Elon Musk has overtaken Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person after his net worth surged to almost $US190 billion ($245 billion) following an extraordinary year for electric car company Tesla.
Tesla shares rose by 7 per cent on Thursday, pushing the company past Facebook in value and making Mr Musk’s 20 per cent stake worth $US138 billion ($178 billion). He also owns a stake in privately held rocket company SpaceX.
The surge in Tesla’s share price left 49-year-old Mr Musk around $US1.5 billion richer than Amazon founder Mr Bezos, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s wealthiest people.
Mr Musk was worth just $US27 billion ($35 billion) at the start of 2020 but his fortune has rocketed due to a 760 per cent jump in Tesla shares over the past year, as the pandemic -triggered a rush into tech stocks. Separately, overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed above 13,000 for the first time.
Mr Musk’s position at the top of the rich list caps a remarkable rise for Tesla and SpaceX, both of which were propped up by the founder in their early days with money he had made by selling PayPal at the start of the century.
The two companies have repeatedly come close to failure but enjoyed a spectacular 2020, with Tesla becoming the world’s most valuable car company and SpaceX sending astronauts into orbit for the first time.
In response to a tweet from his biographer Ashlee Vance, who said his -status as the world’s richest person was among the most unlikely business -stories of all time, Mr Musk said: “True.”
Tesla’s shares have powered higher in the last year amid as the company has seemingly put long-running questions about -manufacturing and logistics behind it. It consistently made a profit for the first time in its history and last year joined the S&P 500, attracting a wave of new institutional money.
Tesla still only made around 500,000 vehicles last year, significantly fewer than automotive stalwarts such as Ford and General Motors, but is now worth more than the nine biggest carmakers combined.
Mr Musk first reacted to the news on Twitter, posting: “How strange” before adding “Well, back to work…”
The Daily Telegraph
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