The descendants of Walmart founder Sam Walton saw their fortunes shrivel by $15 billion on Tuesday, after the world’s largest retailer reported slowing online sales growth and a drop in profits over the holidays.
Shares of Walmart plunged by 9% after the retailer said its online sales grew 23% in its latest quarter, which was about half the rate of the previous quarter. While online sales still make up a fraction of the retailer’s overall revenue, Walmart has been investing heavily in its e-commerce capabilities. The numbers were likely enough to spook investors about the retailer’s traction in the fight against Amazon.
Walmart also logged a smaller quarterly profit from a year ago, with net income declining 42% to $2.18 billion and missing analyst expectations.
Jim, Rob and Alice Walton, children of founder Sam Walton, watched their fortunes fall by $4.1 billion apiece on Tuesday. Their sister-in-law Christy Walton, wife of deceased brother John, saw $628 million knocked off her net worth. Her son Lukas, 31, who received a larger share of his father’s estate, lost $1.2 billion on paper.
The Waltons are still among the wealthiest people on the planet thanks to the outsized success of the big box retailer. Jim is the world’s 15th richest person with a net worth of about $44.3 billion, immediately followed by brother Rob (No. 16 with $44.1 billion) and sister Alice (No. 17 with $44 billion)
Their sizeable stake in Walmart’s stock, which has climbed 36% in the last twelve months, makes up the lion’s share of their fortune. Altogether, Jim and the other heirs own just under half of Walmart’s stock. Only two family members – Rob and Jim’s son, Steuart – are currently involved with the company through their seats on the board.
Ann Walton Kroenke and sister Nancy Walton Laurie, who inherited a stake in Walmart from their father Bud Walton (brother to Sam), also lost a few hundred million dollars each on Tuesday.
Walmart has been investing heavily in its online capabilities and workforce in recent years, with investors eager to see signs that its efforts are paying off. It has snapped up e-commerce companies like Jet, Moosejaw and ModCloth and been trying to leverage its massive physical footprint, such as offering discounts on items that shoppers can order online and pick up in the store and turning stores into e-commerce fulfillment centers.
The retail juggernaut has also been shelling out big money to attract and keep quality workers. In January, it said it would be raising the minimum wage to $11 for more than one million of its U.S. hourly workers as a result of sweeping new tax legislation. It has also doubled down on its training programs to help entry-level workers climb the ranks into management. – Written by ,
Abducted Tanzanian Billionaire Mo Dewji Returns Home
Tanzanian billionaire entrepreneur Mohammed Dewji, who was abducted by unidentified kidnappers on October 11 in Dar es Salaam, has been released and has returned home safe.
In a statement released by MeTL group at 3.15AM today, the prominent businessman says: “I thank Allah that I have returned home safely, I thank all my fellow Tanzanians and everyone around the world for their prayers. I thank the authorities of Tanzania, including the Police Force for working for my safe return.”
The Tanzanian police have also released a video in which Dewji, dressed in a t-shirt and who looks visibly shaken and worn out, thanks his supporters.
Said a source who works closely with Dewji to FORBES AFRICA: “He was released in the middle of Dar es Salaam around 3AM today, unharmed, after which he ran to the nearest security guards who dropped him off home. He does not know who his abductors were. He was only taken about 20 minutes away from the city center, so he has been in Dar es Salaam since the abduction. He has no visible bodily harm with the exception of marks from the handcuffs.”
She also revealed that the abductors wanted ransom but let him go on account of the media hype around the kidnapping.
Dewji was on his way to a gym session at a luxury hotel in Oyster Bay, Dar es Salaam, in the early hours of October 11, when he was kidnapped by the masked gunmen.
Dewji’s family had earlier offered 1 billion Tanzanian Shillings ($436,674) to anyone who could help them find him.
Dewji, popularly known as “Mo” in Tanzania, is the CEO of MeTL active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa. He is also the main sponsor of football club Simba.
