Jeff Bezos is almost richer than Warren Buffett

5 stunning stats on Amazon
5 stunning stats on Amazon

Who says the newspaper business is dead? Two dead-trees-and-ink executives are among the world's wealthiest people.

Okay. Jeff Bezos, who personally owns The Washington Post, has made most of his money from that little internet shopping bazaar called Amazon (AMZN) and not newspapers. (He is also the founder of space exploration company Blue Origin.)

And Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) publishes the Buffalo News, Richmond-Times Dispatch and his hometown Omaha World-Herald, is more famous for investing in Coke (KO) and owning Geico and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.

But both of these sorta media moguls are, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, having a very good year. Bezos' 2016 is just a little bit better than Buffett's though.

Amazon stock hit a new all-time high Wednesday. Shares are up more than 7% this year. As a result, Amazon has passed Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook (FB) as the sixth most valuable company in America. Amazon's market value is a staggering $342 billion.

Berkshire Hathaway's stock is beating the market this year too. It's up about 6%. But Amazon is nipping at its heels. The Oracle of Omaha's company has a current market value of about $348 billion.

Related: Wheels up! Amazon is investing in airplanes

If Amazon passes Berkshire Hathaway to move into the fifth most valuable spot, it would be within striking distance of ExxonMobil (XOM) ... which is now worth about $370 billion.

Amazon has a ways to go before it comes close to tech's Big Three though. Microsoft (MSFT) is worth nearly $420 billion, while Google owner Alphabet (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) have market valuations of about $515 billion and $545 billion, respectively.

But the success of Amazon may push Bezos ahead of Buffett in the personal wealth race as well -- at least according to two net worth trackers.

Bezos is currently worth $63 billion -- according to the separate billionaire lists maintained by Forbes magazine and media giant Bloomberg. That's only $3 billion less than Buffett.

If Bezos moves ahead of Buffett, he'd become the third richest person on the planet, trailing only Amancio Ortega (the majority owner of clothing retailer Inditex, parent company of Zara) and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Buffett may not be too upset if Bezos passes him though. Having $66 billion should help soften the blow.

Buffett is a well-known tech stock Luddite -- despite his friendship with Gates and investments in IBM (IBM) and, most recently, Apple. Still, Buffett went out of his way to praise Bezos and Amazon at Berkshire's latest shareholder meeting.

Related: Warren Buffett admires fellow billionaire (and retail competitor) Jeff Bezos

Buffett said that what Amazon has accomplished in a relatively short period of time is remarkable -- a telling remark considering that Berkshire is a big investor in Walmart (WMT), a company that has been hurt by the rise of Amazon.

"We're not going to out-Bezos Bezos," Buffett said in response to a question at the Berkshire shareholder meeting about the effect of online retail on traditional retailers.

In addition to their insane amount of wealth and budding retail rivalry, Buffett and Bezos also appear to share something else in common -- a dislike of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

When a shareholder asked Buffett -- a well-known Hillary Clinton backer -- at the Berkshire meeting about how a Donald Trump presidency would impact the company's financials, he quipped that Berkshire's stock performance "won't be the main problem."

And Bezos, speaking at the Code Conference on Tuesday, criticized Trump for how he deals with negative press. He said Trump "is working to freeze or chill the media that are examining him."

Hmm. Bezos/Buffett (or Buffett/Bezos?) as a third-party ticket, anyone? Nah. Why become a humble public servant when you're busy minting money?

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