Energy

Elon Musk’s Fortune Plummets $779 Million As Tesla-SolarCity Flops

(REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi )

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Elon Musk’s entire fortune shrank by nearly $1 billion as he continues to inject money into beleaguered solar panel company SolarCity, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Musk wealth tumbled by $779 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, due in part to drops in Tesla Motors and SolarCity stock prices, and Wednesday’s filing showing he has ponied up $489 million of his Tesla and SolarCity fusion.

The drop in wealth represents a massive chunk of Musk’s $8.3 billion fortune. SolarCity represents about 4 percent of the tech-guru’s net worth — but Tesla is another matter. Musk is the chairman of both companies and owns about 20 percent in each.

Things could get dicey for Musk’s bank accounts if SolarCity manages to drag down Tesla once the two companies merge. He sank half of his money in the electric-car maker.

The other half of his fortune is linked to rocket-launch company Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, which suffered a major setback Thursday when its Falcon 9 rocket exploded on a launch pad.

Musk is staying put with SolarCity even as the company continues to hemorrhage capital and investors.

He bought $65 million of the company’s bonds, while Musk’s cousins — Lyndon Rive, the company’s CEO, and Chief Technology Officer Peter Rive (Lyndon’s brother) — are each buying up $17.5 million, the company said on Aug. 24 in a financial filing.

Die-hard Investors have so far taken the Tesla-SolarCity fusion in stride.

“A lot of the longer-term investors, while they aren’t extremely enthusiastic about the SolarCity deal, still stand by Elon and what he’s trying to achieve,” said Ben Kallo, an analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co. “Typically investors like to be paired with management teams that have big stakes in their companies.”

Still, many analysts warn Musk’s entities have to find a firm base of support before they can be counted on the long term.

Ross Gerber, chief executive officer of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, for one is souring on Tesla’s fortunes even as his company holds a $5 million position in Tesla and has recently been selling shares.

“He’s got guts, I’ll give him that,” Gerber told reporters, adding: “He really pushes it out on his companies, but Elon could implode.”

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