Dewji was featured on the cover of FORBES AFRICA in July 2013 and was named FORBES AFRICA’s Person of The Year in 2016. The 43-year-old single-handedly turned his father’s trading business into Tanzania’s largest import-export group.
Dewji’s personal networth is $1.5 billion, according to the Africa billionaires list released by FORBES earlier this year. He is also Africa’s youngest billionaire.
Dewji’s office has said it will release a personal address by Dewji “once he is settled”.
Zuckerberg And Bezos Fortunes Shed Billions Amid Tech Stock Slide
After a turbulent few days on the stock market, fueled by rising tension between China and the U.S. over trade agreements as well as hostile attention towards tech companies for its data-use standards, technology shares continued its decline on Tuesday. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.9%.
The fortunes of two of the world’s biggest tech titans suffered big losses. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg closed Tuesday $3.1 billion poorer while Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the richest man on Earth, ended the day down $4.6 billion, at $124.1 billion.
Since March 17, when news first broke about the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica’s improper use of data gathered via Facebook, Zuckerberg’s fortune has fallen by nearly $13 billion. Forbes pegs his net worth at the close of markets Tuesday at $61.3 billion. He’s ranked seventh richest in the world, down from fifth richest as of mid-February.
Zuckerberg took out full-page ads in several British and American newspapers on Sunday to apologize for the social media giant’s role in Cambridge Analytica data incident. “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” the ad reads. “We’re now taking steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Amazon’s stock, meanwhile, fell alongside other tech stocks on Tuesday. After closing Monday in the green, Amazon stock dropped 3.7% on Tuesday. Bezos, who founded the e-commerce giant from a Seattle garage in 1994, owns 16% of the company’s stock.
After Latest PR Nightmare, Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth Drops $5.1 Billion In Hours
After another public relations debacle for Facebook—in which a Trump-affiliated data firm was accused of improperly gleaning information on more than 50 million users—the company’s stock plummeted nearly 7%, through 1pm Eastern Time on Monday, erasing $37 billion of market value. The decline had the biggest impact on Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s cofounder and CEO, whose net worth fell $5.1 billion.
Zuckerberg, who owns about 16% of Facebook’s shares, is now worth an estimated $69.5 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time rankings of the world’s billionaires. He is currently the seventh-richest person on the planet, down from fifth, after falling behind Zara cofounder Amancio Ortega and Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico’s richest person.
It’s the latest in a string of bad news for Facebook. Last year it was blamed for, among other things, facilitating misinformation, contributing to polarization in Britain, Austria, Italy and elsewhere and enabling foreign political interference. Already, 2018 has been no less turbulent.
On March 17, news broke that data firm Cambridge Analytica—which worked as a consultant for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—allegedly ”harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users without their permission.” The report, published in the New York Times, has exacerbated concerns that the social media giant can be exploited for partisan gain. On Sunday, March 18, lawmakers in both the United States and United Kingdom pressed Facebook for more details on the matter.
In the Times report, Facebook’s deputy general counsel, Paul Grewal, called the incident “a scam — and a fraud.” “We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all — and take action against all offending parties,” he added. Cambridge Analytica was suspended from the platform soon after.
The data consultancy has been in the headlines since Trump’s victory in November 2016. The firm had targeted voters and helped tailor political messaging for his campaign. Amid the post-election upheaval Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, told Forbes in December 2017 that the company would de-emphasize its political work in the U.S. He further stated that the business had “no involvement with Russians,” an assertion that was also disputed in the Times this week.
Zuckerberg, 33, founded Facebook in 2004 as a 19-year-old student at Harvard. He dropped out during his sophomore year to focus full-time on the company, which quickly expanded past its initial niche on college campuses. Today Facebook boasts more than 2 billion monthly active users.
The business’ revenue has swelled in turn, to $40.7 billion in 2017. Together with Google, Facebook accounts for over 60% of online advertising dollars, according to Statista. As the firm’s financial and social power continues to intensify, some have called for regulatory intervention. This week’s tumult will do nothing to ease that pressure. – ,
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