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Billionaire wars: Elon Musk loses, regains world’s richest title

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
Elon Musk is once again the world's richest person. Images: Getty
Elon Musk is once again the world's richest person. Images: Getty

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos briefly regained his title as world’s richest person on Tuesday, only to lose it just as quickly as Elon Musk’s Tesla shares bounced back after a large sell-off.

Musk leap-frogged Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last Thursday after a Tesla share rally took his net worth to a huge US$195 billion (AU$250 billion).

Crowned world’s richest man on Thursday, Musk brushed it off, writing in one tweet: “How strange,” before sending another: “Well, back to work…”

However, the Tesla founder’s wealth was eclipsed on Monday as Forbes calculated a sell-off wiped US$13.5 billion from his fortune, leaving him with US$176.2 billion to Bezos’ US$182.1 billion.

Just as quickly as Musk fell to second place he reclaimed the title, with Tesla’s stock rising 4.7 per cent on Tuesday, boosting his net worth by US$7.8 billion to US$183.8 billion.

Bezos is just $1.4 billion behind, with a net worth of US$182.4 billion.

What is going on?

As part of his remuneration agreement, Musk received options worth billions of dollars as Tesla hit several goals, and has a 20 per cent stake in Tesla and 48 per cent in SpaceX.

Coupled with the soaring share price, Musk’s fortune has increased by around US$160 billion since March 2020.

However, it also means his net worth is tied closely to the company’s fortunes: he lost the world’s richest title on Monday as Tesla shares fell nearly 8 per cent.

Tesla has had a huge year, as it became the world’s most valuable vehicle company, delivering 499,550 vehicles over 2020.

The world’s third-richest person, Bernard Arnault is worth US$151 billion, while Bill Gates is worth US$121.3 billion.

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