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Larry Ellison is now richer than the Google co-founders after big Oracle run-up

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 16: Oracle chairman of the board and chief technology officer Larry Ellison delivers a keynote address during the 2019 Oracle OpenWorld on September 16, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Oracle chairman of the board and chief technology officer Larry Ellison kicked off the 2019 Oracle OpenWorld with a keynote address. The annual convention runs through September 19.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison is almost $16 billion richer as of Friday’s close, passing Google‘s co-founders and inching him towards Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

Oracle’s stock surged 16% following a better-than-expected quarterly earnings report late Thursday. Ellison, the company’s biggest stakeholder with 1.14 billion shares, is now worth $135.7 billion, according to Forbes.

The Oracle rally, its second-biggest in the past 20 years, was a huge boon to Ellison, who co-founded the software company in 1977. On the Forbes billionaires list, he’s moved just ahead of Google’s Larry Page ($126.3 billion) and Sergey Brin ($121.7 billion) into fifth place. Gates, the world’s fourth-wealthiest person, is worth $139.2 billion.

Ellison’s resurgence comes as somewhat of a surprise considering the next-generation tech companies, like Google, Amazon and Facebook, have been growing so much faster in recent years while Oracle has plodded along with mostly single-digit growth. But Oracle is showing signs of acceleration and the company’s latest guidance topped estimates, giving investors heightened confidence that its shift to the cloud is working.

Having his personal wealth rise back above Google’s founders is likely to be a particularly sweet achievement for Ellison. In April, the Supreme Court sided with Google against Oracle in a long-running copyright dispute over the software used in the Android mobile operating system. The case concerned software code that Google used to build Android and was seen as a landmark dispute over what types of computer code are protected under American copyright law.

Additionally, Oracle is playing catch-up in cloud infrastructure, and Google is one of the companies that’s ahead by market share. In 2018, Google’s cloud boss Thomas Kurian joined the internet company from Oracle, where he spent more than two decades, rising to become president of product development.

Ellison, 77, gets the vast majority of his wealth from his Oracle ownership, which has appreciated by about $44 billion this year, thanks to the 59% gain in the company’s stock price. But he’s made an additional fortune from a bet on Elon Musk three years ago.

Ellison disclosed in late 2018 that he’d purchased a $1 billion stake in Tesla. In the past three years, the electric car makers’ market cap has increased by almost 1,300%, and Ellison’s shares are now worth $16 billion. Even after a recent pullback, Tesla is up 44% this year.

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