Elon Musk Passes Jeff Bezos To Become Richest Man In The World

(Saul Martinez/Getty Images)

Varun Hukeri General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Tesla chief executive Elon Musk became the richest man in the world, with a net worth of more than $185 billion, after an increase in Tesla’s share price Thursday.

A Thursday morning surge in share prices allowed Musk to surpass Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos, who had been the world’s richest man since 2017 and is worth about $184 billion, according to CNBC.

Musk responded to the news on social media. “How strange,” he tweeted in reply to a report of his new status. “Well, back to work,” he added.

Musk’s recent gains are tied to his roughly 20% stake in Tesla, which is currently trading at roughly $790 after an almost 5% rally Thursday. But the value of stock prices fluctuates constantly and could change at any moment, including by the time markets close at the end of the day.

Musk’s dramatic increase in net worth is a notable turnaround from his financial situation almost two years ago when Tesla was projected to run out of cash. The company had burned through more than $3.5 billion over a 12-month period and Musk made headlines for his personal leverage against Tesla’s stock, according to CNBC.

The entrepreneur began 2020 with a net worth of around $27 billion but that number grew by almost $160 billion after Tesla’s considerably strong performance in the stock market. The company’s share price grew 743% over the past year following its inclusion in the S&P 500 Index and strong enthusiasm from investors, according to Bloomberg.

Musk noted during a December interview with Axel Springer chief executive Mathias Döpfner that most of his wealth comes from his stake in Tesla and his space exploration company SpaceX. (RELATED: Elon Musk’s Tesla Made Record Deliveries In 2020 Despite Global Car Demand Slump)

But he reportedly sits on roughly $42 billion of unrealized gains on vested stock options derived from two grants he received in 2012 and 2018, according to Bloomberg.

The world’s 500 richest people are collectively worth more than $7.6 trillion according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. They have also seen a 31% increase in combined net worth, adding $1.8 trillion in wealth despite the economic fallout from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.