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Ex-Google chief is bookies’ fav to be £20m bidder joining Jeff Bezos in space

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Ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt is the bookies' favourite to have bid £20m for a seat onboard Jeff Bezos' first crewed space trip next month.

Ladbrokes is offering 5/4 odds on the billionaire space enthusiast being revealed as the mystery winner of an auction to join the world's richest man onboard New Shepard on July 20.

Speculation is rife over who paid $28million for a seat for the ten-minute spaceflight by the ex-Amazon chief's company Blue Origin.

The bookie is also offering 4/1 odds on music mogul David Geffen and 5/1 on Bezos' pal Scooter Braun.

Kanye West is also in the running at 10/1 as well as Twitter chief Jack Dorsey on 12/1 and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on 20/1.

Actor George Clooney and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are outsiders with odds at 25/1 and 33/1 respectively.

Bezos is currently locked in a space tourism race against fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Elon Musk.

The auction winner's identity will be disclosed in the coming weeks after beating some 20 participants in a bidding war for the seat on Saturday.

They could be one of Bezos' wealthy friends with internet sleuths looking at which of the world's billionaires would be most interested in going into space.

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Billionaire ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who spent two years as a member of NASA's National Space Council User Advisory Group, was on Monday declared Ladbrokes' favourite.

He has a reported fortune of $21.4 billion and was the CEO of Google from 2001 until 2011, before serving as executive chairman of the company from 2011 until 2018.

Schmidt spent two years as a member of NASA's National Space Council User Advisory Group, and is now the Chairman of the US National Security Commission for Artificial Intelligence, Mail Online reports.

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Jessica O'Reilly of Ladbrokes said: "It looks like Eric Schmidt will be revealed as the mystery millionaire bidder in the race to space with Jeff Bezos on board New Shepard."

Scooter Braun, 39, partied with Bezos on board a boat in Italy back in the summer of 2019.

The powerhouse producer, who has a reported net worth of $400 million, in 2017 wrote on Twitter: "Always has been and always will be… Jeff Bezos is such an inspiration. Never ever doubt your goals. Awesome."

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Another Bezos pal Barry Diller, 79, has a fortune estimated at $3.1 billion and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon also has ample cash to splash on the seat given his net worth of $1.9 billion.

It comes as the billionaire space race between Bezos, Branson and Musk is fueled by optimism that space travel will become mainstream.

UBS estimates it could be a $3 billion annual tourism market by 2030.

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Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic, as well as Musk's SpaceX, have also discussed using their rockets to link far-flung global cities.

Ladbrokes is offering these odds:

Eric Schmidt 5/4

David Geffen 4/1

Scooter Braun 5/1

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Jamie Dimon 8/1

Barry Diller 8/1

Kanye West 10/1

Jack Dorsey 12/1

Tim Cook 16/1

Matt Damon 20/1

Mark Zuckerberg 20/1

George Clooney 25/1

Bill Gates 33/1

Mr Schmidt's representative has been contacted for comment.

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