Roughly two years after becoming only the second-ever person to amass a fortune of more than $200bn, Elon Musk is now the first-ever person to lose it.
In 2022, Mr Musk topped Forbes’ annual billionaires list for the first time, ousting former Amazon president Jeff Bezos, who spent the last four years as the richest person in the world.
A year earlier, Mr Musk became the second-ever person to grow their net worth to more than $200bn, months after Mr Bezos did the same.
His fortune peaked at $340bn in November 2021. In April, the Tesla and Twitter boss had an estimated net worth of $273.6bn. Two years earlier, he ranked 31st in the world on the Forbes list, with stock shares in his electric vehicle company at $72.24.
Now, the Tesla and Twitter boss has erased billions of dollars from his fortune, plummeting to $137bn, largely attributed to tanking values of his shares in the electric vehicle company. That value dropped 65 per cent in 2022, according toBloomberg.
In 2012, when he debuted on the Forbes list, his net worth was estimated to be $2bn.
Mr Musk was the world’s wealthiest person until December, when European fashion mogul Bernard Arnault surpassed him.
The decline in Tesla shares has been so steep, and Mr Musk has sold so much to help cover his exorbitant $44bn Twitter purchase, that Tesla is no longer his biggest asset, according to Bloomberg.
The outlet reports that his $44.8bn stake in the Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, exceeds his roughly $44bn in Tesla stock.
He has been preoccupied with his newly acquired, extremely influential social media company, where he has courted far-right reactionaries under the guise of “free speech” absolutism that has alarmed Tesla investors and critics, advertisers, regulators and civil rights groups alike.
Mr Musk has faced international scrutiny for his hands-on management at Twitter, where he has fired hundreds of employees, suspended journalists who cover his companies, stopped regulating the spread of Covid-19 disinformation, and allowed neo-Nazi users and other previously banned accounts to return.
He also recently fired janitors at the company’s San Francisco headquarters, reportedly forcing some Twitter staff to bring in their own toilet paper to work.
Meanwhile, Tesla has offered American buyers a $7,500 discount on some of its models, and the company is reportedly reducing production at its Shanghai facility.
He has largely dismissed concerns about his companies’ decline, instead criticising the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates.
“Tesla is executing better than ever!” he wrote on Twitter last month. “We don’t control the Federal Reserve. That is the real problem here.”