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Elon Musk once wanted to sell Tesla to another tech giant

·6-min read
Photo of Elon Musk and son X Æ A-12. (Source:Getty)
Elon Musk once had a deal in place to sell Tesla to Google for US$11 billion. (Source: Getty)

Have you ever wondered what makes Elon Musk, the world's richest person, tick?

Musk has a net worth of US$243 billion ($341 billion) as of January, 2022 according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He stripped Jeff Bezos of his tightly held title as the world's richest man when Tesla shares rose more than 32 per cent in 2021. His good fortune continues in 2022.

But would you believe the maverick billionaire once wanted to sell Tesla to a technology giant and was even turned down by the CEO of another? Or that his annual salary at Tesla is $1?

Here are some rare professional and personal facts about one of the most unconventional entrepreneurs the world has seen.

Holds citizenship in three countries

While he was born and brought up in Pretoria, South Africa, he moved to Canada at the age of 17.

He currently lives in Los Angeles, California. That explains why he holds citizenship in three countries – South Africa, Canada and the United States.

Comes from wealthy family

Elon was born to Maye and Errol Musk, both successful in their careers at the time.

His mother was a model and dietitian. His father is an electromechanical engineer and property developer who was once a half owner of a Zambian emerald mine.

Photo of Elon Musk and his mother Maye Musk.
Elon Musk with his mother, Maye. (Source: Reuters)

Musk has a younger brother, Kimbal, and a younger sister, Tosca.

Bullied as a child

Musk, who was an awkward and introverted child, was bullied throughout his childhood.

He was once hospitalised after a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs in school.

Earliest tech creation at age 12

He wrote the computer program for a video game called Blastar when he was only 12.

It was a science-fiction-inspired game like Space Invaders.

A South African company paid Musk $500 for its source code.

Dropped out of Stanford after two days

After earning two bachelors degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk moved to California to study Physics at Stanford but dropped out within two days.

It was a worthy gamble as he went on establish Zip2 Corporation, a company that provided maps and business directories to newspapers, which was sold to Compaq for US$307 million ($430.95 million).

SpaceX and Tesla almost failed

To date, Musk has founded a total of eight companies, including Zip2, PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, Hyperloop, The Boring Company, OpenAI, and Neuralink.

At one time, his biggest successes, Tesla and SpaceX, had a near brush with failure. The Tesla Roadster encountered several problems in production and the first three rockets of SpaceX failed to launch before the fourth was a success.

Wanted to sell Tesla

In 2013, when Tesla was struggling, Musk had a deal in place to sell the company to Google for US$11 billion ($15.45 billion).

Musk was in talks with Alphabet CEO Larry Page about a takeover but the deal fell through because of differences between Musk and Page over specifics of the takeover.

Musk also reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook to sell the company but Tim refused to entertain talks.

Sales of Tesla, however, turned around and the rest is history.

Annual salary at Tesla is $1

Musk draws a token salary of US$1 ($1.40) from Tesla. But most of his fortune come from his shares in the company.

Musk isn't the only one who opts for a $1 token salary; Alphabet’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Snap Inc’s Evan Spiegel have all opted to take a single dollar in official compensation as a company’s stock value says more than a set salary.

He supports cryptocurrency over fiat currency

After being declared TIME’s 2021 Person of the Year, Musk shared his take on many interesting, current trends.

“I’m not a huge hater of fiat currency like many in the crypto­ world are," he said.

"But there are advantages with crypto relative to fiat in that fiat currency tends to get diluted by whatever government it is.

"It ends up being a pernicious tax on people - especially those who have cash savings - with dilution of the money supply.

"I could wax on about the nature of money for hours because I played a significant role in creating PayPal. There are very few people that understand [the money system] better than me.”

Photo of Elon Musk and Talulah Riley. (Source: Getty)
Musk was married twice to English actress Talulah Riley but the couple don't have any children together. (Source: Getty)

Married three times, twice to the same woman

Musk married his first wife, Canadian author Justine Wilson, in 2000. They met while attending Queen's University.

After losing their first son, when he was only 10 weeks old to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), they went on to have 5 children during their marriage until they divorced in 2008 with shared custody of the kids.

Musk married English actress Talulah Riley in 2010 and divorced in 2012. They remarried in 2013 only to file for a second divorce which was finalised in 2016.

Six sons are the love of his life

Musk has five sons with first wife Justine Wilson. Twins Xavier and Griffin were born in 2004 and then triplets Kai, Saxon and Damian were born in 2006.

His youngest son, X Æ A-12 Musk (pronounced x-ash-a-12), with Canadian singer Claire Elise Boucher - better known as Grimes - was born on 4 May, 2020.

In a 2010 interview with Business Insider, Musk gushed about his sons saying, "Almost all of my non-work waking hours are spent with my boys and they are the love of my life".

Currently single

Following his second divorce, Musk dated actress Amber Heard for several months in 2017. The break-up left him emotionally, which he admitted in interviews.

He started dating Grimes in 2018. After dating for three years, the couple have 'semi-separated'.

Musk told Time he was currently single and basically living in a "technology monastery" following his split with Grimes.

A photo of Kenan Thompson, Elon Musk, and Kyle Mooney during an episode of Saturday Night Live.
Musk has appeared in several movies and sitcoms, as well as Saturday Night Live. (Source: Getty)

Big fan of X-Men

A big fan of the X-Men, the Tesla CEO has named robots at his Tesla facility after mutant superheroes like Xavier, Storm, Wolverine, Colossus and Iceman.

He has appeared in Hollywood movies and sitcoms

Musk appeared in Marvel’s Iron Man 2 with Robert Downey Jr.

Downey Jr had sought Musk's help to get into the character of Iron Man back in 2008 and based his portrayal of Tony Stark on Musk.

Musk also appeared in the 2016 movie Why Him? and in Men in Black: International in 2019.

Musk has also had cameos in American sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, The Simpsons and South Park. He appeared on Saturday Night Live in 2021.

He's also dabbled with music

A man of many talents, Musk released a dance track in 2020, Don't Doubt Ur Vibe, featuring his own lyrics and vocals.

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