Elon Musk: The fall of the billionaire’s fortune breaks a world record

Elon Musk: The fall of the billionaire’s fortune breaks a world record

  • Author, Faarea Masud
  • Role, economics journalist

Photo credit, Getty Images

Elon Musk has broken the world record for the greatest loss of personal wealth in history.

From November 2021 to December 2022, it lost around $165 billion (100 trillion 564 billion 580 million FCFA), Guinness World Records revealed in a blog posted on its website.

The figures are based on data from publisher Forbes, but Guinness said other sources suggested Mr Musk’s losses could have been higher.

The figures follow the fall in share value of Tesla, Mr Musk’s electric car company, after it took over Twitter last year.

His takeover of the social media company, for $44 billion (26 trillion 813 billion 622 million FCFA), has sparked concern among investors who fear that Mr Musk is no longer paying enough attention to Tesla .

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Mr Musk’s losses since November 2021 exceed the previous record of $58.6 billion, suffered by Japanese tech investor Masayoshi Son in 2000.

The estimated loss is based on the value of his shares, which could regain their value, meaning Mr Musk’s wealth would rise again.

In December, the Tesla boss lost his spot as the world’s richest person to Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of French luxury goods firm LVMH, which owns fashion brand Louis Vuitton.

The value of Tesla shares has fallen about 65% in 2022, in part due to Tesla’s performance. The firm delivered just 1.3 million vehicles during the year, below Wall Street expectations.

However, Mr Musk’s takeover of Twitter – where he sparked controversy by laying off large numbers of employees and changing content moderation policies – is behind most of the stock’s slide.

Many Tesla investors believe he should focus on the electric vehicle business, which is facing falling demand amid fears of recession, increased competition and Covid-related production difficulties.

“The long-term fundamentals [de Tesla] are extremely strong. Short-term market madness is unpredictable,” Musk tweeted after stock markets closed for the year in December 2022.

Mr Musk is now worth around $178bn (£152bn), according to Forbes, while Bernard Arnault is worth an estimated $188bn (£155bn).