If it felt like Elon Musk spent the last year lighting his fortune on fire, well, Bloomberg agrees, reporting that Tesla’s plummeting stock price has cost Musk so much money that he is no longer the world’s richest man.
At his less-controversial apex, Musk, 51, was worth about $340 billion, but in 2022 he’s lost more than $100 billion in Tesla stock alone, and that’s before you count his massive overpay for Twitter. Now, he’s down to (only!) $168.5 billion, which is still good enough for second on the world wealth rankings. Try not to cry for him too hard.
Taking over No. 1 with a fortune of $172.9 billion is Bernard Arnault. The 73-year-old owes his wealth to a 48% stake in the luxury brand LVMH, which is usually spelled out in the opposite order of its initials as Moët Hennessy Louis Vitton, for reasons that are too cool for us poors to understand.
Musk was named the richest person in the world in January 2021, buoyed by a 743% increase in Tesla stock over the prior year. Like the cars it makes, Tesla’s valuation has since crashed and burned, losing more than 50% of its worth since 2022 began.
One problem has been a string of recalls related to Tesla safety issues, and the declining cost of gas hasn’t helped. But the biggest reason may be that Tesla’s stock has been overpriced for a long time, driven by a cult of personality that, in recent months, has been lacking in likability and heavy on scandals, including but not limited to: sexual misconduct payoffs, indifference towards his own transgender daughter, insane right-wing conspiracy theories, and federal investigations into animal cruelty.
On December 11th, Musk joined Dave Chappelle on stage and got roundly booed — even people who paid money to see an transphobic, Kanye-sympathetic comedian don’t like him. And there’s no financial light at the end of the tunnel. According to Bloomberg, Twitter owes more in yearly interest payments than it made in all of 2021.