Elon Musk is now the richest man in the world by passing Jeff Bezos’s net worth by about $10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Tesla chief executive Musk’s net worth totaled around $195 billion Thursday, up from roughly $30 billion a year ago. The value of Tesla’s shares rose almost 8% Thursday, enough for Mr. Musk to overtake Mr. Bezos in the wealth ranking. The jump in the price of Tesla stock boosted the value of his wealth on paper to more than $188 billion! Now, Tesla’s value of $768 billion is greater than that of Ford, GM, Volkswagen, and Toyota combined.
In addition to Musk’s title of the world’s richest man in the world, the record happened during a pandemic that has ground the world’s market to a halt. During the early months of quarantine, Musk was criticized for repeated attempts to keep Tesla’s plant open. Musk was also criticized for bringing workers back onto the line as COVID-19 raged.
However, this record marks an unlikely turnaround for Musk. Months ago, Tesla’s stock appeared to have bottomed out due to legal and regulatory fears, as well as concerns about Musk’s leadership. Musk’s famous tweet about having “funding secured” to take Tesla private in August 2018, kicked off a slew of regulatory battles that plunged Musk’s status as CEO into question.
By 2019 Tesla faced concerns over demand, mounting losses, and a shortage of cash. Its stock dropped to a near-term low around June 2019. Now, Musk is set to qualify for options to buy another 16.9 million shares of Tesla early this year. Those options would be worth $12.3 billion at the shares’ current value, after taking into account the exercise price.
Finally, Bezos isn’t the only one that Musk caught up to Thursday. ExxonMobil (XOM), the United States’ most valuable oil company, had a market value at midday Thursday of just under $191 billion. So Musk, for the time being, is at least worth more than America’s largest oil company.
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