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Elon Musk unseats Jeff Bezos, becomes world’s richest person

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Elon Musk, the genius boss of Tesla, has overtaken Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person, after shares in the electric car company he co-founded soared on hopes that a Democrat-controlled US Senate would usher in a new green agenda.

A 4.8% rise in Tesla’s share price was enough to push Musk into the top spot according to the Bloomberg billionaires index, which tracks the daily changes in the fortunes of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

The 49-year-old entrepreneur’s net worth hit $186bn (£136bn) at 10.15am in New York on Wednesday, making him $1.5bn richer than Bezos, who had held the top spot since October 2017.

Musk responded to the news of his status as the world’s richest person with tweets stating “how strange” and “well, back to work …”

Elon Musk's 'Strange' Reaction To Becoming World's Richest Person

Elon Musk’s ‘Strange’ Reaction To Becoming World’s Richest Person

Rich Valuation

The jump in Tesla’s stock price further inflates a valuation light-years apart from other automakers on numerous metrics. Tesla produced just over half-a-million cars last year, a fraction of the output of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co.

Its market value of $773.5 billion is bigger than that of Facebook Inc. Larry Ellison’s 2% stake in Tesla alone would be enough to place the Oracle Corp. founder among the world’s 175 richest people (including his Oracle shares he’s ranked 10th).

Musk’s rise is even more astonishing given his dust-ups and gaffes in recent years, typically exacerbated by his spontaneous tweets. In 2018 he agreed to pay a $20 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission and step down as chairman of Tesla after tweeting a notion to take the company private at $420 a share, with “funding secured” — something he never did.

On several occasions Musk has bemoaned being “cash poor.” The vast majority of his net worth is tied up in equity of his companies, including Tesla — which pays no dividends — and closely held SpaceX and the Boring Company, a tunneling venture. Yet he’s professed to have little interest in the material trappings of wealth.

‘How Strange’

He tweeted last year he intended to sell “almost all” his physical possessions and he told German publisher Axel Springer in a December interview that the main purpose of his wealth is to accelerate humanity’s evolution into a spacefaring civilization.

After reports of his new status were published Thursday, Musk tweeted “How strange,” then added “Well, back to work.”

Still, he’s gotten on board with at least one trend among the super-rich. He confirmed last month he’d personally relocated from California to Texas, a state that has gained new popularity among the wealthy for levying zero income tax.

Even with Tesla’s remarkable rise, Bezos would still hold a wide lead over Musk had it not been for his divorce, which saw him transfer a quarter of the family Amazon stake to his ex-wife, MacKenzie Scott, and his philanthropy. He donated shares worth about $680 million in November.

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