Elon Musk offered a deadpan reaction to officially becoming the richest person in the world after a surge in Tesla shares increased his net worth to more than $188billion, dethroning Amazon’s Jeff Bezos for the top spot.
The car marker’s stock price jumped 6 per cent on Thursday morning, barely 24 hours after climbing to 4.6 per cent following the first trading session of the year.
Including Thursday’s gains in Tesla shares, Musk, 49, had a net worth of more than $188.5billion, according to Bloomberg, which is just $1.5billion more than Bezos in terms of net worth. Bezos has held the title of world’s wealthiest person since 2017, and is currently worth $187billion.
And despite being the new title holder, Musk appeared to brush off the news on Twitter Thursday morning.
The Twitter account for the Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley wrote: ‘@elonmusk is now the richest person in the world at $190 billion.’
In one tweet, Musk wrote: ‘How strange.’ He followed that tweet up with: ‘Well, back to work …’
Elon Musk (left) has officially become the richest person in the world after a surge in Tesla shares increased his net worth to a whopping $188.5billion, dethroning Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (right) for the top spot
And despite being the new title holder, Musk appeared to brush off the news on Twitter Thursday morning. In one tweet, Musk wrote: ‘How strange.’ He followed that tweet up with: ‘Well, back to work …’
The distinction is the latest superlative for the South African-born Musk, who also leads the aerospace venture SpaceX.
He has a 20 per cent stake in the carmaker and about $42billion of unrealized paper gains on vested stock options, according to the Bloomberg report. Tesla shares were up as much as 7.4 per cent on Thursday at a record high of $811.61.
It comes after Musk overtook Bill Gates as the second-richest person in November, a significant jump for the entrepreneur who started off 2020 ranked 35.
Musk managed to increase his wealth by more than $146billion in the last 12 months, despite the economic downturn brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
Tesla reported a series of profitable quarters throughout 2020 and joined the S&P 500, establishing the company as one of the world’s most valuable businesses.
On Saturday, Tesla reported better-than-expected 2020 vehicle deliveries, driven by a steady rise in electric vehicle adoption, but narrowly missed its ambitious full-year goal during a punishing year for the global auto industry.
The company delivered 499,550 vehicles during 2020, above Wall Street estimates of 481,261 vehicles, according to Refinitiv data – but 450 units shy of CEO Elon Musk’s target of half a million vehicles.
Musk tweeted he was ‘proud of the Tesla team for achieving this major milestone’.
‘At the start of Tesla, I thought we had (optimistically) a 10% chance of surviving at all,’ he said.
Tesla at the start of 2020 said it would ‘comfortably exceed 500,000 units’ for the year, a target it has left unchanged despite the pandemic.
Musk has a 20 per cent stake in the carmaker and about $42billion of unrealized paper gains on vested stock options, according to the Bloomberg report. Tesla shares were up as much as 7.4 per cent on Thursday at a record high of $811.61
Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn in October said Tesla was ‘aiming to achieve (its) original 2020 guidance’.
Tesla has pinned hopes on new markets such as Europe and Asia, with competition intensifying in its home turf as legacy automakers double down on their investments in the booming EV space.
Tesla’s delivery push has been supported by its new Shanghai factory, the only plant currently producing vehicles outside California.
The carmaker said Model Y production in Shanghai has begun, with deliveries expected shortly.
Bloomberg reports the Model Y will cost 339,900 yuan ($52,074) in China when sales begin in the country.
Meanwhile, the Model Y Performance car will cost 369,900 yuan ($56,620) in China.
In the United States, production of the Model Y takes place in Fremont, California, and deliveries on the vehicle began in March 2020.
Palo Alto, California-based Tesla said it delivered 180,570 vehicles during the fourth quarter, a quarterly record for the electric carmaker, beating estimates of 163,628 vehicles.
Tesla reported a series of profitable quarters throughout 2020 and joined the S&P 500, establishing the company as one of the world’s most valuable businesses
Musk has hit a stride after stumbling in 2018, when US securities regulators required the Tesla chief to step down as chairman and pay $20million to settle charges he defrauded investors with false claims on Twitter in August about a possible bid to take the company private, which was quickly aborted.
Musk also was embroiled in a messy public fight over his comments about a British caver, who had mocked the Tesla CEO’s offer of a mini-submarine to rescue young soccer players trapped in a cave in Thailand in the summer of 2018.
The caver, Vernon Unsworth, sued Musk after the Tesla chief called him ‘pedo guy’ on social media, but a California jury in December 2019 ruled the remark was not defamation.
Musk put these controversies behind him last year as Tesla significantly boosted output at car factories in California and Shanghai and moved ahead to build new factories in Texas and Germany.
Tesla watchers do not think Musk will be able to match the massive valuation surge in 2021, but expect continued progress as the carmaker adds production capacity and pushes the envelope on new technologies, including autonomous autos.
Still, several analysts consider the stock to be overvalued, even if they praise the company.
‘Tesla’s performance in 2020 was impressive, but not as impressive as the increase in its shares, which we continue to believe are overvalued,’ said a note earlier this week from JPMorgan Chase, which has an ‘underweight’ on the equity.