Elon Musk, the outspoken founder of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX, is now the richest person on the planet
A 4.8% rally in the share price of the electric carmaker Tesla Thursday boosted Elon Musk past the Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which is a ranking of the 500 wealthiest people in the world.
The South Africa-born engineer’s net worth was $188.5 billion at 10:15 a.m. in New York time, $1.5 billion more than Amazon founder Bezos, who has held the title of the richest person on the planet since October 2017.
As the chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, Musk is also a rival to Bezos, who is the owner of Blue Origin LLC, another private space company.
This news comes after, in dramatic scenes that has drawn in much condemnation internationally, supporters of the US President Donald Trump brought violence to the very seat of America’s democracy on Wednesday, prompting the US Capitol building to be put into lockdown.
The milestone caps an extraordinary past 12 months for Musk. While the majority of the world has been struggling with the coronavirus pandemic over the past year, Musk’s net worth soared by over $150 billion in possibly the fastest occurrence of wealth creation in history.
Bezos would still hold a wide lead over Musk had it not been for his divorce, which saw him cede about a quarter of his Amazon stake to his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, and his philanthropy. He donated shares worth about $680 million in November.
The jump in the stock price of Tesla further inflates a valuation that is massively apart from other auto-manufacturing companies on numerous metrics. Tesla had produced just over half-a-million cars in the last year, a fraction of the output that the Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have.
The electric-car company is poised for further near-term gains as the Democrats have captured both Georgia Senate seats and handed control of Congress to the party that has advocated for quicker adoption of electric vehicles in the US.
While he will not have formally entered the White House until the 20th of January next year, Joe Biden and his vice president-elect Kamala Harris have already set up a transition team in order to get planning under way so that COVID-19 action begins immediately after their inauguration.
Musk, aged 49, has benefited from Tesla’s stratospheric rise in many ways. As well as his 20% stake in the electric automaker, he’s sitting on around $42 billion of unrealized paper gains on vested stock options.
Those financial securities come from two grants that he received in the years 2012 and 2018, the latter of which was the largest financial deal ever seen between a CEO and a corporate board.