It’s a record-breaking loss, according to Guinness, which said in a blog post that the previous record was set in 2000, when Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank, lost $58.6 billion in the tech stock market crash. (Adjusting for inflation, it would be about $100 billion today.)
Musk’s loss comes amid the fallout from his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, where he laid off thousands of workers while embroiled in a heated political debate. Investors in Tesla, the electric car maker Musk works for, have expressed concern on Twitter that he is spending so much time righting the ship that Tesla is suffering. Tesla shares have lost 39 percent of their value since December 1, according to Bloomberg News.
Measuring the net worth of individuals at a given time is a difficult task. Entrepreneurs whose net worth is tied to the value of a particular stock may see large fluctuations in short periods of time due to external factors such as market conditions or government policies. Musk has lost a lot of money in the past before recovering and growing his net worth again.
But this crisis is part of Musk’s own making. As the automaker suffers from increased competition in the electric car market, chip and raw material shortages, production delays and missed deadlines, it sold a significant chunk of Tesla stock to buy Twitter at a premium. Meanwhile, Musk said he would sleep in Twitter’s San Francisco office “until the organ is fixed.”
Frustrations with the mask have turned into shareholder lawsuits against Tesla, including one filed in 2018. In Delaware, it alleges that the compensation package it provided was excessive and that Tesla’s board members did not act independently in approving it.
The battle to dethrone Tesla heats up as Musk distracts from Twitter
According to Bloomberg News, Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX accounts for more than 37 percent of his net worth, while shares of publicly traded Tesla account for about 33 percent. The rest consists of shares of Twitter and the Boring Company, Musk’s firm created to build tunnels to reduce urban traffic.
The recent decline in Musk’s net worth is largely due to the decline in Tesla stock. Musk has repeatedly linked this to macroeconomic trends, including the Federal Reserve’s historically high interest rates for 2022.
About an exchange with Twitter and Tesla investor Ross Gerber last month Tesla’s valueMusk tweeted, “As guaranteed bank savings account interest rates begin to approach *unsecured* stock market returns, people are moving more and more of their money out of stocks and into cash, thus driving stocks lower.”
However, Musk has publicly acknowledged investors’ concerns that his investment in Twitter will dilute the value of his other projects. “I am confident that Tesla shareholders will benefit from Twitter for a long time,” Musk tweeted in December. He did not give specific information.
Musk has been overtaken by Bernard Arnault, CEO and chairman of French luxury retail giant LVMH, as the world’s richest man. Arnault has a net worth of $182 billion as of Thursday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. According to Forbes, Arnaut and his family are worth $204 billion, while Musk has $146.5 billion.
These tech tycoons lost a total of $433 billion this year
Personal wealth declines are not uncommon at the highest levels of business, especially in tech — though the scale of Musk’s loss is staggering. According to Guinness, the closest Son has ever come to losing Musk’s personal fortune was during the dot-com crash of 2000, when his net worth fluctuated by “up to $5 billion a day.” is on the first place in the list of the richest people in the world: Forbes ranked him 74th in the list of billionaires 2022, and 139th in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
But Musk’s fortunes could still rise. As Guinness notes, “Despite the decline in prosperity, Tesla remains the world’s most valuable car company, with a market value of more than $100 billion more than its closest competitor, Toyota.”
In a note to investors in December, Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney said he still believes in the “significant value” of the Tesla brand, even though Musk acknowledged it has become “more polarized” since buying Twitter. He suggested “shifting the consumer focus on Tesla to these key attributes of sustainability and technology” to restore the company’s value. In other words: Tweet less, please.