale using this method must still be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Amazon's success

Amazon's business growth has been nothing short of remarkable since its founding in 1994.[12]

Originally an online bookstore, it has evolved into one of the world's largest and most diverse e-commerce and technology giants.

And that's giving props to Jeff Bezos' visionary leadership and his amazing team who have been instrumental to the company's success.

  • Timeline of major accomplishments:

    DateAccomplishment
    July 1994Founding of Amazon by Jeff Bezos
    May 1997Amazon issued its IPO offering of $18/share
    November 2000Amazon Marketplace launch[13]
    July 2002Amazon Web Services (AWS) launch[14]
    2003Amazon's first profitable year[15]
    February 2005Amazon Prime subscription launch
    September 2007Amazon Music launch
    November 2007Amazon Kindle launch[16]
    November 2009Amazon acquired Zappos[17]
    2011Amazon Lending for small and medium-sized businesses[18]
    August 2014Amazon acquired Twitch[19]
    November 2014Amazon Echo launch[20]
    July 2015First Amazon Prime Day[21]
    2016Amazon Air cargo launch[22]
    August 2017Amazon acquired Whole Foods[23]
    January 2018Amazon Go cashier-less store opened to the public
    April 2018Amazon acquired Ring doorbell system[24]
    August 2020Amazon Fresh store opened[25]
    September 2020Amazon One palm-print-based payment launch[26]
    November 2020Amazon Pharmacy launch[27]
    September 2021Amazon Astro home robot launch[28]
    2021Amazon's most profitable year ($33 billion)
    March 2022Amazon acquired MGM[29]
    June 2022Amazon Prime Air announced its plan for its first drone delivery[30]
    November 2022Amazon Clinic launch[31]
    October 2023Launch of Amazon's first automated fulfillment center using strictly paper packaging[32]

Why did Jeff Bezos call Amazon "Amazon?"
Amazon holds one of the biggest rivers, and Jeff Bezos wanted his company to offer the most extensive selection to his customers. It also starts with the letter A, which means your business would often come up first in search listings. He originally wanted to name it Cadabra, as in Abracadabra. However, his lawyer thought it sounded much like "cadaver," which isn't the most auspicious name for a startup.[33]

What impact do you believe a diverse ownership structure has on Amazon's success?

What are the Key Success Factors for Amazon?

Amazon's success is likely due to its emphasis on customer obsession, passion for invention, operational excellence, and long-term thinking.[34]

The company also integrates the following into their winning formula:

Customer-centric approach
Amazon is all about putting the customer right at the center of everything they do. They firmly believe that customers are always looking for something better, and their mission is to wow them constantly.

E-commerce dominance
Amazon's user-friendly platform, extensive product selection, and competitive price have undeniably brought the company to heights never before seen.

Some of their highlights in their third quarter of 2023 report are:
  • 13% increase in net sales
  • Operating income increased to $11.2 billion
  • Net income rose to $9.9 billion

A vast network of fulfillment centers
Amazon invested heavily in multiple fulfillment centers and warehouses worldwide, enabling them to offer Amazon Prime.

This membership program promises two-day or even same-day delivery of orders to its subscribers.

Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS is Amazon's cloud computing division that drove its growth, providing infrastructure and services to businesses and organizations.

Amazon leverages AWS to give additional services, such as AI and data analytics, creating cross-selling opportunities for sellers.

Innovative products
Amazon has consistently invested in cutting-edge technology with products such as the Kindle and Echo smart speakers.

Worth noting as well are the acquisition of Whole Foods Market and the development of Amazon Go—a convenience store providing a unique "just walk out" shopping experience.

Here are some of the company's more recent innovations:
  1. Launched product review highlights - a new generative AI–powered feature.
  2. Introduced generative AI capabilities to help sellers create product listings.
  3. Previewed a smarter and more conversational Alexa, with an LLM custom-built for voice interactions.[35]

Advertising
Amazon takes advantage of its vast customer data to offer targeted marketing services to brands and advertisers.

