Thursday, May 23, 2024
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August 20 was a good day to be Jensen Huang. The CEO of Nvidia—which engineers chips and systems—saw his net worth leap by more than $4 billion overnight, courtesy of a better-than-expected earnings call.

According to the Billionaire’s Index, Huang’s fortune stood at $38.8 billion on August 20. By the close of play on August 21, that had risen to $42 billion. Shares in the company spiked more than 8% after the market closed—up from $472.5 to $512.5 at the time of writing. As a result Huang, who has a 3.5% stake in the company he co-founded, saw his own wealth balloon. The surging share price isn’t without justification from Wall Street.

In its second quarterly earnings update for the current fiscal year, Nvidia reported revenue from its data centre business is up 171% to $10.3 billion. Nvidia has ridden the wave of technological advances. During the COVID pandemic, its shares soared, as its chips were needed to mine the digital currency which experienced a flurry of interest during global lockdowns.

Now it seems the California-based company is cashing in on the artificial intelligence bubble, confirming chips like the A100 and H100—which are essential to services like ChatGPT—are driving performance in its data centre business. On the call, chief financial officer Colette Kress also revealed the company had significantly overshot its own revenue outlook.

“We had an exceptional quarter,” Kress said. “Record Q2 revenue of $13.51 billion was up 88% sequentially and up 101% year on year and above our outlook of $11 billion.”

Optimistic outlook

The earnings call also suggested the company is showing no signs of slowing. Looking into Q3, Kress said: “Demand for our data centre platform for AI is tremendous and broad-based across industries and customers. Our demand visibility extends into next year.

“Our supply over the next several quarters will continue to ramp as we lower cycle times and work with our supply partners to add capacity. Any fears that Nvidia’s suppliers will not be able to keep up were also addressed—Kress lauded the company’s “exceptional” suppliers which were able to “ramp capacity to support our needs.”

The bullish outlook reveals Nvidia’s confidence that it can continue its Nasdaq run. In the year-to-date Nvidia’s stocks are up 229%, and up 529% in the past five years. As a result, it outweighs even the likes of Meta (up 135% in the YTD and up 68.5% over the past five years), Amazon (up 58% and 42% respectively) and Microsoft (36% and 201% respectively).

If Nvidia keeps up its trajectory it could soon propel Huang into the top 25 on Bloomberg’s rich list. Currently sitting at number 29, Huang’s wealth would need to hit $45 billion before he knocks luxury goods titan Alain Wertheimer out of the rankings.

Call windfalls

Huang certainly isn’t the first CEO or founder to see his personal wealth grow as a result of company earnings and announcements—and he won’t be the last. In April, Bill Gates got $2 billion richer after the phrase “artificial intelligence” was used some 50 times on a Microsoft earnings call—according to JPMorgan’s count—highlighting the business’s drive to stay ahead in the large language model (LLM) race.

Buoyed by Microsoft’s optimistic outlook, the company’s stock price soared 9% within a matter of days, adding $174 billion to its market value. The result of the bounce has meant that billionaire philanthropist Gates—who owns around 1% of the company with 103 million shares—saw his assets balloon by $2 billion. Likewise, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO and its largest individual shareholder, via a combination of his “year of efficiency” and making A.I. the company’s priority netted a near–$40 billion boost to his wealth.

The Facebook founder—who famously takes only $1 in salary annually— began teasing the company’s adventures into A.I. this year, hinting at its deployment at the end of January before making a major announcement about a new A.I.-focused project group at the end of February. Ahead of the January announcement, Zuckerberg’s wealth sat at $55.1 billion, and since the A.I. announcement in February, his wealth has grown from $63 billion to $102 billion.

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