the rise in Tesla shares generated a jump in the fortune of the businessman, according to the Bloomberg index

Elon Musk, the businessman behind Tesla and SpaceX, is now the richest person on the planet.

A 4.8% rise in the electric-car maker’s stock price on Thursday propelled Musk ahead of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the 500 richest people in the world.

The South African-born engineer’s net worth was $ 188.5 billion as of 10:15 a.m. in New York (15.15 GMT), $ 1.5 billion more than Bezos, who has held first place since October 2017 . As the CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, Musk is also a rival to Bezos, owner of Blue Origin LLC, in the private space race.

The milestone culminates an extraordinary 12 months for Musk. During the past year, his net worth soared by more than $ 150 billion in what was possibly the fastest enrichment in history . Its rise was fueled by an unprecedented rally in Tesla’s share price, which rose 743% last year on steady earnings, inclusion in the S&P 500 Index, and enthusiasm from Wall Street investors and retailers. .

The jump in Tesla’s share price further inflates a light-year valuation of other automakers on numerous metrics. Tesla produced just over half a million cars last year , a fraction of the output of Ford and General Motors. The company is poised for more benefits in the near term, as Democrats won both Georgia Senate seats and handed control of Congress to the party advocating for faster adoption of electric vehicles.

Stock purchase options

Musk, 49, has benefited from Tesla’s stratospheric rise in more ways than one. In addition to his 20% stake in the automaker, he’s settled on about $ 42 billion of unrealized paper earnings on stock options . Those values ​​come from two grants he received in 2012 and 2018, the latter of which was the largest salary agreement ever reached between a CEO and a board of directors of a company.

Despite his astronomical earnings, Musk has said he has little interest in material things and has few assets outside of his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX . He told Axel Springer in an interview last month that the main purpose of his wealth is to accelerate humanity’s evolution toward a space civilization.

” I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city of Mars ,” Musk said. “That means a lot of capital.”

The world’s 500 richest people added a record $ 1.8 trillion to their combined net worth in 2020, equivalent to a 31% increase, in a year when millions of people fell below the poverty line. The earnings were disproportionately high, where five individuals have fortunes of more than $ 100 billion and another 20 are worth at least $ 50 billion.

Less than a week after the new year, the rankings have already been revised up for extraordinary rallies. Chinese Zhong Shanshan has overtaken Warren Buffett to claim sixth place after shares in his bottled water company soared, adding $ 15.2 billion to his fortune.

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