Proof of its success is the year-to-year growth of its advertising services in the third quarter of 2023, which is at 25%.[35]

What type of company is Amazon?
Amazon is a multinational technology company engaged in selling consumer products and subscriptions. Aside from being a top online retailer, its other business interests span a variety of industries. These include cloud computing, digital advertising, streaming, AI, healthcare, financing, and entertainment.

Bottom Line

Amazon is owned by multiple shareholders like Vanguard and Blackrock, with Jeff Bezos still having the highest number of shares.

Since its initial public offering in 1997, the company has become a household name, given its scale of operations and way of doing business.

It continues to influence various industries, consumer behaviors, and technological advancements, bringing a lot of benefits and innovations to the world.

References

  1. ^ NASDAQ. AMZN Institutional Holdings, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  2. ^ Amazon. 2021 Amazon Annual Report, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  3. ^ Amazon. Notice of 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders & Proxy Statement, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  4. ^ NASDAQ. Insider Trades of BEZOS JEFFREY P, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  5. ^ NASDAQ. Amazon, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  6. ^ Vanguard. Vanguard In A Nutshell, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  7. ^ Blackrock. 2023 Proxy Statement, Retrieved 12/14/2023
  8. ^ The Giving Pledge. Mackenzie Scott, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  9. ^ NASDAQ. Insider Trades of JASSY ANDREW R, Retrieved 10/23/23
  10. ^ Amazon. FAQ: When Did Amazon Go Public And At What Price?, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  11. ^ Amazon. Notice Of 1998 Annual Meeting Of Stockholders, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  12. ^ Amazon. How Long Has Amazon Been in Business, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  13. ^ Amazon. Press Center, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  14. ^ Amazon. Amazon Web Services Launches, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  15. ^ Amazon. 2003 Amazon.com Annual Report, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  16. ^ Amazon. A Look Back at 10 Years of the Amazon Kindle, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  17. ^ Amazon. Amazon.com Acquires Zappos.com, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  18. ^ Amazon. Amazon and Lendistry Launch Amazon Community Lending Pilot Program to Fuel Growth for Small and Medium-sized Businesses, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  19. ^ Amazon. Amazon.com to Acquire Twitch, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  20. ^ Amazon. Amazon Echo Now Available to All Customers, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  21. ^ Amazon. The History of Prime Day, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  22. ^ Amazon. Amazon Purchases 11 Aircraft From Delta And Westjet To Join Amazon Air's Network, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  23. ^ Whole Foods Market. Amazon and Whole Foods Market Announce Acquisition to Close This Monday, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  24. ^ Amazon. Amazon and Ring Close Acquisition, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  25. ^ Amazon. Introducing the First Amazon Fresh Grocery Store, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  26. ^ Amazon. Introducing Amazon One—A New Innovation To Make Everyday Activities Effortless, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  27. ^ Amazon. Amazon's Full-Service Online Pharmacy Makes It Easy And Affordable To Shop For Medication, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  28. ^ Amazon. Meet Astro, A Home Robot Unlike Any Other, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  29. ^ The Washington Post. Amazon Closes Its Deal To Acquire Movie Studio MGM, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  30. ^ Amazon. Amazon Prime Air Prepares for Drone Deliveries, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  31. ^ Amazon. Introducing Amazon Clinic, A Virtual Health Service That Delivers Convenient, Affordable Care For Common Conditions, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  32. ^ Amazon. Amazon Announces Its First Automated U.S. Fulfillment Center To Eliminate Plastic Delivery Packaging, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  33. ^ The Economic Club of Washington DC. Interview with Jeff Bezos, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  34. ^ Amazon. Who We Are, Retrieved 11/06/2023
  35. ^ Amazon. Amazon.com Announces Third Quarter Results, Retrieved 11/06/2023

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