By Sergei Klebnikov
After a brief stint as the wealthiest person on the planet, Tesla billionaire Elon Musk is again the second-richest person in the world after his fortune fell by nearly $14 billion in one day.
Shares of his electric-vehicle maker, Tesla, fell by nearly 8% on Monday, pushing Musk’s net worth down by $13.5 billion, to $176.2 billion. After briefly overtaking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person last Friday, Musk has again fallen to second spot, according to Forbes’ estimates.
He is now about $6 billion behind Bezos, who has a net worth of $182.1 billion. Shares of Amazon fell by more than 2% on Monday, lowering Bezos’ net worth by $3.6 billion.
Over the course of 2020, Musk received several tranches of options worth billions of dollars each as Tesla hit various market capitalization and EBITDA milestones. The board of directors of Tesla certifies the award of each tranche, and then issues a statement in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk appears to be eligible for another tranche of 8.44 million options—worth around $6.25 billion as of Monday’s closing price—but Forbes hasn’t yet attributed these options to Musk because the board hasn’t publicly certified them. (Bloomberg appears to count Musk’s latest tranche of options in its net worth calculations for Musk.)
Fueled by the skyrocketing Tesla share price, Musk’s fortune has increased by around $150 billion since March 2020, when he was worth $24.6 billion. Tesla’s stock rose more than 720% in 2020, and has already gained another 12% in the first week of 2021. Tesla joined the S&P 500 Index in late December 2020, a move that drove the stock higher as well. The world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla produced half a million cars in 2020—a fraction of the production at global giants like GM and Toyota.
Despite Musk’s drop on Monday, he is still some $20 billion richer than the third richest person in the world, French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault (worth $154.6 billion today).