Elon Musk has lost his crown as the world’s richest person, after further falls in the value of shares in his electric car company, Tesla.
Forbes and Bloomberg, which track the wealth of billionaires, reported that Mr Musk had lost the top spot to France’s Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of the luxury group LVMH.
South Africa-born Mr Musk, who recently took ownership of Twitter, is the chief executive of Tesla and its largest shareholder. The electric car company has lost more than half of its market value since Musk first made a bid for Twitter in April.
Shares in Tesla were trading at $340.79 (€320.14) on April 13th, the day before Twitter revealed in a securities filing that the billionaire had made a hostile bid worth $43.4 billion. Since then, the Tesla share price has tumbled by more than 50 per cent, and it is currently trading at about $160.
Fresh falls in the car company’s share price at the start of the week wiped about $7 billion off Mr Musk’s fortune, according to Forbes. It calculates that he is now worth about $177 billion, compared with Mr Arnault’s net worth of $188 billion.
Mr Arnault had briefly overtaken Musk a week ago as a result of share movements, before the Tesla chief retook the top spot. Mr Musk has sold about $20 billion of Tesla shares since April to fund his purchase of Twitter.
Tesla’s market value has come under pressure partly as a result of disappointing quarterly results, and concern about disruption at one of its factories in Shanghai.
Investors have expressed worry that Mr Musk may be distracted by his other ventures, including the rocket company SpaceX and Twitter. He also regularly attracts criticism for some of the controversial tweets he writes to his 121 million followers.
In recent days, Mr Musk appeared to be taken by surprise when he was booed by the audience after joining the comedian Dave Chappelle on stage in San Francisco, who introduced Mr Musk with the line: “Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world.” – Guardian service